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According to some simply horrifying football “news” outlets, Manchester United are readying a 173m pound or 200m euro deal to sign Neymar from Barcelona. The Cosh boys have a throw down on the topic as we aim to get to the bottom of this.
Bernie: Absolutely not! Last year Man United announced record revenue of just over 500m pounds. Signing Paul Pogba wasn’t a bad idea at that time as it represented only 17.8% of turnover. Rooney’s transfer in 2005 came out to about 17.2% of turnover and look at what he achieved and the marketing dollars he brought in as well. United are the world’s richest club revenue wise, but even if the club’s turnover were to increase to 600m pounds you’re looking at 28% of turnover on one player. That’s unprecedented and I don’t believe Woodward would sign off on that deal. It would take too long to pay off and when you factor in tax, wages and shady payments to his family you’d be looking at 50m pounds more. Sorry lads, this deal makes no sense. Save your money and go for a player in much better form – Antoine Griezmann.
Alex: What a preposterously-worded leading question. I’m going to ignore that and say that yes, spending 200m on Neymar can make sense for United. Bernie has already laid out quite how ridiculously rich the club is, and bear in mind that they’ll likely make a bunch from player sales over the next two summers too, as Mourinho clears out the dead-wood. Look, Neymar is the best you can buy, and from a marketing stand-point (is there any other standpoint, when we’re talking about United?) he is an absolute behemoth. If you balk at a 200m transfer, I understand. But think of it this way. For the top clubs, 100m transfers are/will become relatively commonplace. So could United purchase Neymar for 200m in one summer rather than, for example, Griezmann and another 100m-priced player the following summer? Absolutely.
Would Neymar even want to come to Man United?
Bernie: NO NO and hell NO! At least not this version of my beloved club. Things seem to be getting better but he’d be nuts to leave warm Catalunya to go to rainy Manchester when he’s already rich as can be. He gets to play with the best player in the world whose mantle he will soon take over. There’s just no need to make a move like this, not at all.
Alex: Hard to disagree with Bernie’s points there, but I’d never rule it out. Ultimately, money talks.
Can Jose Mourinho manage a player like Neymar?
Alex: I’m not sure this matters. If Neymar ever signs for United, he’s signing for the club not the manager, who we all know is unlikely to be around for that long. Barcelona change their managers pretty frequently too. There’s no guarantee that Luis Enrique’s successor will get on with Neymar either. Frequent change is a reality of the modern game and any Neymar transfer will be part of a much bigger picture.
Bernie: I don’t see these two getting along. Neymar is not one to track back and we all saw how it went down between Jose and Eden Hazard at Chelsea. The best version of Neymar is the one for Brazil who does whatever he wants and that’s not what Mourinho is used to. He fell out with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid for similar reasons. Neymar is a superstar and loves a good party and the freedom of the pitch. Those two things just don’t go well with Mourinho. That said, he has loosened up a bit as seen by the free-dabbing Paul Pogba but Neymar may just be a step too far for the Special one.
Rate this transfer rumor out of 10.
Bernie: 3/10 and I’m being generous. Jose Mourinho said it himself yesterday: “To ask for Neymar is absurd…I think it is like breaking into a safe – impossible.”
Alex: Mourinho is a cynic and a Machiavellian mumu. He rarely means what he says and he doesn’t mean it here. For a start, people break into safes all the time. Watch Ocean’s Eleven. I’ll give this a 5/10. Barcelona struggle for money, United want Neymar and always have, and they’re likely willing to spend mental amounts. I’m not saying it’s likely, but it is certainly not impossible.