The 21-year-old Barcelona forward, formerly of Santos until this summer, is hailed as one of the best footballers on the planet and widely expected to become the best in Catalonia where he is applying his trade in the same team as Lionel Messi.
Neymar Junior, as prefers to be called, signed for the Spanish champions for £48.6m which is indeed a pretty hefty sum for a boy barely into his twenties but, given the likes of Gareth Bale (£86.5m), Radamel Falcao (£52m), and Edinson Cavani (£56m) were acquired for larger prices, I wonder whether Chelsea and Manchester City couldn’t have persuaded Santos to sell their best player to them?
'I spoke with his father when we met in Miami and we closed the deal there,' the Barca president told reporters this week. 'The key was that the player wanted to come to Barcelona - everything was based on that despite offers he had from Manchester City, Chelsea, Bayern and Real Madrid.
Whilst I don’t doubt that, ultimately, it was the player (and his father) who chose to move to Barcelona – arguably the best footballing team in the world – there is of course the likelihood that Rosell, as president of the club, would claim that regardless of whether Neymar actually did prefer their offer and their club. Rosell is unlikely to come out publicly and say he just came here because the weather’s better, is he?
As I say, I’m not surprised if his statement is true and accurate – Barcelona are one of the best teams and they do have the best player in the world at present in Lionel Messi – but I am reasonably sure that both Chelsea and Manchester City could have substantially outbid the Catalans (given their huge debts) and perhaps even used Jose Mourinho especially as a bargaining chip given that he is probably the best manager in the world in terms of his record.
image: © jikatu