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Neymar leaving PSG would embarrass Ligue 1, says Lyon president Aulas

02:48 GMT+3 08/08/2019
Neymar PSG
The French champions do everything they can to keep the Brazilian in Paris, says one of the club's chief rivals

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has told Paris Saint-Germain to do whatever it takes to keep Neymar. 

Neymar, 27, is heavily linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions this close season, with a return to Barcelona mooted just two years after his world-record switch. 

While the Brazil star staying at PSG would only make Thomas Tuchel's men stronger, Aulas said they needed to keep the forward. 

"It's embarrassing for Ligue 1 if at one point the TV rights bidding was done with visibility that included Neymar," he told Le Parisien on Wednesday. 

"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." 

Lyon have gone through plenty of change in the off-season, with Sylvinho replacing Bruno Genesio at the helm and Juninho arriving as sporting director. 

The likes of Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid), Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham) and captain Nabil Fekir (Real Betis) have been sold from the squad that finished third in Ligue 1 last season. 

Aulas hopes his club can close the gap to PSG, but warned they will need chase down the top team in the league.  

He is hoping by the time the next World Cup rolls around his side can be back in contention with the Paris outfit, but says the prospects for the coming season aren’t great.  

"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," he said. 

"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 open their Ligue 1 campaign away to Monaco on Friday, with their first clash against PSG set to come in late September.