According to Spanish newspaper Sport, Manchester United are willing to activate the €200 million (£173m) release clause in Barcelona forward Neymar’s contract.
On top of the world record transfer fee, United are also willing to pay Neymar €25m (£21m), or £416,000-a-week, to make the switch to England.
The timing is perfect for United to make the move for Neymar now several reasons. One is that his buyout clause increases in value over the next five years. It rises to €222m in 2017 and then to €250m between 2018 and 2021.
Second, is that United’s two highest wage earners are Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović. Rooney is expected to leave this summer, while Zlatan has one more year left on his contract. Those combined wages would more than pay for Neymar’s wages.
Last week, Neymar admitted he admired a number of Premier League sides, including United.
‘The Premier League is a championship that amazes me,’ Neymar said. ‘I like the playing style and the teams. And who knows, someday, I would like to play at it, yes.
‘I admire Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool — these are the teams that are always there fighting.
‘And then you have high-level coaches like Mourinho and Guardiola. These are coaches with whom any player would like to work.
Neymar had developed into one of the world’s finest players since joining Barcelona in the summer of 2013 and is in a fine run of form at the moment, for both club and country. With Barça, Neymar was key as the Catalan club sealed a remarkable comeback against PSG in the Champions League. He also played a central role for Brazil as they took apart neighbours Uruguay, 1-4.
At Barcelona, Neymar will always be in Lionel Messi’s shadow. Is this the time for him to move away from the Camp Nou to Old Trafford? Or is this just another star using United’s interest to get more money elsewhere?