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Just five years after signing for a world record fee, Neymar has been made available by PSG this summer, according to reports.
Reports coming out in the last couple of days have suggested that PSG are ready to cut ties with Neymar and let him leave. This comes just five years after making him the most expensive footballer in history when they signed him from Barcelona for €222m in 2017.
Which of course has sparked a debate on social media - should Manchester United sign Neymar?
When the reports initially surfaced, I put out a tweet to say that Manchester United signing Neymar would be a no-brainer. Honestly, I was surprised by the reaction to that tweet and the general reaction.
Most seemed to turn their noses up at the prospect of Neymar playing his football at Old Trafford.
Shouts of bad attitude and injury problems seemed to be the most common. Whilst I appreciate the concerns over injuries, Neymar is one of the best players of his generation and certainly one of the more disrespected.
There seems to be a consensus over Neymar that he is ‘style over substance’ but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whilst he does bring style and an excitement to watch him play, the Brazilian certainly brings substance too.
Since signing for PSG, Neymar has 100 goals in just 144 appearances, helping them to four league titles and seven other domestic trophies.
For those that will cry “farmer’s league”, he also scored an impressive 105 goals in 186 games for Barcelona, contributing heavily to eight trophies in just four years.
He was also the joint top goalscorer in Barcelona’s last Champions League success, scoring in the quarter-final, semi-final and final.
Not to forget his 74 goals for Brazil, making him second to only Pele in their list of all-time top goalscorers. He’s now just three behind the man who some consider the greatest to ever kick a football.
To suggest Neymar lacks substance is ignorance of the highest order. He’s consistently put up world class numbers for goals and assists whilst having much more to his game than most players in world football.
But numbers aren’t everything. PSG’s number 10 is one of the most technically gifted in the world - a quality that United severely lack in their current squad.
A player who will look for a pass instead of going for goal, having the ability to unlock a defence when it doesn’t seem possible. It’s hard to describe Neymar’s brilliance as he’s a truly unique player and someone that would spark life into any team across the globe.
In recent years, Neymar has struggled with injuries. The most time spent on the side-lines was when he fractured his metatarsal in 2018/19, a year after he broke the same bone in his right foot.
PSG doctors warned that the injury could reoccur, seemingly blaming the treatment he received in Brazil when consulted by Le Parisien - “there are many doubts surrounding the treatment he received in Brazil due to the methods used not being ideal in terms of curing this type of injury.”
Thankfully, Neymar hasn’t had a similar injury since but has suffered ankle problems with a lengthy lay-off coming last season where he missed 12 games for PSG.
Could it perhaps be that he has been unfortunate with injuries? He has averaged around 29 appearances a season whilst at PSG, which includes fracturing his metatarsal twice. So whilst it’s not the best, it’s also not the worst and I’d be inclined to put a lot of that down to bad luck, especially breaking the same bone twice in back-to-back seasons.
Incidentally, if United were to register their interest in Neymar this summer, it wouldn’t be the first time. In 2016, Neymar’s father claimed “Manchester United is the side that offered €190 million for Neymar,” who were keen to activate the Barcelona forward’s release clause in the summer of 2015.
At 30 years old, Neymar is entering his prime years, but whilst the concerns around his injuries are potentially justified, he still has a lot (a lot!) to give - especially in a United side that is void of technical ability, experience and that winning mentality.
As for his ‘attitude’, you’re talking about one of the best players to grace a football pitch in the last decade.
Is it really a problem if he has a bit of an ego? It’s arguably justified for a player of his quality. I understand the concern, United have players with egos larger than life who haven’t accomplished a tenth of what Neymar has, so it’s natural for fans to be wary.
Think back to the players at United in the past; Eric Cantona, David Beckham, George Best and Wayne Rooney just to name a few. If anything, United need players of Neymar’s stature and ability who bring that star power and confidence.
There’s maybe only Cristiano Ronaldo at the club who has a presence and a proven, relentless track-record of winning.
It’s rare that a player of Neymar’s level becomes available and whilst Murtough and co. would have a challenge on their hands to make the deal happen, it would almost be a crime not to try.
Let’s not forget where Manchester United are right now. Europa League football is a more regular occurrence than it should be and it’s a club at the start of a ninth rebuild in nine years. If Erik ten Hag could somehow convince Neymar to make the swap from Paris to Manchester, it would be a massive boost going into the new season and potentially the best signing since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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