By Joe Harker
PSG forward Neymar has been angling for a move back to Barcelona all summer, just two years after he became the world's most expensive player in his transfer from Spain to France.
Ostensibly moving in order to escape the shadow of Lionel Messi and define himself as the new top player in the world, Neymar has instead been overtaken by Kylian Mbappe and failed to compete for top honours.
PSG's league titles are mostly a foregone conclusion and it is the Champions League the club are really interested in, but during the two seasons they've had Neymar in their squad they've failed to make it past the round of 16 and he's been injured for three of four knockout games.
It's going to be a bit awkward when the player returns to his club after the international break, having not been selected for PSG while his future was in doubt.
He goes back to a club that knows he tried very hard to leave and no longer wants to be there, having told PSG exactly that earlier in the summer.
Neymar has been told he's not even the biggest star in Paris any more, that spot being taken by French wonderkid Mbappe.
For a player who joined PSG to become the best player in the work only to end up as not even the best player in the squad is a humiliation and an acknowledgment that his stock has fallen somewhat in the two years he's spent at the club.
They'll take him back and play him but the atmosphere between club and player will be tense now each side knows the other's position more clearly. Neymar doesn't want to be at PSG and PSG don't see him as the jewel in their crown any longer.
The Counter Claim:
It might not be so bad for Neymar, as Barcelona are expected to return next summer with a fresh attempt to make him their marquee signing of 2020.
One more season in Paris, almost certainly resulting in another league title and a run in the Champions League, is something a patient player could almost certainly take if they're really set on leaving.
It's a simple matter of cost that the deal didn't get done. PSG wanted a huge amount of money and Barcelona offering all sorts of players didn't sway them to drop the transfer fee very much.
It might also be a blessing for all involved now that the transfer window has ended, at least everyone ought to stop talking about whether Barcelona would make a move or not for a few months.
The best Neymar can do is get his head down and play as well as he can, expecting another chance of a return to Barcelona to crop up. He would be bitterly disappointed if, over the course of the season, Barcelona decided they no longer needed him quite so badly.
The Neymar furore has caused some problems at Barcelona, with Messi and other players dismayed at the club executives for failing to get a deal done.
Barcelona might already have disrupted their own squad in an attempt to sign Neymar, offering a number of players that didn't want to leave as a part exchange. Now those players know Barcelona don't want them as much as they want to bring Neymar back.
The player was available for sale if a club was willing to meet the asking price, it's just that the price is so high. It's more difficult to imagine they'd accept bids for a player like Mbappe.