Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar has agreed a £77 million move to Saudi Arabia while bringing an end to those rather fanciful Manchester United rumours.
Well, we can file this one under ‘not going to happen’. In truth, it was never likely to.
L’Equipe raised eyebrows and questions aplenty when they reported, at the end of May, that Erik ten Hag’s Premier League giants were in talks over a shock deal for a player who, six years on from his eye-watering switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, remains the most expensive player in football history.
Another France-based publication – Foot Mercato – then claimed that Neymar was ‘seduced’ by the idea of kick-starting his stuttering career at Manchester United. A potential takeover by Sheikh Jassim only served to pour petrol on the speculation pyre; a Qatari owner at Old Trafford potentially leading to close relations with the QIS-funded PSG.
Neymar leaving PSG for Saudi Arabia instead
But with the BBC reporting that the Ligue 1 champions are green-lighting a £77 million sale to Saudi outfit Al Hilal, you can now discard any lingering suggestions that Neymar could end the window as a Red Devil player.
Neymar, The Athletic’s David Ornstein adds, is undergoing a medical at Al Hilal. The Brazil international will reportedly earn a staggering £177 million during his time in the Middle East too; having left very much aware of the fact that he is not part of Luis Enrique’s plans at a PSG side moving away from their flawed Galactico model after yet another high-profile failure in the Champions League.
Manchester United appear to have adopted a similarly stripped-back approach since the departure of Ed Woodward.
Gone are the days of United bringing in fading superstars in search of one last payday. Not including the returning Jonny Evans, Ten Hag’s three summer signings – Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund – have an average age of just 23.6.
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No Man United move
Enrique, you might recall, won the treble at Barcelona alongside Neymar back in 2015. He indicated over the weekend, however, that there was to be no joyful reunion in Paris.
“I won’t share my conversations with players as it’s private stuff. But be attentive to my decisions”, Enrique said before leaving Neymar out of PSG’s squad for Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Lorient.
“My decisions will express my opinion.”