Unai Emery reiterates his intention to have Neymar stay and succeed at PSG amid speculation over his happiness.

PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain are on the verge of making their signing of Fluminense midfielder Wendel official, a source close to the French club has told ESPN FC.

Reports surfaced in Brazil and Paris on Thursday from Esporte Interativo’s Isabela Pagliari that the move for the 20-year-old is almost complete, and a separate source has since corroborated this.

The source told ESPN FC that Wendel will join PSG for a fee in the region of €10 million in January and will put pen to paper on a five-year contract at Parc des Princes.

PSG sporting director Antero Henrique and team coordinator Maxwell were in Brazil for business recently and met with the player, while Fluminense’s legal team were in Paris earlier this week to finalise the deal.

PSG have been interested in Wendel for some time but a move before the end of the summer transfer window did not materialise.

The source has told ESPN FC that the Ligue 1 club initially planned to loan Wendel out to gain experience with the ultimate succession of Thiago Motta’s deep-lying midfield role in mind.

However, Motta’s lingering knee injury and imminent surgery for “arthroscopic cleaning,” and a threadbare midfield in Unai Emery’s squad mean that Wendel is needed at PSG sooner.

Wendel Fluminense
Paris Saint-Germain were interested in signing Wendel in the summer.

His arrival would help give some rest to players such as Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot, with youth academy graduates Christopher Nkunku and Lorenzo Callegari seemingly untrusted in the role, and Emery preferring to field the attack-minded Julian Draxler and Giovani Lo Celso in his midfield three instead.

Wendel’s move should be announced soon and the source said that he will link up with his new teammates in January.

Meanwhile, Lucas Moura has responded to recent reports linking him with a return to his native country.

The 25-year-old, who recently became a father for the first time, has known since the summer that he is no longer wanted by PSG, but a move did not materialise because of his desire to stay in Paris while his partner was heavily pregnant.

Now that she has given birth, Lucas’ future is a topic for debate and the Brazil international — who last featured for the national team in the 2016 Copa America — has been linked with a number of clubs back home.

Lucas tweeted that his representative has not been in touch with any of the Brazilian clubs mentioned.

Elsewhere, one of Neymar’s trusted representatives, Wagner Ribeiro, recently denied to Esporte Interativo journalist Marcelo Bechler the existence of a €222m release clause in his contract with PSG.

French clubs are strictly prohibited by the Ligue de Football Professionnel from having minimum fee release clauses in contracts but players and their representatives can have gentleman’s agreements in place to leave if a certain amount is offered.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.


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