Manchester United get linked with thousands of players in every transfer window and when the holes in the squad are as obvious as they are this summer, the speculation ramps up exponentially. One rumour that refuses to go away this summer is Neymar to Man United.
So, is Neymar going to Manchester United, and is a deal for the Brazilian even feasible? Here’s an attempt at making sense of the wild transfer rumour.
Neymar to Man United- Does it make sense?
Neymar underwhelming time at Paris Saint-Germain is not a revelation for anybody. As the world’s costliest footballer, his time at the French club has been plagued by injuries, bursts of good form, followed by disappearing acts.
The nadir was reached when PSG fans, frustrated by the performance of the Brazilian, ended up at his home and demanded he leave the club.
President Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s “No more bling-bling” comments haven’t helped, as Neymar is widely seen as the symbol of PSG’s era where they only chased superstar names instead of focusing on squad building.
His contract at the club expires in 2025, and he reportedly has a player option to extend it by another year. By the end of the contract, he will have turned 34. Naturally, reports have been that the club is trying to offload him.
In an already creaking body, his contract has the potential to become an albatross for any club he signs with.
However, when available, he remains one of the most devastating attacking forces in world football. 18 goals and 17 assists in 29 games across all competitions last season speak of a player who is still unplayable on his day.
At PSG, he has mainly played as the left-winger who looks to cut inside onto his stronger right foot and create chances. His finishing is still second to none and the stardust he provides with his dribbling often acts as a magnet from where he can pick out teammates in space.
However, at United, that position is already sealed with Marcus Rashford‘s name on it. Although the Brazilian can play as a striker, where United are looking for reinforcements, his game, at 31, is just not suited to bustling with strong centre-backs for 90 minutes.
Combine that with his exorbitant wages– he reportedly earns north of €1m/week- and his transfer immediately becomes a less tantalising prospect despite his obvious talent.
Having said that, the rumours have persisted.
Is Neymar going to Manchester United?
The rumour mill caught fire when in May, manager Erik ten Hag was asked to comment on Neymar to Man United rumours. Instead of denying it, his response was “When we have news, we will tell you”.
🗣️ “When we have news…we will tell you.”
Erik ten Hag not giving anything away on Manchester United’s links to signing Neymar 👀🔴 pic.twitter.com/ZXvCLPRUSE
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 24, 2023
It sent the internet into overdrive as potential lineups with the attacker started getting drawn up.
Since then, Fabrizio Romano has come out and said that no talks have taken place between the two camps. United have been engaged in negotiations with Atalanta for Rasmus Hojlund.
It shows that the club is targeting a younger option who has the potential to grow into a regular contributor in the years ahead.
Moreover, a potential signing of Neymar will be a throwback to the days the club claims to have moved on from. The striker position at the club has seen repeated short-term reinforcements in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo recently, all the way back to Radamel Falcao during Louis Van Gaal‘s days.
United’s lack of transfer budget, Neymar’s sky-high wages, a lack of sensible sporting fit, and the player’s own reluctance to leave the club means that despite all the rumours, it would be the biggest surprise of the transfer window if Neymar goes to Man United.