Chelsea have taken the lead in the pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar, after Manchester United reportedly raised concerns after the debacle around Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar has been one of the top players in the world for most of his career. He rose to the top following his move to Barcelona in 2013.
Four years down the line, the Brazilian had 105 Barca goals, 76 assists and a Champions League to his name, alongside three La Liga titles and three Spanish Cups.
Wanting to extract himself from the shadow of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar made an world record €222m move to PSG in 2017.
Now coming to the end of his sixth season with the Ligue 1 giants, he’s one of the most accomplished footballers in the world. Indeed, he’s directly contributed to 195 goals in his 173 games for the club.
On top of that, he’s won the Ligue 1 title on four occasions, and is a point away from doing so for the fifth time. Despite his achievements suggesting things are going well between him and the club, it seems his time there is coming to an end.
Multiple sources have suggested PSG want to sell Neymar. They’re not short of legitimate suitors: both Manchester United and Chelsea reportedly keen on the Brazilian.
United manager Erik ten Hag has remained coy on the subject, telling reporters “when we have news we will tell you”, after being asked if his side did want to sign Neymar.
United have Neymar concerns following Ronaldo debacle
However, it seems the picture over whether United will attempt to sign him is becoming clearer.
ESPN Deportes reports the chances of Neymar moving to Old Trafford ‘are slim’. That’s due to United’s experience with another big-name star in Ronaldo.
Indeed, the report suggests they were ‘traumatised’ by the Ronaldo debacle, when a rift developed between him and the club, he refused to come off the bench one game and he eventually had his contract cancelled.
It’s stated that situation created a ‘major crisis’. As such, United ‘do not want another superstar with a high salary who could cause problems in the dressing room’.
Indeed, given the Red Devils are on an upwards trajectory again, it makes sense as to why they’d want to avoid anybody who it could be perceived might think they’re bigger than the club.
Chelsea take the lead for Neymar
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s attention is said to be ‘focused on Neymar’. Given their gung-ho transfer policy of late – £500million worth of players have joined in the last two transfer windows – it’s no surprise they’re keen on him.
It’s clear Neymar is still a fantastic player who could have a massive impact.
The issue for Chelsea is they’ll have to see the back of a lot of players to ensure they can sign him and remain within the Financial FairPlay regulations.
If they can get around that, Neymar would be a good signing, given he could contribute to the attack from any position. They would hope he’d be successful and remain for the majority of the remainder of his career.
Indeed, a 32-year-old with not a lot of resale value coming through the door highlights the problem with Chelsea’s recruitment at the moment, so if he was to flop, they’d have wasted money.
They would hope, also, that his ego is not too big, and United are not proved right not to go through with their own pursuit.