Neymar’s agent Wagner Ribeiro has today told ESPN Brazil ( as translated by English version of ESPN ) that the Brazilian was close to joining Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain over the summer.
The Barcelona forward was heavily linked with a move away from Camp Nou throughout the summer with United among the clubs said to be interested in taking him on board.
However, the 24-year-old eventually agreed a new five-year deal to stay with the Spanish champions, ending speculation of a move away from the club.
Ribeiro confirmed to ESPN Brazil that Neymar was very close to joining Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain over the summer and would have earned more money in doing so, but instead decided to stay at Barcelona.
News of Manchester United’s interest in the Brazilian will come as no major shock to the Old Trafford faithful. It has been no secret that the United hierarchy rate the Barcelona forward very highly and with all the club’s financial power an offer for Neymar probably did get made.
Neymar is undoubtedly one of the world’s finest footballers but he ultimately just wasn’t the right fit for the club. On his arrival Mourinho stated the he needed specialists in order to take Manchester United back to the top and in Neymar, he isn’t a specialist, he is a luxury player that the Portuguese manager isn’t looking one right now.
With the likes of Memphis Depay, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all still developing as footballers, bringing Neymar to the club would have stalled or even finished their Old Trafford careers. The three aforementioned players all have the potential to become stars at Old Trafford and if Neymar would had joined United, he could have completely ruined their development.
It would undoubtedly have cost United in excess of £100 million to land Neymar and whilst many point to the astronomical fee paid to Juventus to re-sign Paul Pogba in the summer, the Frenchman was ultimately a footballer Mourinho needed. For years now, since the retirement of Paul Scholes, United have craved a true world class midfielder who can take the club to the next level. By signing Pogba, the United boss now has a player who can do just that, making the cost irrelevant.
Mourinho has a team at his disposal that could potentially go on and bring the Premier League title back to Old Trafford this season for the first time since 2013. He has invested money in key areas and not wasted money on areas that needed no further investment.
Neymar is a fabulous player but he was not the right player for Manchester United, plain and simple.