Rio Ferdinand believes that Manchester United missed a trick by not breaking the bank to sign Neymar from Barcelona this summer.
The Brazilian was subject to interest from Louis van Gaal back in 2015 but ultimately decided to remain at the Nou Camp. He has, however, previously voiced his desire to play in the Premier League one day.
He recently completed a move to Paris Saint Germain for a world record breaking £198m, complete with a seven figure signing on fee and a salary worth £500,000 a week after tax, shattering the axioms of the transfer market to an irreversible degree in the process.
But Ferdinand, speaking on his YouTube channel, noted that United could have made a big statement by signing the 25-year-old.
“Neymar’s up for £196m… Man United are one of the richest clubs in the world,” he said.
“I would have loved to have seen him go to Manchester United. Neymar in a red Man United shirt? Number 7, woah, or number 11. Dirty, it would have been dirty but it wasn’t to be.”
“When we paid that amount for Paul I told that he was not expensive. Expensive are the ones that get into a certain level without a certain quality.
“I think with Neymar it’s going to happen the same, I don’t think he’s expensive for 200million, I don’t think he’s expensive, I think he’s expensive the fact that now you are going to have more players of 100 million and you are going to have more players at 80 million and you are going to have more players at 60 million.
“And I think that’s the problem because Neymar is one of the best payers in the world, commercially he’s very strong and, for sure, Paris Saint-Germain thought about it, so I don’t think the problem is Neymar, I think the problem is the consequences.”
United probably could have afforded Neymar and offered him an improved package to the one put on the table by PSG, but the seeds for this transfer were sowed some time ago.
We have to remember, after all, that Barcelona purchased illicit favours for his father and actually broke international law just to bring Neymar to the Nou Camp. Josep Bartomeu’s administration has, for some time, been built on Qatari money, abandoning Unicef and opting for Qatari Airways and the Qatari Foundation instead. They sat out of two transfer windows, hid large amounts of money and evaded taxes just to preserve their crown jewell that is Neymar.
Sadly for them, however, their ties with Qatari organisations – necessary in the process of developing Neymar at a European level for four years without receiving persecution for any wrongdoing – have come back to bite them where it hurts. This was, in fact, part of the wider ideal between the Barcelona board and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and in the end they had little power over seeing Neymar leave.