Neymar exit would have sparked exodus at PSG: Arsene Wenger
Wenger believes Brazilian's departure would have had a snowball effect for PSG
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and his sporting director Leonardo may have taken pot-shots at Neymar's attitude and said he was welcome to leave the club for the right price, but former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the French champions needed the Brazilian to stay.
The European transfer window slammed shut yesterday morning (Singapore time) with Neymar's anticipated return to Barcelona failing to materialise.
According to French daily L'Equipe, Neymar was so determined to return to Spain that he offered to pay 20 million euros (S$30.5 million) from his own pocket towards the transfer fee.
But in the end, the reported asking price of around 300 million euros that PSG demanded from Barcelona proved too steep, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.
The French side signed Neymar for a world-record 222 million euros in 2017.
While that leaves Neymar in an uneasy marriage with PSG, Wenger believes the enduring union has prevented an exodus of star names from the Ligue 1 champions.
The former AS Monaco boss told beIN Sports: "I think that he is one of the best players in the world and I am happy that he is staying at PSG.
"Because when you lose one of your two or three best players in the world, the law in our world is that the following year you lose the others.
"It is very difficult to have players who make a difference, even when you have a lot of money.
"When you have them, you must keep them. When you want to keep a player, it is better to convince him how important you are to him, rather than to give him zero chance to leave."
Sky Sports reported that as early as last Saturday, Neymar, his father and his aides came to the conclusion that it was futile to hold out hope of an exit.
They agreed that he now had to fully concentrate on football.
But that did not stop the forward from reportedly bursting into tears when it became official that his dream return to the Nou Camp was not going to happen, according to Spanish TV programme El Chiringuito.
Neymar has yet to feature for PSG this season, much to the chagrin of coach Thomas Tuchel, who suggested that the decision was not made by him.
French broadcaster RMC reported that when the 27-year-old announced that he was staying in the French capital, his teammates teased him by saying "se queda" to him multiple times.
The phrase means "he stays" in Spanish and is in reference to an Instagram post made by Neymar's ex-teammate Gerard Pique in 2017.
At the height of transfer speculation about his prospective move to PSG, the Barcelona defender posted a photo of him alongside Neymar with the caption "se queda", causing many to believe the deal was off.
After the latest twist in the Neymar saga, an unnamed PSG player told RMC: "It was a relief.
"It's important for the project, and above all, (it) prevents us from strengthening Barca. Better to play with a Neymar who's a bit sad, than against a Neymar in top form."
While the Brazilian's exit plan has been derailed, Spanish media have suggested that this is a delay rather than a dead end.
Catalonia-based newspaper Sport reported that Neymar will again push for an exit when the transfer window reopens next January.
Meanwhile, the Madrid-based daily AS said: "The league closes the transfer market without Pogba or Neymar, but Real and Barcelona do not rule out returning for them in 2020."
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba had been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.