How PSG will line up with Neymar

Neymar Barcelona 2017Getty Images


Neymar has bid farewell to his Barcelona team-mates and is now on his way to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of €222 million .

The decision to leave Lionel Messi & Co. was partly borne of a desire to win the Ballon d'Or by proving himself the best player in the world against Ligue 1's finest.

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However, will his desire to take centre stage see him take up a more central role at the Parc des Princes?

Edinson Cavani was shunted out to the left flank to accommodate the last genuine superstar to ply his trade in Paris, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but that is unlikely to happen again.

Zico Neymar PS

The Uruguayan remains renowned for missing big chances at big moments in big games but he is coming off the most prolific season of his career, having notched an impressive 49 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions during the 2016-17 campaign.

Therefore, it is almost certain that he will retain the No.9 berth in Unai Emery's line-up, not least because Neymar's best position is clearly out wide.

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As Brazil legend Zico told Goal , “He’s unstoppable in that role. He does his best work cutting in from the left."

That has been true of his time at both Santos and Barcelona, as well as for the Selecao.

As a result, it seems likely that he will be positioned on the left-hand side of an attacking three, with Cavani playing through the middle and either Angel di Maria or Julian Draxler lining up on the right.

PSG with Neymar PS

Who plays on the right flank will remain unclear until PSG conclude their summer business, given that both Di Maria and Draxler are now being linked with moves away from the French capital, while the versatile Dani Alves is just as capable of playing on the wing as he is at full-back.

Of course, even if Emery deploys his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, it won't make much difference to Neymar, who will still take up residence on the left flank, with Cavani operating as a lone striker.

It could, however, be a problem for Layvin Kurzawa, who will be completely exposed at left-back, given the world's most expensive player won't be inclined to offer him much defensive cover.

PSG with Neymar PS

A Barca-like 4-3-3 would, thus, be the best formation for Neymar but he has, admittedly, played everywhere in attack for his country.

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The 25-year-old has been employed as a centre-forward, a 'false nine' and a trequartista by former Brazil bosses such as Dunga, Menezes and Luiz Felipe Scolari, who all sought to give Neymar a more central role in a desperate attempt to make up for the deficiencies of those around him.

However, under current Selecao coach Tite, Neymar always plays on the left, now that he has a competent supporting cast in Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Willian.

Neymar Brazil Olympic final

Furthermore, as Zico points out, one loses something in putting the 25-year-old in the middle.

"If he plays in the centre, he sometimes pulls something out of the bag but he's not the same," the iconic No.10 stated.

"Playing Neymar with his back to goal is a huge waste. He quickly gets annoyed and gives away a lot of fouls.

"Psychologically, it's been a problem. He went missing in too many matches for the Selecao for that reason."

PSG certainly can't afford to let a €222m investment go missing in any matches this season, so Neymar should be deployed in his best position on the left wing, provided of course that they have as much sense as they have money...