Neymar to Man Utd: Would PSG star be a good Ronaldo replacement?

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith Updated: 4 Jul 2022 19:54 BST 4 min read
Neymar, PSG, 2021/22

Manchester United could lose Cristiano Ronaldo just one year after signing him from Juventus due to his desire to leave the club.

Ronaldo, 37, has informed Man Utd that he wishes to be sold this summer if they receive an acceptable bid for his services.

The Portuguese star only re-joined the club from Juventus last year, but he already wants to leave in order to continue playing Champions League football.

His agent Jorge Mendes has spoken to the likes of Chelsea, Roma and Bayern Munich, and it's Thomas Tuchel's side who appear the most likely to pursue a deal.

It's been reported, however, that the German head coach isn't sold on the idea of signing a superstar this summer following the failure of Romelu Lukaku's move from Inter Milan. Todd Boehly will also respect Tuchel's wishes and only sign the players he wants this window.

Napoli are another side who have been linked, but FootballTransfers revealed the Serie A don't believe they stand a chance in signing Ronaldo before the window slams shut.

If Ronaldo is able to sound out a new home and Man Utd accept a bid for him, then they'll be faced with a huge task to replace him.

That job will be made even more difficult by the fact Edinson Cavani has also left the club following the expiration of his contract in June. It means that Anthony Martial is the only recognised senior striker in the squad, unless Ten Hag wants to use Marcus Rashford through the middle, which is reportedly something he's considering as a short-term fix.

Neymar could be sold by PSG this summer

Neymar could be sold by PSG this summer

Neymar to Man Utd?

It remains to be seen who Man Utd will set their sights on through the middle, but they may be alerted by the potential availability of Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian superstar Neymar.

There have been no reports to say that Man Utd would be interested in signing the forward, but PSG are reportedly willing to listen to offers for Neymar as Luis Campos prepares a new era at the club.

Speculation from France has suggested that incoming new head coach Christophe Galtier is weighing up the idea of switching to a 3-5-2 formation to get the most out of Achraf Hakimi and balance the side better, which leaves Neymar in the cold.

While the 30-year-old wouldn't be a direct replacement for Ronaldo in any sense of the word, he would provide the club with a truly world-class player for Ten Hag to utilise.

Typically featuring off the left, Neymar has been used as a false nine on occasion at PSG, and he drifts into central areas more often than staying wide even when playing off the flank. In fact, the Brazilian is often more central than Kylian Mbappe, who peels to the left despite starting as PSG's centre-forward.

As a result, Neymar could perform a similar role to the one Dusan Tadic perfected under Ten Hag at Ajax. While Neymar doesn't have the work-rate or pressing ability the former Southampton man possesses, he does have the technical talent to play the role to a high level.

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017

He could operate in a fluid front three with Jadon Sancho and Antony, if Ten Hag's wish to sign him from Ajax is realised, and form a truly devasting attack with plenty of inter-changing movement and dynamism.

Neymar may not have lived up to expectations at PSG, but he's still produced more than a goal or an assist every game since arriving in Ligue 1, and he remains a truly excellent operator.

It may take a little thinking outside the box to replace Ronaldo with Neymar, but it could work wonders. The main sticking point will be the lack of Champions League football, however.

The Brazil star may reject a move simply because of Man Utd's Europa League status, which could rule any chance of a transfer occurring. However, if Man Utd are able to persuade him to join, then he could become a very exciting, if a little unusual, replacement for Ronaldo.

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