Should Brazilian superstar Neymar opt to join Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States, those holding out hope that he would sign on with the New York Red Bulls might want to tamper those expectations.
A source suggested to amNewYork on Thursday that a Red Bulls pursuit of the 31-year-old forward is unlikely — the future of one of the most recognizable names in soccer inching toward a move.
According to French outlet L’Equipe, Neymar has alerted his current club, Paris Saint-Germain, that he wants to leave this summer where his first priority would be a return to Spanish giants Barcelona, the club he left in 2017.
PSG has reportedly given the green light for Neymar to explore a potential deal with his old Spanish club, but Barcelona’s financial issues throw a wrench into what could have been a quick reunion. Neymar is still due roughly $120 million on his current deal with PSG.
There is the option that a Saudi Arabian team could purchase Neymar’s contract and then facilitate a loan move to Barcelona. But if that avenue fails, it appears that MLS sides are ready to throw their hat in the ring after winning the signature of Neymar’s former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi, who has sent shockwaves through the United States soccer scene by signing with Inter Miami this summer.
LAFC has been deemed one of the American favorites as was the Red Bulls’ cross-river rivals, New York City FC (NYCFC) last month. Considering the Red Bulls’ standing alongside NYCFC as a team near the largest sports market in the world with one of the finest soccer-specific stadiums in the country, speculation arose that they would also be an option.
For a team that has scored the second-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference this season, a player of Neymar’s caliber would obviously rectify such an issue while catapulting the club’s status back toward the very top of Major League Soccer.
In an attempt to address their lack of offensive punch, the Red Bulls signed Colombian forward Jorge Cabezas Hurtado on loan from English Championship side, Watford, just before the secondary transfer window closed on Aug. 2.
The Red Bulls have the third-lowest team payroll of any club in MLS, according to Capology.