Tuesday was a bit of a weird day.
At Sport Witness, we tend to focus solely on rumours that involve English clubs, yet when the news broke from Brazil that Neymar had ‘accepted’ Paris Saint-Germain’s offer to join the Ligue 1 side, we felt there was a need to cover it.
That’s where our man in Sao Paulo, Lucas Sposito, stepped in, and provided a breakdown of all the news coming out of Esporte Interativo, one of Brazil’s national TV channels, which you can find here.
At the time, our gut feeling said it was just a matter of time until a story involving the breaking news and Manchester United appeared, either to say they’d joined the race or were out of it.
Well, that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday morning, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Sport are the guilty party.
Unfortunately for Manchester United fans, it’s bad news, meaning the Red Devils will not be joining the race to sign the Brazilian superstar from Barcelona, and the Catalan newspaper perhaps take a little bit too much pleasure explaining why.
You see, Neymar to Old Trafford is a story that sells, and one that is near guaranteed to appear once a summer, mostly due to the fact José Mourinho’s team are one of the few capable of shelling out the €222m needed to trigger the forward’s release clause.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not so cynical to believe Manchester United wouldn’t be interested in signing the 25-year-old because, well, who wouldn’t be? After all, he’s rather quite good at the whole kicking a football thing.
But, because he’s such an important player to Barcelona and because he would cost ridiculous amounts of money, the chances of him moving were always very slim, and when he signed a new deal last summer with a €200m+ release clause, they were even slimmer.
Anyways, we digress. Back to the Sport story.
According to the Catalan newspaper, Manchester United have wanted Neymar for months now.
It even looked like it could happen, as the Premier League side’s directors had given their OK to the big money move, leading to José Mourinho calling Neymar personally a number of times to convince him to accept his club’s offer.
The idea behind the move was that the Red Devils saw Neymar as the ideal replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, helping the club win football games on the pitch and provide a boost selling paint and tyres off it.
However, before any of this happened, the club needed to somehow qualify for the Champions League because, of course, the Brazilian would never dream of joining them without being able to play elite European football.
While failing to finish in the Premier League’s top four, Manchester United got their much needed qualification through a Europa League trophy, and all was well.
That is until José Mourinho and Ed Woodward sat down with Malcolm Glazer, and everything collapsed in front of their eyes (that’s basically how Sport put it).
Now, before we continue, and we know you probably picked up on it, there’s one small detail that makes all of this difficult to believe, and that’s the fact Malcolm Glazer died in 2014.
Perhaps they meant Avram, or even Joel, but Sport went with Malcolm.
So, here are José Mourinho and Ed Woodward, currently sat at a table talking to a man who died three years ago, who, by some miracle, told them, during this unlikely meeting, they couldn’t buy Neymar.
Unfortunately for everyone else, his ‘American mentality’ meant the idea of spending €222m on a player was absolutely ridiculous, especially one summer after spending €127m on Paul Pogba.
And there you have it: the exact moment when the dreams of José Mourinho, Ed Woodward and the Manchester United board were shattered by a ghost(?), and months of work were flushed down the drain.
It’s a nice story, isn’t it?
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