- Casemiro joined Man United in the summer
- Has been spectacular in midfield
- Yet Neville does not consider him to be a 'smart' signing
WHAT HAPPENED? The Brazilian completed a blockbuster £70m ($84m) move to United from Real Madrid last summer, becoming their sixth-most expensive signing ever in the process. After initially struggling to adapt to life in England, Casemiro has established himself as a lynchpin in Erik ten Hag's lineup. He has chipped in with a few goals too, including one in United's Carabao Cup final win over Newcastle United. Neville acknowledges that the 31-year-old has made a huge impact at Old Trafford, but still feels the club's huge investment in the ageing midfielder made little sense. Instead, he wants his former club to focus on younger players like Lisandro Martinez and Antony, who still have the prime years of their careers ahead of them.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I feel like Ten Hag is not going to sign [marquee names]. If new owners come in they’re going to want to make a statement, they’ll want to blow the transfer market open. I don’t think that will suit him," Neville said when discussing United's potential summer plans on the Sky Sports show The Overlap.
"I think he’ll want those younger, hungrier ones that have still got that growth rather than the finished article. Casemiro obviously defeats that a little bit, but you look at Antony and Lisandro Martinez, they’re younger and hungrier. I think that’s the type of player he’ll want to add to this squad rather than saying, 'Oh, Kylian Mbappe’s available or so-and-so is available'. But Casemiro, there’s no doubt – we all said it by the way – £60m? £70m? And £20m-a-year [contract] for five years is a £170m investment. That is a massive investment. It’s not a smart or shrewd signing when you look at it from a [big picture] point of view. None of us thought that. But the impact he’s having in the short term and what Manchester United need now, he’s devastating for the club in unbelievable ways."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: United have recently been linked with a move for Tottenham's Harry Kane, and although Neville is also a big fan of the 29-year-old, he has the same reservations about bringing him in as he did for Casemiro. "You know something, I’ve worked with him and you watch him. He will score 30 goals, he will get 10-15 assists, and that is an absolute fact," the United legend added. "He’s a professional, the dressing room will love him, he’ll fit in straight away and he’s a guarantee for Manchester United. But if he’s going to cost £150million and he’s 30, then it’s a short-lived [signing].
"So I think Harry Kane is the type of player who could take you to the title, he is, because he would just connect the whole of the midfield, the top of the pitch, he’ll score goals, the fans will love him, the players will love him and I don’t see how you can go wrong with him. But the fact of the matter is, for the long term, it wouldn’t be something that worked. He’s got another five years left in his career by the way, so I don’t think there’s a problem with that, it’s just that he is, obviously, in the latter part of his career."
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WHAT NEXT FOR CASEMIRO? The Brazil international will look to put in another solid shift in midfield when United host West Ham in FA Cup on Wednesday.