Tuesday, February 27News That Matters

Erik ten Hag speaks out on Neymar’s possible Man Utd transfer

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has chosen not to shut down speculation linking the club with a summer swoop for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.

The Brazilian star has emerged as an unlikely target for the Red Devils, with French publication L’Equipe claiming United – and some other Premier League teams – have held discussions with the Ligue 1 giants.

Negotiations with United are reported to have advanced furthest, with Casemiro reportedly encouraging his compatriot to join him at the club.

Since the report emerged, United have distanced themselves from the rumours, though Ten Hag decided to play coy when asked about the speculation at a press conference on Wednesday.

Asked if there was any truth in the Neymar links, the Dutchman replied: ‘When we have news we will tell you.’

That response has become a default answer for Ten Hag when questioned on transfers in public, though it raised a few eyebrows that he did not shut down the rumour.

Neymar is facing an uncertain future in Paris, with the club’s hierarchy said to be keen to shake up the make-up of the team and move away from big-name signings and build a local, youth-orientated side with a stronger French core.

Lionel Messi is also expected to leave the club when his contract expires this summer, despite having the option to play one more campaign.

United’s future links with Qatar have also fuelled the speculation, with Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani looking to buy the club in what has become a two-way battle with Britain’s richest man & Ineos founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

PSG are owned by Qatar Sports Investment and it has been reported that the possible new ownership would want a marquee signing this summer and it could be a convenient deal for all parties.

However, United are already blessed with a number of players who can play on the left wing: Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho & Jadon Sancho.

Ten Hag has prioritised a move for a goalscoring number nine to lead his attack – with Victor Osimhen and Harry Kane the leading candidates – and it seems unlikely the Red Devils would be able to afford both players and Neymar.

Neymar remains the world’s most expensive footballer ever, with his £198million transfer from Barcelona to the Ligue 1 side in 2017 yet to be topped.

His form has dipped in recent seasons while he has had various injury issues, though he still managed to score 13 times and provide 11 assists in just 20 Ligue 1 starts this season.

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