Reports in today’s national newspapers claim Manchester United failed in a deadline day bid for highly-rated Brazilian youngster Neymar.
Santos have been quick to deny the reports from The Sun, however, with director of football Felipe Faro dismissing the claims out of hand.
"I have no idea where that came from, but it's not true," he told Globo Esporte.
The Red Devils have also distanced themselves from the speculation, with a club spokesman telling Goal.com: "It was total rubbish."
However, the same website suggests that United were simply priced out of a move for the player, rather than having no interest at all in the 20-year-old.
Sir Alex Ferguson showed in the early stages of the transfer window that he’s willing to spend big on young South American talent, although United fell short in their pursuit of Lucas Moura as PSG swooped for the Sao Paulo star.
Neymar is generally seen as the jewel in the Brazilian crown though, and a player who holds the hopes of a nation on his shoulders moving towards a home World Cup in 2014.
He’s also stated a desire to stay at the Vila Belmiro until the showpiece event is over, which should give a clear indication as to why Manchester United failed in their pursuit of the player, if indeed they made a move at all.
There is little to suggest that the player’s thought process will change, and whilst the 20-year-old has been hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons recently, Santos have enough money to keep the Neymar on their books with a competitive salary.
Recognised as an ambitious young man on the cusp of greatness, Neymar will be well aware that he must move to compete with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be dubbed the best player in the world.
Whilst Pele’s tinted glasses have led him to claim that the Mohican-haired youngster is already at the pinnacle of world football, it’s the thoughts of the masses that place the La Liga pair at the top of the pile.
It’s no surprise that both Real Madrid and Barcelona have been linked quite vigorously with the player, and the more obvious move for Neymar would be to Spain. The climate is closer to home, as is the language and culture.
However, the global appeal of the Premier League would be an ideal way for Neymar to build on his reputation around the world, and the lucrative financial benefits that are likely to be on offer could go some way to making the player an even richer man than he already is.
Ultimately, the decision will fall to the player and his agent, Wagner Ribeiro, who has previously talked up moves to a number of clubs in Europe. A £50 million buy-out clause would certainly sort out the men from the boys.
And, if fans were skeptical of Neymar’s ability, then his performances during the 2012 Olympics in London will have certainly gone some way to proving the doubters wrong. I’d put my house on him moving to Europe, but not until he’s lifted the biggest trophy the sport has to offer on home soil roughly 21 months from now.
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