PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has suggested he will hand a debut to new signing Neymar away at Guingamp on Sunday after the forward’s international transfer certificate was granted because Barcelona confirmed they have received the full €222 million transfer fee.
The 25-year-old is now eligible to make his PSG and Ligue 1 debut at Stade du Roudourou this weekend, with the French Football Federation confirming receipt of the certificate from its Spanish counterpart on Friday.
And Emery revealed that Neymar is already in contention for a starting role against Antoine Kombouare’s men.
“Guingamp is a very good away day,” Neymar said. “They are a team that will be well prepared after they beat Troyes. It will be a physical encounter but their team also possesses some quality. It will be a good test for us and for Neymar — if he plays. It is difficult to win away from home in Spain, just like it is here.”
Emery has been getting to know Neymar over the course of the week and is convinced PSG’s new No. 10 is ready for his maiden appearance.
“He has done well in training, where we have worked tactically and technically,” he said. “He is ready. He can be a part of the squad and he can play.
“We want him on the pitch because he is somebody we need. We are going to train on Saturday and then the staff will discuss the possibility [of him starting in Guingamp]. He is ready to start and in good physical condition to complete a full 90 minutes.”
Emery has already told Neymar what is expected of him and the PSG boss feels his new forward has already adapted well.
“He works hard and, like the others, he has his own habits while training and during lunch,” Emery said. “I have spoken with him in the same way that I have with the other players, about how we are going to play and how we work.”
Speaking with PSG’s official website, midfielder Adrien Rabiot said that Neymar signing for the club is a big deal but that he and his teammates have remained focused throughout the furore that surrounded the most expensive transfer ever.
“It is true that Neymar’s arrival has caused quite a fuss,” Rabiot said. “People are happy and it has brought quite a lot of them together. All the fans rushed out to buy his shirt.
“It was a really big deal for the media but among us players, we were focused on the opening match against Amiens. We wanted to start with a good result at home.
“We are happy to have him, though, because he is a great player. He is going to be a plus for the team and will help us in our goals — he will settle in easily thanks to the other Brazilian players and he is young, so we are interested in the same things, I have no doubt.”
A source has told ESPN FC that Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe is keen on a move to Parc des Princes to link up with Neymar but that no agreement has been reached yet.
Questioned on PSG’s interest in the 18-year-old, Emery was evasive and more reserved on the topic than he was earlier this summer when he admitted his interest in him.
“I am only talking about players who are here,” Emery said. “I do not know what is going to happen over the next few days but he is a Monaco player right now.”
Emery also fielded a question on midfielder Marco Verratti and how he has digested Barcelona’s failed move for his services this summer.
“I feel like he is fine,” Emery said. “He was injured in Miami. He played in the Trophee des Champions against Monaco but was not 100 percent physically. He is getting better little by little.
“When he gets back to his best physically, he will be able to show all of his qualities. I am relaxed and he is too. He is an important player. In his mind, he decided to stay here. He is very happy in Paris and he still wants to develop as a part of this team.”
Emery also revealed that Lucas Moura is currently struggling with injury, while Jese Rodriguez is missing for personal reasons — both are unlikely to be included in the squad for the trip to Guingamp.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.