Pochettino aiming to keep Neymar and Mbappe at PSG 'for many years' as he plays down Messi rumours

Mbappe Neymar PSG 2020
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The PSG boss is reluctant to discuss transfer speculation but outlined his determination to hang on to his star players

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino says he wants to keep Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at the club “for many years”, while playing down links with Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

The future of the star duo has been the subject of intense debate in recent months with both their contracts due to expire in 2022.

Messi, meanwhile, has been linked with a free transfer move to the French capital when his Barca contract runs out at the end of this campaign - though Pochettino is reluctant to add to the fevered speculation.

What did Pochettino say about Neymar and Mbappe?

When asked about the futures of Neymar and Mbappe, Pochettino told Cadena Ser : “The objective is to keep the best players. The club wants to win the Champions League and the objective of this club is to keep Neymar and Kylian for many years.

"For three months we have had a very good relationship. Both players are very committed to the club. Every team wants to have them in their ranks. I am optimistic that they will stay.

"After sharing a changing room with Kylian for three months, I will fight with all my might to keep him with us."

What did Pochettino say about the Messi rumours?

Though Messi would be available on a free transfer when his Barcelona contract expires, few clubs would be able to afford the Argentine’s huge salary.

PSG are one of those sides, so it is no surprise to see the French champions regularly linked with a move for the 33-year-old.

Lionel Messi, Barcelona 2020-21

Pochettino admits he spoke with his fellow countryman when the sides met in the Champions League earlier this year, but played down talk of potential transfer this summer.

“We said hello to each other and we spoke inside with Jordi Alba, Neymar and Rafinha. We had a good discussion,” added the former Tottenham boss. “I'm sure we'll find out soon what is happening with Messi.

"But I don't like to talk about players who are not in my squad. There are a lot of rumours and PSG work every year to improve the team. There is only a little time left before everything starts to move.”

The bigger picture

Though Pochettino is clear in his desire to keep Neymar and Mbappe, a decision over their futures is largely out of his hands.

If either player refuses to sign a new deal then PSG may be forced to cash-in this summer or risk losing them on a free transfer next year.

Of the two, Neymar looks the most likely to sign a new deal after revealing earlier this week that a renewal was "no longer an issue" due to his comfort level at PSG.

Mbappe’s future however seems more uncertain, with Real Madrid keen to land the France international and sources have also told Goal that the striker retains a boyhood ambition of playing for the Blancos.

However, there are still plenty of obstacles to overcome before Mbappe can join Real, not least the hefty transfer fee.

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As for Messi, Goal can confirm  the attacker will wait until the end of the season before deciding his future.

Manchester City have also been heavily linked with a move for the player, while Barca are equally determined to hang on to their star man. That means finances are unlikely to be the deciding factor, with Messi’s decision expected to rest on who can best match his ambitions.

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