Paris, September 3: The closure of the European transfer window leaves Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar locked in an unhappy partnership.
Neymar became the world's most expensive player when he left Barcelona for €222million but that fee, coupled with his reported €700k per week wages, have trapped him at PSG.
Barcelona simply could not afford to bring him back, while Real Madrid were also unable to complete a deal - the Clasico rivals having earlier splashed the cash on Antoine Griezmann and Eden Hazard respectively.
So, what happens next for Neymar, PSG and Barcelona?
Yet to feature for PSG this season, Neymar will presumably be brought back into Thomas Tuchel's squad. They are currently without Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani due to injury, although Neymar must serve a European ban. Whether he can have the impact the Ligue 1 champions crave remains to be seen.
There is little wrong with Neymar's domestic record, 34 goals from 37 Ligue 1 appearances is excellent, but he has not delivered in Europe. That is partly down to injuries - he has been absent when PSG exited the Champions League in each of the past two seasons - but his impact in the most important games has not been what PSG hoped.
Neymar, having failed to engineer his desired move away, must knuckle down now and cut out the theatrics that have drawn criticism from heroes such as Pele. One of the reasons for his move to Paris in the first place was said to be his desire to win the Ballon d'Or, but the past year has seen him slip out of the conversation.
At 27, he should be entering his peak years. This is the ideal opportunity to prove he can be a successor to five-time winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Leonardo accepted Neymar was effectively up for sale, but PSG were always going to demand top dollar for their prized asset. That nobody could afford to meet their demands should not have come as a surprise, though Barca reportedly proposed a variety of cash-plus-players deals that failed for a variety of reasons. Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele are among those said to have been offered to PSG, only for the players themselves to reject a transfer.
Tuchel's task is to ensure Neymar refocuses on the project in hand: win the league again, recapture the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue titles and progress in Europe. But one of PSG's best 2018-19 performances, their 2-0 win away to Manchester United in the Champions League, came without Neymar as Dani Alves and Angel Di Maria worked extraordinarily hard on the flanks - a job Neymar is either unwilling or unable to do.
While dropping the Brazilian could prove politically impossible, it is not out of the question Tuchel could come to the conclusion that for some games, for instance away in the Champions League knockout rounds, PSG may actually be a more effective team without Neymar.
Club statement - Neymar JrJuly 8, 2019
It was never clear exactly how Barcelona saw Neymar fitting back in at Camp Nou, with their pursuit of the forward reportedly stemming from Lionel Messi wanting to be partnered with his former team-mate.
Griezmann, Messi, Dembele and Luis Suarez is already too many attackers to fit into a balanced team, which helps to explain why the Catalan giants were said to be willing to offload the France winger to PSG.
Messi and Suarez are both 32, so there would have been an element of succession planning at play – even though the Argentina superstar, the club's captain, is a player Barca will never be able to truly replace. Ernesto Valverde, a coach known more for pragmatism than expansive football, may have also struggled to find a role for such a luxury player.
Like PSG, Barca crave the Champions League after a series of underwhelming seasons in Europe. They still look to have an attack that can deliver glory, with or without Neymar.