Back in the summer of 2017, Neymar Jr completed a record breaking €222 million move from Spanish club F.C. Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. His time in Paris has been riddled with injuries, with the peak of it including a trip to the 2020 Champions League Final in which PSG fell 1-0 to German giants Bayern Munich. Winning 5 Ligue 1 titles is of little importance to the PSG board and fans, and Neymar just hasn’t been able to deliver much otherwise. This has resulted in him getting booed by fans, and constantly having to deal with a potential transfer. At this point in time, it seems like it just might be best for both sides to move on.
Although the Brazilian superstar is aging, he still has a lot left in his tank. So far with PSG, he has delivered 118 goals and 77 assists. Top clubs may not be interested in him anymore, however there are some that may. He has liked posts on social media suggesting he return to F.C. Barcelona, but that move is just a pipe dream, as the defending LaLiga champions are still going through financial difficulties. With that being said, multiple clubs in England are interested in bringing Neymar on board, so who serves as the best fit?
Erik Ten Hag is in the midst of building a new empire at Manchester United. His squad will be playing Champions League football next season, as they finished 3rd in the Premier League. Although United struggled to get victories away from home against top opponents, they did an excellent job of taking care of business when they needed to. A Europa League quarter final loss at Sevilla saw them exit European competition last season, however they kept up consistency and never lost track of the main focus: a top 4 finish. One of the bright spots for the Red Devils was the resurgence of Marcus Rashford. In 35 games, the English winger allotted 22 G/A. For me, if Neymar were to come to Manchester, it would be best to have a front three of Neymar, Rashford, and Antony, with Marcus Rashford up top. With the lack of talent and depth at the no.9, Erik Ten Hag had Marcus Rashford start at striker for a handful of games. One of those games that stand out to me is when United hosted 1st place Arsenal. Rashford had started at striker, and was completely lethal, netting 2 goals and an assist. Rashford’s pace completely stretched out the Arsenal defense, as any decent through ball would send him towards a one-on-one opportunity against Aaron Ramsdale. I highlight this game because it showed me just how great Rashford can be when played up top. Obviously, he’d have some flaws, but his overall skill and shooting would diminish them. If this were to happen, it would all but confirm an exit for Jadon Sancho. Sancho joined United from German club Borussia Dortmund for a fee of just under $88 million, but has not been promising at all. He has dealt with some issues off the pitch, but all in all it just doesn’t seem like United is going to work out for him long term. Bringing in Neymar would also add another veteran for this club, one that would be of high importance to Man United’s golden boy, Alejandro Garnacho. Garnacho had 5 G/A coming off the bench mostly in 21 appearances, but has a very bright future, although the numbers may not show. Having a veteran like Neymar who has won at virtually every level would definitely help the teenager deal with some of the biggest pressure moments that he will end up facing at a club like Manchester United, where the fans won’t let a player hear the end of it after a few poor performances.
We all know the incredible season Eddie Howe’s side just had, qualifying for the Champions League. Not only that, but with Saudi Arabian group “PIF” becoming the majority shareholder of the club, the transfer budget for the Magpies has immensely increased, to the point where they could potentially be competing with top clubs in Europe. Let’s look at this move tactically. Neymar plays on the left wing, where he is able to use his speed and creativity to move around defenders. So far at PSG, Kylian Mbappe has been playing upfront. When the two play alongside each other, Neymar typically doesn’t send his passes in through crosses, but instead likes to move inside to find a closer angle or better pass to set up his teammate. This would fit Eddie Howe’s group perfectly, Currently, Newcastle sometimes have Swedish striker Alex Isak play on the left wing, even though his main position is up top. Now, Newcastle have brought in Harvey Barnes from Leicester City to replace Allan Saint-Maximin. Barnes could be a starter for the Magpies, however being able to consistently have him as a boost off the bench with Neymar starting. Barnes would be able to develop and grow under one of the world’s best. From a financial perspective, a projected fee of around €70 million shouldn’t be too hard for Newcastle to cover, given their new ownership group. Pairing up former A.C. Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali with Neymar and Miguel Almiron on the wings would do wonders for this club, and potentially see them get out of the Champions League group stage.
Although Dortmund aren’t in the Premier League, I believe they could be an under the radar team to hijack a potential deal for Neymar. Dortmund just sold English wonderkid Jude Bellingham for $110 million to Real Madrid, and are now able to have financial freedom. They don’t have to solely acquire future stars at this point, as they can splash some money to help them get a trophy. Obviously, a lot more would be needed for their squad to compete in the Champions League, but Neymar is a player that would help them get through to the quarter and semi finals. Aside from that, he would most definitely help them win the Bundesliga, a feat the boys in Yellow and Black were one goal away from doing.
From a roster perspective, Edin Terzic would have Neymar and Karim Adeyemi paired up on the left/right wing, with Sebastian Haller or Youssofa Moukoko up front. Moukoko would make more sense as he has more pace, and fits the playstyle of Neymar and Adeyemi better. As I previously stated, Dortmund can now comfortably put forth a good amount of money on a top star following the sale of Jude Bellingham, but the question is if they will have enough confidence to do so, as it contradicts their transfer strategies of the past.
All in all, this will come down to if Neymar and PSG agree on an exit. He hasn’t had the greatest of times in Paris, but his salary and the life in France is one that is hard to give up. We will have to wait and see what direction new manager Luis Enrique wants to head in. Currently, Neymar has traveled with PSG on their preseason tour to Japan, indicating a good chance of him being in Enrique’s plans.