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Rumor Analyzer: Manchester United Eyes Record Offer for Barcelona’s Neymar

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We take a look at a report from the Daily Mirror claiming United will “smash the transfer fee record.”

Real Sociedad de Futbol v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

The claim: Manchester United will spend £180 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona.

The source: The Daily Mirror (UK)

Do we believe it? Probably not. But here goes.

The Mirror claims that Manchester United are seeking a world-class striker to replace the aging Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Jose Mourinho has been pushing to get Neymar into his squad since the player was at Santos and the coach was at Real Madrid.

Paris Saint-Germain would be United’s rivals in the transfer market, and the fee would break the one United themselves set in buying Paul Pogba.

Of course, Neymar recently signed an extension, but the report claims that this is just a patch and there are deeper disagreements between Barcelona and Neymar.

There’s also all the tax drama, and apparently this has unsettled the Brazilian.

The Mirror also says Neymar doesn’t like not being “the star” of the team as it’s still clearly Messi’s team, and he may not even be the second star of the team with the arrival of Luis Suárez.

That last part rings a bit hollow to me, as Neymar doesn’t seem particularly selfish, especially when it comes to his forward partners. He seems to get on with them just fine.

There’s also the question if Barcelona would allow that transfer to go through, even if PSG and United do actually want to pay it.

£180 million is a ridiculous amount, but then, the transfer of anyone great is a ridiculous amount these days. Put simply, that much money doesn’t get you nearly as far as it used to. We have a real problem of inflated transfer fees.

There’s also clearly a prestige concern in being the team that keeps it’s star rather than the one forced to sell its star. Look at United selling Ronaldo, for example. It was a ton of money, but I think they regret it.

Anyway, while this mega-deal certainly falls within the realm of possibility, it’s also possible that this is just a well the papers keep going to because it generates clicks.

We’ve heard of possible transfers of Messi and Neymar since the dawn of time it seems, and still, here they are, playing together at Barcelona.