Manchester United haven’t exactly had the best of summers. Neither did Brazil star Neymar. They need each other – badly.
United’s failure to deliver Jose Mourinho’s chosen transfer targets has riled the Portuguese, leaving him seemingly at odds with the world at large.
Neymar’s World Cup didn’t go to plan, with Brazil crashing out of the tournament against Belgium at the quarter-final stage.
His contribution was brilliant at times, but his petulance and play-acting didn’t endear him to fans across the globe.
All of which makes United and Neymar a match made in heaven.
Neymar’s talent certainly isn’t in question.
He has shone previously on the international stage with Brazil and won numerous trophies at club level with both Santos and Barcelona.
However, his move into the calmer waters of French football with Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 was seen by many pundits as a backward step. A big fish in a small pond was the insinuation.
PSG won the domestic treble last season, but no-one outside of Paris was really that bothered. The club came up short in the Champions League and it doesn’t look especially equipped to put that right this season.
A player of Neymar’s talent should be gracing a bigger stage than PSG can offer each and every week and United is the perfect destination for him.
A return to Barca would be highly unlikely, while a move to Real Madrid doesn’t offer the same challenge as the one on offer at Old Trafford. Sure, he could help them regain the La Liga title, but ‘been there, done that’ springs to mind.
United, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish.
No Premier League title since 2013, no Champions League success since 2008. This is a club in serious need of stardust and that’s what Neymar would bring.
The Brazilian would undoubtedly be a divisive figure in the Premier League – a player capable of brilliance, but also with the ability to wind up the opposition and their fans.
Signing Neymar could potentially have the same effect as Eric Cantona had on United, helping to galvanise the current squad and inspiring the fans to ramp up the siege mentality that serves them so well.
While Neymar wouldn’t come cheap in terms of fee and salary, he would be a huge commercial asset for the club both at home and abroad. On that basis alone, if you were Ed Woodward you’d be doing what it takes to get the Brazilian to Old Trafford.
United would have the world star that their status merits, Neymar would have something to challenge him and Mourinho could go into battle armed with the proper tools.
Your move, Mr Woodward.