What’s the right way to react to the latest Man Utd gossip?


A couple of weeks before the end of the 2006 summer transfer deadline, few would have imagined that Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, two young up-and-coming Argentine internationals, would sign for West Ham, a mid-table Premier League side. Yet that is exactly what happened.

So, as tempting as it may be to laugh off rumours suggesting Neymar, one of a triad of forwards that took Spanish and European football by storm playing for Barcelona last season, wants to join Manchester United, the Premier League’s fourth best side, as ridiculous, there really cannot be any certainty in the ridicule.

As entertaining as ESPN analyst Craig Burley’s matter-of-fact views on the rumour are (see below video) and as common as they may be among the wider footballing community, there is conflicting chatter that the Brazilian poster boy is open to an Old Trafford switch.

The Guardian believe that the forward has told the Red Devils’ executive vice chairman Ed Woodward that he is open to joining the club, while Sky Sports are carrying a story containing quotes from the player’s agent denying that Neymar will leave the Nou Camp.

Such contradictory reports can make the situation quite confusing, especially in a transfer window that has seemed to dial up the uncertainty from previous carnations of the circus act.

After all, Neymar’s former Barcelona teammate Pedro was supposed to be all but a Man United player until Louis van Gaal claimed he never wanted him in the first place and the Spaniard rocked up at Chelsea with a debut goal.

Then there’s the humdrum daily reporting about United’s David De Gea and his future at the club: is he leaving, or is he staying? Does anyone still care?

The overriding reaction to the Neymar news is that there’s no chance the Brazilian will be a United player. Not this summer, and not next.

Yet, as the club continue their Premier League campaign with a 6/5-rated trip to Swansea next weekend, the images of a claret and blue-wearing Tevez and Mascherano all those years ago just leaves a lingering thought of what if?

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.