Jean-Michel Aulas believes Paris Saint-Germain must do whatever it takes to retain Neymar despite the player’s desire for a summer move.
Just two years upon completing a world-record €222m transfer to PSG, Neymar is keen to leave the French capital amid a potential Camp Nou return.
Although the French champions haven’t made things easy for the Brazilian. Naturally, they were against the idea of him leaving before president Nasser Al-Khelaifi decided he had enough and sanctioned it.
But the Qatari’s demands of €222m in full this summer has proven to be a big problem for Barcelona. They’ve simply been unable to come up with the cash, with PSG quickly rejecting player-trade deals instead.
Blaugrana vice president Jordi Cardoner then raised the white flag last weekend by conceding there is “no Neymar case” anymore.
Now, Aulas believes that PSG should be working on retaining the 27-year-old instead of allowing an exit.
“It’s embarrassing for Ligue 1 if at one point the TV rights bidding was done with visibility that included Neymar,” the Lyon president told Le Parisien.
“He was before at Barca. With a very big cheque, he arrived in Paris. I think PSG have to do what it takes to keep him.
“But as president of OL, I am in a bad position to judge.”
Meanwhile, Aulas also spoke on Lyon’s prospects under new manager Sylvinho after Bruno Genesio ended his four-year spell in charge of the club this summer.
The seven-time Ligue 1 champions have undergone huge changes with captain Nabil Fekir, Ferland Mendy and Tanguy Ndombele all completing big-money moves away from the Groupama Stadium.
“In the medium term, yes [Lyon can compete with PSG]. We want to play a role. We will continue to invest. The goal is to get closer to PSG,” said Aulas.
“But the first year will be the hardest. You have to be patient. It is a project of three to five years. Before, it’s illusory.
“The deadline of 2022, given the budget gap between the two clubs, must be reasonable.”
Lyon will begin their 2019/20 Ligue 1 campaign on Friday away to AS Monaco, with kick-off set for 20:45 (CET).
PSG, on the other hand, will take on Nimes at the Parc Des Princes on Sunday. However, it’s doubtful that Neymar will play considering he’s been sidelined throughout pre-season.