Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has voiced his concern over the potential signing of Neymar by Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain.
The Brazil international is currently in China to fulfil promotional commitments but could be unveiled as PSG’s latest signing and the most expensive player ever later this week if reports that he will then fly to Doha, Qatar, to sign his contract and undergo a medical are correct.
Speaking with Journal du Dimanche, Aulas sounded a note of concern about the “dangerous bubble” being created by the exorbitant transfer fees touted for the likes of Neymar and Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe.
“I do not want to sound like I am against the arrivals of great players like Neymar, who can make Ligue 1 extremely visible and positively impact the next television rights deal,” Aulas told JDD via L’Equipe. “However, this boost in attraction will not compensate for the loss of revenue related to our absence from the Champions League.
“If PSG, through disproportionate means, and Monaco keep confiscating the first two qualification berths, the other teams are excluded from the system of generating the most important sorts of revenue.
“It hurts those who are doing the best work. On top of that, these sorts of figures contribute towards a dangerous bubble.”
Lyon, who have sold Corentin Tolisso, Alexandre Lacazette, Maxime Gonalons and Mathieu Valbuena this summer, finished fourth in Ligue 1 last season, so will not play in the Champions League this coming campaign.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, meanwhile, says he “hopes” he will not have to face Neymar again as a Barcelona player because his departure will weaken their rivals.
Barca beat Real 3-2 in the International Champions Cup edition of El Clasico in Miami at the weekend and Neymar was on form as he teed up Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique’s goals.
Zinedine Zidane’s men were run ragged at the back and defender Ramos was open and unapologetic about his hope that Neymar leaves Barca for PSG in a world-record €222 million move.
“I have a very good relationship with him,” the Spain international said. “I swapped jerseys with him and I hope it is his last Barcelona shirt — it would be one less problem for us.”
The pair spoke as they swapped shirts but Neymar did not confirm his future to Ramos.
“He told me nothing and I am not going to spill a private conversation,” Ramos added. “Each of us is free to decide our own future.
“I believe he is a great player, a key part of the Barca team. It would be better for us as in the big games he can make the difference.”
Neymar is now in China to fulfil commercial obligations with speculation mounting that he will then fly to Doha, Qatar, to undergo his PSG medical and sign a lucrative contract with the Ligue 1 giants.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.