We’ve all heard that tired cliché, but truth is that the Premier League offers an entirely different challenge to that presented by other top European leagues. New arrivals often tell of their surprise and subsequent struggles to adapt to the pace and physicality in England. Players are not afraid to gain an advantage by any means necessary, and referees are more lenient when it comes to defenders letting attackers know that they are ‘there’.
Neymar is a cuts a slight figure, and doesn’t exactly carry the reputation of the proverbial hard-man, and as such the Premier League would present a different sort of challenge for the Brazilian. United have had players in the recent past have excelled on the continent, but were physically not prepared for the demands of the English league. David De Gea endured a torrid first season between the posts, and packed on over a stone in muscle in the off season in order to improve his presence. Whether United could afford to offer Neymar the same amount of time to adjust himself is a different proposition, as at £140m, the Brazilian would certainly be expected to hit the ground running.
There is no doubt that United are in need of a Galactico. With Wayne Rooney under increased scrutiny having failed to find the net this season, United’s supposed star man is simply not living up to the billing. This has only fanned the flames of those of the belief that United are desperately short of star power up front, and with the club missing out on the potential signing of Barcelona’s Pedro, the pressure has been mounting on Ed Woodward to bolster his attacking line before the window is out. At a reported £140m, the signing of Neymar would smash the current transfer record set by Real Madrid by an incredible £60 million, and although this would certainly be a statement of intent, it would undoubtedly be a monumental financial risk. The Brazilian starlet is obviously one of the finest footballers in the world, and at 23 he still has plenty of football still to play, but even for a club of United’s stature, investing a sum of money of that magnitude into a player who might not settle, or might not even be up to the demands of the league could financially hamper the Red Devils for years to come. Considering there are still areas of the squad in need of address, even United might not be able to justify a transfer fee of that size.
Evolved from Newton Heath, a football club formed by railway workers, United’s roots are entrenched in the predominantly working class city of Manchester.
Despite some rather obvious clichés, local fans of United still very much pride themselves on supporting a club that supports the local community, and local footballing talent in particular. Every single first team manager since 1937 has included at least one youth team graduate in the match day squad. That’s 77 years, and over 3,000 games. But recently, much in thanks to its American owners and an impressive corporate sponsorship drive, the club has started to spend big, and spend often. It is a policy that is exciting as it is risky. The risk is that not only do the stars brought in not always live up to the expectations, see Di Maria, but that the moves are at odds with what the club is built upon. Many fans are desperate for the next big thing to come through from the youth system, and in James Wilson, Jesse Lingard, and Andreas Pereira, there is the potential for a new generation of talented footballers to emerge and stake their claim. United are in a rather strange period of relaxed scrutiny thanks to the David Moyes fiasco, and are certainly undergoing a rebuilding process. So why not take this opportunity to bring through some young, hugnry, home-grown talent, and maybe save a few pounds in the process?
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