Three reasons Man United should sign Neymar ahead of Thomas Müller
Ned Bristow examines why Barcelona forward Neymar is better option than Thomas Muller for Manchester United
One thing evident from Manchester United’s early performances is a lack of zip and ingenuity going forward. Despite the addition of Memphis Depay and the promising performances of Adnan Januzaj so far this season, more is needed and, despite all of his numerous talents, Thomas Müller isn’t quite the perfect fit. United need to match the rest of the top four with flair and innovation; they need their own Eden Hazard, David Silva or Alexis Sanchez. Rumours are rife that Ed Woodward was after Neymar rather than Pedro all along, and the Spaniard’s move to Stamford Bridge makes the urgency to bring in Neymar all the more important. With pace and unpredictability even more dangerous than the impressive Müller, Neymar is, at 23, one of the most prolific and headache-causing forwards in the game. After scoring just twice in their opening three league fixtures, United need to act quickly despite Louis van Gaal’s adamant declarations that he’s happy with his options. The fact is that United’s 4-2-3-1 formation is not creating enough clear-cut chances and then converting only a tiny percentage of them. With a supremely creative and aggressive forward like Neymar in the side, Wayne Rooney and co would struggle not to create an abundance of scoring opportunities. From there, we all know that van Gaal’s forwards can score given the chance – and the addition of Neymar’s 39 goals from last season certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
Neymar is one of those players who arise just a couple of times in a generation. Hugely talented, yes, but also a franchise who adds another dimension to his playing abilities with unique ability to bring hordes of fans with him wherever he goes. Something of a microcosmic fallen giant since the Sir Alex Ferguson era ended in 2013, United need this reinvigoration and renewed attraction to push them back to the top of world football. It is a ploy United have used to great effect in the past: bringing in a household name who is a star performer both in the short and long term, and gaining increased fame, finances and publicity off the pitch as well as on it. While Müller is a Golden Boot, World Cup and Champions League winner, he does not command quite the same pulling power that Neymar does. As a global superstar, the Brazilian’s contributions to Old Trafford would not be limited solely to the pitch. The arrival of Neymar would also represent United’s renewed ability to attract the biggest names in the global game, which in turn represents a return to the top.
United’s attacking options, it has to be said, do not fill fans with the same excitement as those from clubs around them. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have much stronger and more dangerous attacking setups containing a mix of flair and solidity, while United have not quite struck the same equilibrium. Beyond the starting crop, the Red Devils’ front-four replacements do not offer anything near as much excitement as their rivals’. With Neymar in their ranks instead of Müller, United would have a few more options available to them in terms of changing a game. Furthermore, he would bring balance to the addition of Memphis Depay by complementing the ex-PSV man’s pace on the opposite wing. Despite not having as much positional flexibility as Müller on a personal level, Neymar fills a position and a style that United are lacking, which would open up opportunities for rotation and change – particularly in the wide positions, where Memphis and Januzaj may begin to struggle as the season trundles on. As well as refreshing personnel, Neymar’s inclusion would also refresh United’s style with an aggressive, skilful and unpredictable style even more so than Müller.