Major League Soccer has experienced an uptick in popularity in recent weeks thanks to the arrival of Lionel Messi, who signed for Inter Miami after his Paris Saint-Germain contract came to an end. Now, another PSG superstar could be heading to the United States.
Neymar Jr. has recovered from ankle surgery and is poised to have a bounce-back season. However, recent reports indicate that PSG could be looking to offload the 31-year-old before the close of the summer transfer window, with MLS at the top of the list as a potential destination. MLS odds reveal Messi’s Inter Miami could be in contention to make the playoffs, but which club could Neymar improve the fortunes of?
The first two clubs that will be looking to sign Neymar are LAFC and Los Angeles Galaxy. First, they check the box of being marquee MLS clubs in a desirable place to live. Perhaps more than their rivals, LA Galaxy has a propensity for signing world-class players from Europe. Look no further than David Beckham, who made the move there in 2007. But, LAFC rarely turns down a chance to sign a big-name player when the fit is right—Carlos Vela, for example.
LAFC are the reigning MLS champion and sit at the top of the Western Conference table. Would they be willing to upset their chemistry and bring the media attention that would come with signing Neymar? For those reasons, I think it’s more likely LA Galaxy make a move for Neymar as they’re outside of the playoff picture looking in.
Other MLS clubs that make sense for Neymar include NYCFC, New York Red Bull, and Orlando City SC. Once again, the New York teams would be attractive due to their location. Neymar is a big player deserving of a big market. Orlando has signed popular Brazilian players before, Kaká for example, and would be close geographically to his friend Messi in Miami.
Ultimately, for a deal to get done at this point, with the MLS transfer window closed, Neymar’s contract would need to be voided and bought out. Would Apple, the broadcaster for MLS be willing to assist with that? Will an MLS owner step up and fund the transfer? It’s a lot of money and a very complicated deal to get done. But, Neymar in MLS could help him raise his profile in the U.S. ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in North America and could be his last with Brazil.