NEW YORK: Paris Saint Germain need to sign a player of the calibre of Neymar or Kylian Mbappe in their quest to win the Champions League, according to their coach Unai Emery. In an interview published in French sports daily L'Equipe yesterday Emery named Neymar as a world top-five player, just the class PSG needed to become a top European power. He was speaking amid reports in Brazil and Spain that PSG were on the way to clinching a sensational deal to prise Neymar away from Barcelona.
"If we want to rival Bayern Munich, Barcelon and Real Madrid and win the Champions League we need to buy one of the top five players in the world today," Emery said after watching his side edge Roma on penalties in a friendly in the United States. "Neymar has advanced his game massively and today he is one of the five best in the world," he said of the 25-year-old Brazilian who has a buy out clause at Barcelona of over 200 million euros.
"Our president is working hard to attract top players and our fans would be content to count on a new top player to go along with the talent we already have," said the Spaniard. Earlier this week Neymar attempted to quell the rising speculation about his future by telling Goal.com that he was happy at Barcelona and was looking forward to a new season.
But PSG's quest for top players goes beyond the Brazilian striker and includes the likes of Monaco teenager Mbappe and Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal's Chilean striker. "(Alexis) Sanchez and Mbappe are huge players and what's more Mbappe is French - I want Frenchmen in this French club," he said. The Parisian club are keen to strengthen their squad after the club failed to live up to expectations last season. In the Champions League round of 16 they suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at Barcelona, blowing a 4-0 first-leg advantage that left the club stunned.
They also gave up the French league title to rivals Monaco forcing the club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to sack the sports director Patrick Kluivert and bring in Antero Henrique. The new director produced an early coup by signing Brazilian defender Dani Alves, who had been tipped to join Manchester City, on a free agent deal with no transfer fee. Emery said Henrique's task was to bring in a major attacking player and keep unsettled stars Marquinhos, and Marco Verratti. - AFP