Newcastle owe it to us all to sign Neymar. We had such high hopes for transfer silliness and have so far been denied.
A report claims Paris Saint-Germain are willing to sell Neymar for just £45m and Newcastle have been linked for no reason other than having lots and lots of money. Please make it so. Who doesn’t want to see a 20-stone Geordie samba dancing in the Gallowgate?
It’s the sort of move we were hoping the Saudis would make when they first bought the club, only to have been disappointed by your Dan Burns and your Kieran Trippiers. A good Newcastle is good for the Premier League, and the only reason we take issue with their almost instant success is that they skipped the part of a newly super rich club’s journey that we enjoy above all else. They denied us the transfer sillies and we can’t help but feel cheated.
Other than perhaps Chris Wood – and even he offers a serviceable plan B – all of the signings under the new regime have been excellent, but have in general been players the club could conceivably have bought before their new-found wealth. Burn, Wood, Trippier, Matt Targett, Joe Willock and Nick Pope wouldn’t have arrived in such a concentrated mass under Mike Ashley, but aren’t names that look out of place alongside Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis: the last two signings made under the Sports Direct despot. Even Sven Botman, brilliant though he is, wouldn’t have been seen as particularly unorthodox.
The two additions that fly in the face of that convention have been Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes, both of whom were ironically chased by the only other Premier League club who can hold a candle to Newcastle in terms of improvement since they arrived: Arsenal. Isak looked good before being struck down by injury and you would be hard pushed to pick a central midfielder who’s played as well and consistently as Bruno in the year he’s been in the English top flight.
Perhaps it’s the consistency that’s failed to sate our transfer hunger, because Bruno otherwise ticks a lot of megastar boxes – he’s a Brazilian who does tricks and has a name that sounds fantastic when booming out of the mouths of 50,000 Geordies. Maybe it’s because he gets on with everyone? That feels like it’s a problem in general in the Newcastle squad. Where are the rifts? It’s all far too friendly. Where’s the controversy? Give us some dressing room leaks at the very least.
And somehow the fact that it’s Newcastle makes the lack of off-the-wall transfers even more frustrating. Remember Faustino Asprilla? What happened to you guys?
He could be an excellent signing for Newcastle and £45m is a snip for a player who remains one of few in world football who can win a game on his own. Not that we needed recent proof, but his goal against Croatia at the World Cup was evidence of the quality he still has in spades.
He’s also not renowned for being a particularly divisive player in the dressing room, feuding with Kylian Mbappe aside (and the Frenchman appears to have been throwing more toys out his pram than Neymar through that debacle). It’s his name and status more than his actual character that makes him such an enticingly silly prospect.
On the field he will do absurdly brilliant things with a football, which is fun, but could also do a spectacular dive or suffer a dip in form, which would be fine for any player at Newcastle other than him. It’s at that point the media can weedle weedle, pry and needle and make far more of situations because its Neymar in the hope of creating problems that wouldn’t exist were it not for their meddling.
Eddie Howe can be asked why his star player is injured for the sixth birthday in a row and Dan Burn can be snapped by paparazzi getting out of his Smart Car and on to the red carpet outside Shearer’s Bar, the location of Neymar’s next lavish party, where Matt Targett is doused with bottles of Prime as he dances on stage between buxom Brazilians.
Let’s have dressing room fisticuffs, training ground bust-ups and canteen quarrels. Sean Longstaff may not be fit to lace Neymar’s boots – for the love of God, let’s find out.
It’s not too late for silliness, Newcastle. There’s plenty of time for stability and success – let’s have some fun in the meantime.