The year is 2021.
The robots haven’t quite taken over, and £100million is now the standard price you pay for a third-choice goalkeeper.
Social media’s biggest transfer Twinstagrambook is experiencing its biggest day of traffic since records began.
The reason for all this social media hype?
A 30-year-old Neymar has been spotted in a service station in Stoke, fuelling the transfer rumours linking him with a move to Man United.
How has Neymar, briefly the world’s most expensive player when he moved from Barcelona to PSG, ended up on the verge of playing under Wayne Rooney at The New Old Trafford?
Let’s go back to the present day to explain.
So Neymar leaves Barcelona for PSG. World record transfer fee, world record shirts sales, record breaking social media numbers… all that jazz.
In his first season he forms a trio with Edinson Cavani and Julian Draxler which, surprise, surprise, proves slightly too strong for the competition in France.
He wins Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France, although PSG miss out on the Coupe de la Ligue after fielding a bunch of academy players.
Season one = success.
PSG sign Philippe Coutinho and Paul Pogba during the 2018/19 transfer window and this time they do the treble, adding a first Champions League success to their trophy cabinet.
Neymar is hailed a hero. Everyone is happy, except for Barcelona who’s signings of Paulinho and Jamie Vardy haven’t quite lived up to the billing.
But, five years since signing for PSG, Neymar gets the itch again. No, not that itch, the type of itch you get when you’ve won everything there is to win.
And this is where, in 2020, we find ourselves back in the Stoke service station.
When Neymar decides he’s won everything there is to win in Paris and wants a change of scenery, his first option will be Man United.
Spain will be closed off, as all bridges leading back to Barcelona will have been burnt and Real Madrid, well, let’s just not go there.
Italy, despite Milan’s semi-revolution, will still struggle with the financial pulling power to sign a player like Neymar.
With all the money he’ll have earned from going to PSG the bundles of cash from China and America won’t have much influence on Neymar, leaving us, realistically, with England.
Say what you want about United, but they are still England, and arguably the world’s, most prestigious club.
Man City will put up a good fight, but it remains to be seen whether Pep Guardiola will still be there in five years time, taking out one of the main reasons Neymar would go to the Etihad.
The icing on the cake will be when he heads to Santos to finish his career after two years at United.
Only time will tell if we’re right, of course. So check back in five years and we’ll see where we stand.
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