It’s late on a Wednesday night without the UEFA Champions League, so let’s dance on a theoretical floor, shall we?
One of the more widely-praised transfers of the year came when Manchester United and Arsenal decided to swap problematic players with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez.
While neither has been perfect in their new homes, both have had starring performances and could (should?) fit in neatly come a full offseason worth of preparation.
More swaps like these should happen more often given the glut of managerial changes across major European leagues, with square pegs sometimes finding round holes when the boss arrives in town.
And have we got a sensational swap lined up for you. And no, it’s not Jose Mourinho for Unai Emery (though should it be? Nah, forget it).
If Paul Pogba is to leave Old Trafford this summer, there are scant few teams who could afford his transfer fee. Likewise, Paris Saint-Germain has Financial Fair Play all over its case and cannot simply make moves to better build its team for the Champions League by splashing cash all over the place.
PSG bought the two most expensive players of all-time last summer in Neymar ($281m) and Kylian Mbappe ($181m). The latter is going nowhere unless FIFA intervenes, 19 years old and becoming a more complete playmaker since heading to PSG from Monaco.
The former, well, that’s a bit trickier.
Neymar has been hurt, and while there’s no doubt his absence is the primary reason PSG was eliminated by Real Madrid, his time at the Parc Des Princes has hit more than a few speed bumps, with the Edinson Cavani PK drama and more.
So if Neymar is “worth” $281 million, could he head to United in exchange for a pair of Frenchmen in Pogba and Anthony Martial?
Alves — Silva– Marquinhos — Berchiche
Verratti — Rabiot
Mbappe — Cavani — Martial
It’s imperfect given Alexis Sanchez’s preference to also play left wing, but going to a 4-3-3 like this for Jose Mourinho would allow a certain amount of freelancing for his trident.
Valencia — Smalling — Bailly — Young/new LB
Matic — Herrera — McTominay
Sanchez — Lukaku — Neymar
Mixing in Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata off the bench and for Cup games is not a bad luxury, plus we know United is going to splash a lot more cash to improve the center midfield and fullback depth.
There could also be a 3-4-3 of excellent repute here:
Smalling — Jones — Bailly
Valencia — Herrera — Matic — Lingard
Alexis — Lukaku — Neymar