If we rewind back to 2011 we can take a look at some very interesting quotes from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger about a potential transfer target for the North London club; a target that may just surprise you:
‘’If I had the money, I'd put it on Neymar. You can't say that Neymar is Pele as he had won the World Cup by the age of 17. He has the potential to be one of the future great strikers but at the moment there's a big difference between the Brazilian league and a European league.’’
On Thursday it was brought to everyone’s attention that Santos and Brazilian football legend Pele had been speaking about the talented striker by claiming that he should join Barcelona, and stop worrying about his haircut, which led many to believe that Manchester City were now out of the question.
Manchester City have been linked with his signing simply because they could afford the whopping £55 million that some people are quoting it will cost to take him away from Brazil after the World Cup in 2014. I don’t care if Neymar scores 20 goals at Brazil 2014 and then goes on to rid the world of famine he is not worth a penny near £55 million and that is surely a sensational asking price designed to keep people away from the striker until Santos are willing to sell; which trust me they will.
Neymar has not impressed in recent performances against some of the bigger teams in world football and despite his magnificent scoring record in his homeland that will be forever discarded due to the supposed ‘inferior opposition’.
So a price-tag somewhere in the region of £25 million seems more reasonable; the most of which you are paying for pure hype.
While in 2011 Wenger may not have had the money to spend on someone like Neymar now he does in light of the £70 million warchest claims and with that in mind he could try and prise him away from Santos this summer before the World Cup, even if he went for the Brazilian club's high asking price.
While he has a mixed opinion in the UK he will certainly quell some fans annoyance as it would be a marquee signing and while he is often billed as a trickster and flash-man he has other qualities. He is deceptively good in the air and actually leads the line quite well; almost Nicolas Anelka like.
Neymar will want to prove the likes of Pele wrong by performing on a European stage and the style of Arsenal’s play will certainly suit his game; and he must have been impressed with Jack Wilshere at Wembley earlier in the year. Knowing that he will surely one day be his captain would also be an enticing deal-breaker.
The issue is also Neymar has bought into his own hype, and will fancy himself at a top club like Barcelona, or is more likely to chase the money at a Manchester City. Could Arsenal compete on any of these fronts?
Could Arsenal be the dark-horses in the race for Neymar?
image: © simonw92