Neymar for £165 million? No thanks, we’ll take these eleven stars instead.
Transfer season has gone into overdrive with just days left in this summer’s window. Just when we thought the rumours could not get any more ludicrous, those loveable rogues at The Sun splashed the following headline across their back page:
“£240m – Man Utd won’t flinch at mega Neymar deal”
An outrageous claim, but one that refuses to go away, as Manchester United fans yearn for the arrival of another superstar at Old Trafford. According to The Sun, the transfer fee would be £165 million including tax, with a further £75 million in wages over five years.
This got us thinking; are Manchester United really that desperate that they need to obliterate the world record transfer fee just to bring the Brazilian to British shores? Surely there are more viable options.
If we look at the transfer fee (£165m) in euros, it bring the sum total of the deal to €227 million, excluding wages. Using the current transfer window’s valuations, it’s unsurprising to see that a whole host of talent could be acquired for the price of Brazil’s boy wonder.
We scoured the European transfer market, and thanks to the lads at Transfer Markt, were able to compile an XI made entirely of deals that were completed during the summer. Unsurprisingly, it’s quite frightening how much more talent can be bought for the same price as the sight of Neymar in a Manchester United shirt.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech – €14 million
Arsene Wenger’s signing of Petr Cech could prove to be a masterstroke when it comes to the business end of the season. Over-reliance on dodgy goalkeepers has been the downfall of Arsenal in recent years, but in Cech they may just have what it takes to finally make a proper assault on the title. Dodgy start aside, he’s a top class stopper.
Left Back: Filipe Luis – €16 million
Luis didn’t particularly enjoy the best of times in the Premier League and was swiftly sent on a flight back to Atletico Madrid, albeit with a Premier League winners medal. However, he does possess class and at just €16 million would have been a good addition to any Champions League squad.
Centre Back: Stefan Savic – €25 million
Savic started on the bench for Atleti’s opening win against Las Palmas, but is a player that will be expected to play a large part in the Madrid side’s season. After struggling at Manchester City, Savic firmly established himself as a key cog in Fiorentina’s defence. At just €25 million, the 24-year-old Montenegrin could prove to be a steal.
Right Back: Danilo – €31.5 million
Danilo is expected to progress into one of the best right-backs in the world and Real Madrid may just have unearthed a gem. The former Porto and Santos full back has signed a six-year deal at the Bernabeu and is most certainly one to watch.
Left Wing: Pedro – €27 million
A Mourinho masterstroke, coupled with some bizarre decisions at Old Trafford means Pedro now has the same amount of Premier League goals as every other Manchester United player combined this season. Ouch.
Central Midfield: Arturo Vidal – €37 million
No introduction needed, one of the top midfield players in the world. Now plying his trade at Bayern, €37 million looks a bargain.
Central Midfield: Sami Khedira – Free
No better man to partner Vidal than World Cup winner Sami Khedira. Injury struggles have lessened his influence in recent years, but Juventus’ decision to offer him extortionate wages to sign on a free transfer should see Khedira slip into the gap left by Vidal’s departure.
Right Wing: Xherdan Shaqiri – €15 million
One of the surprise signings of the summer, Mark Hughes’ rebrand of Stoke City continues with the addition of Swiss star Shaqiri. Inconsistency is probably his main weakness, but there’s no doubting the talent the former Bayern Munich man possesses.
Attacking Midfielder: Arda Turan – €34 million
Arda Turan is one of La Liga’s best distributors of the ball, and excelled in Atletico Madrid’s attack/midfield over the last few seasons. However, he is now at Barcelona and will be hoping to exert the same influence over the Blaugrana midfield. Sadly, a combination of ineligibility and injury mean he’s out for the next four months at the very least, but at €34 million Turan is a good acquisition. Additionally, his move weakens Atleti’s title chances considerably.
Striker: Mario Mandzukic – €19 million
Mandzukic has become somewhat of a journeyman in recent years, but one thing that has remained consistent is his potency in front of goal. The Croatian striker scored 33 goals in 54 appearances at Bayern, and 12 goals in 28 appearances for Atleti. He should continue to hit the net in Turin.
Striker: Carlos Tevez – €6.5 million
The homesick Argentine is a controversial choice, but his industrious nature and ability to score every type of goal is an asset in modern football. Imagine a striker that works his socks off AND scores goals? Amazing. 39 goals in 65 Juventus appearances means he averaged a goal every 1.6 games, a super record for a man valued at just €6.5 million this summer when he returned to Boca Juniors.
Total: €225 million.
Our sum total of €225 million leaves us with a surplus of €2 million. Maybe Manchester United could use it to build a statue of Ed Woodward after completing the eleven deals above.