Brazilian sensation Neymar hasn’t even arrived at Camp Nou, and he’s already making suggestions as to who should join him on the Barcelona side.
Fresh off his country’s third consecutive Confederations Cup with a 3-0 victory over Spain, the 21-year-old reportedly said he would love to play with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, as reported by Metro.
The Catalans acquired Neymar from AC Santos last month for £48 million, but have also been tied to other deals to improve their chances of repeating as La Liga champions.
“The style of football we [Barcelona] play and the level of the players we have – we are the perfect club for the top players to join,” Neymar said to Metro. “I have met Wayne on a few occasions and he seems a good guy but importantly, he is one of the players I admire most in the world.
“Wayne is one of the most gifted and technical players in the world. Of course he would improve Barcelona. He would improve any club in Europe. And on a personal level, it would be a dream to play with him.”
Rooney has been the biggest name rumored for an exit from Old Trafford after now-retired manager Sir Alex Fergusons suggested he was out of shape and that he requested a transfer last season.
The transfer request seems hard to believe given Rooney’s history at Old Trafford and his relationship with new boss David Moyes, who signed the 27-year-old Englishman to his first professional contract with Everton in 2002.
Since 2004 Rooney has compiled an incredible 141 goals in 278 appearances for the Red Devils, and his departure would certainly mark the end of an incredible era for Manchester United. He’s won five Premier League titles, one Champions League, and three FA Community Shields.
Rooney is a national treasure as well, earning 83 caps and 36 international goals for England since 2003.
Considering his history and adoring fans, the Red Devils will have to be fully compensated for Rooney. He’s under contract until 2015, and his market value is around £44 million. Just under what Barcelona paid for Neymar.
The Catalans could raise those funds by putting striker David Villa and midfielder Thiago Alcantara on a plane to England.
Villa has already drawn interest from several English clubs, but none more than Andre Villas-Boas and his Tottenham Spurs. According to The Times, the Portuguese manager has already reached out to Villa to convince him to sign on for a stay at White Hart Lane.
The 31-year-old Villa has fended off some recent overtures from Arsenal and Liverpool, but will probably have to consider a move if Neymar plays right away and takes his spot in the lineup.
Despite his travels with the Spanish national team, Villa has never played for any club outside of his home country. That could make things very difficult for Tottenham.
Villa could net Barcelona as much as £10.5 million, but little-used midfielder Thiago Alcantara could get the Catalans more than £15 million, according another report from Metro on Tuesday.
United’s Moyes has reportedly made Alcantara his top transfer target of the summer, and they are prepared to "treble" or triple his salary should the Spanish native make the switch.
There are no reports as to whether Alcantara will be a separate transaction, or if he would be part of a larger deal for Rooney. Bayern Munich could also make a move for Alcantara, according to Metro.