Manchester United have never been involved in the Neymar transfer saga this summer, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Reports yesterday suggested Man Utd were alongside the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid in being some of the top European teams to have turned down the chance to sign the Brazilian forward, who was keen on staying in Europe but who has instead left PSG for a move to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal.
While some Red Devils fans will have craved this big-name signing, it looks like the club have learned an important lesson from the recent Cristiano Ronaldo saga, as well as failed deals for other marquee names like Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez down the years.
Neymar is no longer at the top of his game, and while it’s always tempting to gamble on such a natural talent who can still change a game with one moment of quality, there can be no question he would be the wrong signing to help continue the fine work done by Erik ten Hag since he took over at Old Trafford just over a year ago.
The pressure will be on Ten Hag to keep on taking this team forward in his second season at United, and while it’s still hard to predict how that will go (confident betting fans can always try their best here!), it was surely the right call to turn down Neymar and not steer away from building something different around younger, hungrier, more team-oriented players.
Having said that, it’s a shame to see a figure like Neymar leaving the highest level of European football at the age of just 31. The former Barcelona man should surely have done more with the last few years of his career, and it seems certain now that he won’t truly establish himself as being up there alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the modern greats.
Neymar could perhaps have revived his career and boosted his reputation with a move to the Premier League, but at the same time he can hardly complain that there weren’t really any major suitors.
Despite links with the likes of United and City, it seems the strongest interest came from Chelsea, and even they ultimately decided to go down a different route by ‘protecting’ their big-money investment in young forward Mykhaylo Mudryk.
It might still take a bit more time for the Ten Hag project to bear fruit, but little decisions like this along the way could end up proving key.