In a new series of articles, FantasySports.co.uk will analyse the likely formation and performance impact that players would have on some of the Premier League’s greatest clubs. Today, we ask the question: ‘How would Paris Saint-Germain player Neymar fit in at Manchester United?’
Our analysis series is to assist Fantasy Premier League managers in understanding the impact Neymar could have next season in the English top-flight.
How would Paris Saint-Germain player Neymar fit in at Manchester United?
Neymar has had his ups and downs in 2017-18. The Brazilian forward tallied 19 goals and 13 assists for Ligue 1 side PSG. It was phenomenal set of numbers, especially since he did it in just 20 league matches. Neymar missed the last three and a half months of the season due to foot and ankle problems. The injuries have put his fitness for the World Cup in jeopardy.
The forward missed a combined 20 matches, the most in his career due to injury. While he had exceptional numbers, PSG didn’t win trophies the club wasn’t expected to win. The club did a domestic treble, but the Champions League once again ended at the quarterfinal stage. Neymar was supposed to get the club into the final, but injury prevented him from participating in PSG’s second-leg match against Real Madrid. The game saw a Parisian capitulation.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has long looked for a strong left sided player. Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford have not lived up to the manager’s demands on the left. Neymar would certainly fit into the role. The Brazilian played exclusively on the left-hand side for PSG in a 4-3-3. He tallied 25 goals in 27 matches and added 16 assists before injury.
The obvious difference between the Premier League and Ligue 1 is the physicality. Neymar’s speed allows him plenty of space on the flank, but would defences in the Premier League be more cynical in their tackles? Would more injuries creep in and prevent the Brazilian from playing the football he has been able to play at Barcelona and PSG?
Neymar has been privileged since starting his senior football career at Santos. There, the club was built around him; at Barcelona, he was a part of a big 3 with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Now, he is the main man at PSG, but he has some tremendous players around him. Many of those footballers in Paris would walk into the Manchester United squad.
Mourinho doesn’t have the same talent at Old Trafford, and while Fantasy Premier League managers would see the Brazilian score points, it wouldn’t be like at PSG. The alleged discontent Neymar has felt at both Barcelona and PSG shouldn’t be overlooked.
In addition, would Mourinho’s tactics really fit Neymar? Sure, he would be deployed on the left of a 4-3-3, but the forward is free-flowing while Mourinho’s tactics are rigid. Eden Hazard couldn’t co-exist in Mourinho’s tactics during the manager’s last season at Chelsea.
Neymar’s Ligue 1 goals totals and assists totals are better than anyone in the Manchester United squad. The Red Devils’ tactics would hurt the Brazilian just like they hurt Romelu Lukaku this term. The striker scored fewer goals for Manchester United than in each of his previous two seasons with Everton.
The Brazilian would make Manchester United strong on the pitch, but would he do the dirty work Mourinho expects from his players? Paul Pogba was in the doghouse for large portions of the season because he wouldn’t defend in a Mourinho style. It is difficult to believe Neymar would either.
Fantasy managers would get points, there is no doubt about it. But the amount of points would depend on the freedom Mourinho gave Neymar.
Would Neymar top the Fantasy Premier League points’ chart?