The rumour of Neymar to Manchester United has inevitably crept up yet again.
Paris-Saint Germain’s Brazilian star has been persistently linked to the English heavyweights, but nothing has yet come to fruition.
Now, with United’s Erik Ten Hag-inspired resurgence and Neymar’s stock trending downwards, the prospect of him joining the Red Devils may not be so unrealistic.
This time around, his compatriot Casemiro is believed to be putting in the groundwork to convince the mouth-watering winger to link up with him at Old Trafford.
Luckily for United fans, Neymar is more than capable of playing across the entire front line, so fear not.
Keeping all of this in mind, let’s look at three possible systems United could adopt next season if Neymar were to join the club, per the Daily Star.
Neymar operating off the left
First off, Neymar’s potential arrival would give Ten Hag quite the conundrum, seeing as his chief goal-getter already occupies the Brazilian’s primary position. Marcus Rashford has scored 29 goals off the left this season and so it would be wise to let him stay there.
This would therefore mean Rashford would be subject to being shifted infield to be utilised as United’s number 9, which admittedly has sometimes been the case this term.
Playing Rashford through the middle – if Neymar’s move materialises – would nullify United’s need for a true number 9, meaning summer funds can be utilised elsewhere in positions of dire need of reinforcements.
United’s midfield mainstay Casemiro could be partnered by Mason Mount who’d be available for a cut-price, while a replacement for David de Gea in the name of Giorgi Mamardashvili could be secured, despite the former’s 2022/23 Golden Glove win.
Neymar on the right
In this scenario, Rashford would retain his spot on the left side of the United attack.
With Neymar on the right, his fellow countryman Antony would need to make way.
Unorthodox as it is, the fluid nature of United’s frontline under the Dutch tactician Ten Hag means Neymar would have the licence to drift inside and attack from a slightly more central hub, much like what he does from the opposite flank for PSG.
This option would require a goal-hungry striker, however, with Rashford back on the flanks. There’s the potential to spend big and look at the likes of Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen, both likely to cost in excess of £100m, or to enquire about a cheaper, but exciting, alternative in Goncalo Ramos.
Neymar as a false nine
Interestingly, Ten Hag has had success with this system before and Neymar may fill the spot at the top. Though, fans of the Old Trafford-based outfit will look upon this with dread.
Think back to his unforeseen success in the Netherlands when his Ajax side used a false nine system to conquer both Real Madrid and Juventus on their blistering run to the Champions League semi-finals.
Once again, funds would be saved (for the time being) as utilising Neymar in that role would block the need to spend big on a traditional striker. Issues in other departments that are baring thin could be addressed by adding Napoli’s Kim Min-jae to their defensive ranks or swooping in for Wolves’ midfield maestro Ruben Neves.