Man Utd: Solskjaer sweats on Rashford fitness for Granada tie
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Neymar was back to his blockbuster best as Paris Saint-Germain beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday night, registering two assists as the Ligue 1 giants won 3-2 at the Allianz Arena. The Samba star is back on Manchester United’s transfer radar. So, with that the case, it’s worth revisiting the club’s swap deal negotiations with PSG back in 2019.
Manchester United want to add to their squad this summer.
And, while Erling Haaland is currently Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top target, Neymar has been linked with a blockbuster deal.
It was recently reported by the Manchester Evening News that United were monitoring the forward, as well as Kylian Mbappe.
That’s because both players’ contracts with PSG expire in 2022 and, as of yet, they’ve failed to put pen to paper on possible extensions.
On Wednesday night, both forwards sparkled as the Ligue 1 giants beat Bayern Munich 3-2 in their own backyard in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
Mbappe was the star of the show, scoring twice.
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But Neymar showed his class with a fine display, registering two assists as PSG took control of the big occasion.
And United, back in 2019, held talks with PSG about potentially signing the Brazil international as part of a swap deal involving Paul Pogba.
At the time, Pogba wanted out. He’d flirted with a move away from Old Trafford by admitting it would be his dream to play under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.
Furthermore, he’d also stated it was ‘maybe’ the right time to pursue a new challenge elsewhere.
PSG then sensed an opportunity. Neymar was unhappy at the Parc des Princes and wanted to return to Barcelona, despite the acrimonious nature of his departure in 2017.
Except the Ligue 1 titans didn’t want to sell to their Catalan counterparts, with relations between both clubs extremely sour.
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As a result, PSG then contacted United and suggested a straight swap deal that would see Pogba move to Paris and Neymar to Manchester.
But United turned them down.
It emerged at the time that Neymar’s wage was too much for the Red Devils to pay, with the Brazil international apparently on nearly £900,000-a-week with various add-ons included.
And that’s why both players ended up staying put at their respective clubs, where they’ve been ever since.
United’s loss has been PSG’s gain, with Neymar now set to be key to their chances of winning the Champions League title for the first time in their history.
And whether Pogba leaves remains to be seen, with his contract due to expire in 2022.
Speaking recently, Solskjaer insisted he was determined to see Pogba to stay put – insisting the 2018 World Cup winner was vital to the club’s future.
“While he’s been at the club Paul has always wanted what is best for Man United,” the Norwegian declared. “He’s been such an important part of the squad on and off the pitch.
“Paul is a player we want to see at Man United and play well. Just to have him back fit for the last two months, he’s going to be important to us.
“We know he can be the difference between many, many points or going through in Europe like we did against AC Milan.
“The focus is now on finishing the season strongly and Paul knows what my thoughts are.”
Solskjaer said a fully fit Pogba would be a major boost to United, too.
“It’ll be a massive boost and he’s come back bright and he’s ready to go,” the United manager said.
“We know how important he will be for us and how important he has been.
“To have players of his quality out for longer periods, that just shows the quality of the others as well.
“But towards the end of the season now, having Paul back fit and getting our forwards back firing again, hopefully we can get that spark and score more goals again.”
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