Neymar no longer playing with the best at PSG, claims Wenger

Arsene Wenger feels financial reward or the desire to become a central figure encouraged Neymar to leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is surprised by Neymar's move to PSG.   -  Getty Images

Many football stars aspire to play alongside the best talent in the world but Neymar "decided to go the other way", according to Arsene Wenger.

Paris Saint-Germain pulled off a stunning coup by luring Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record €222million in August.

He has been joined by Kylian Mbappe at Parc des Princes, having sacrificed the chance to continue his fruitful partnership with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack at Camp Nou.

Arsenal manager Wenger, speaking to beIN SPORTS, acknowledged his surprise that a global talent in the prime of his career would choose to leave the La Liga giant.

"Neymar never expressed exactly in his statement the reasons of his move, because there is always a huge desire for the players to play with the best players," he said.

"He decided to go the other way, so that is… for financial reasons, or for reasons that he thinks Paris Saint-Germain is tomorrow's club and will take over from Real Madrid and Barcelona, or for individual reasons, such as maybe he wants to become the player that the team turns around, and to be acknowledged as the best player in the world."

Wenger also reiterated his belief in the extraordinary promise of Mbappe, who will make his loan switch from Monaco to the capital club permanent next year.

"I think he is exceptionally intelligent, he has an exceptional character, and exceptional belief," he said.

"I say to my friends, 'Mbappe is the new Pele'. 

"He can become the best player in the world, because he as well has the charisma, the character, the belief. 

"You never think you're speaking to an 18-year-old when you speak to him. 

"He always gives you the impression when he gets the ball that something special can happen."

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