Manchester United should have made a “dirty” move to land Neymar prior to his record-breaking switch to Paris Saint-Germain, says Rio Ferdinand.
The Red Devils have landed Romelu Lukaku for £75 million this summer, but remain in the market for attacking talent.
One of the best in the business was available a few weeks ago, with PSG stunning world football by activating the €222m release clause in Neymar’s Barcelona contract.
Ferdinand had hoped to see United in that particular transfer mix, with the former Red Devils defender of the opinion that the Brazilian would have been a perfect recipient of the famous number seven jersey at Old Trafford.
“Neymar’s up for £196m… Man United are one of the richest clubs in the world," Ferdinand told his Youtube channel Five .
"I would have loved to have seen him go to Manchester United.
“Neymar in a red Man United shirt? Number 7, woah, or number 11.
"Dirty, it would have been dirty but it wasn’t to be."
PSG’s deal for Neymar smashed the world transfer record, with United’s £89m signing of Paul Pogba in the summer of 2016 blown out of the water.
A new benchmark has been set and Jose Mourinho is among those to have suggested that the fall-out from such an agreement could have far-reaching consequences – even if the transfer itself represents value for money in the grand scheme of things.
The Portuguese told reporters as a remarkable saga was unfolding: "When we paid that amount for Paul I said that he was not expensive.
“Expensive are the ones that get into a certain level without a certain quality.
“I think with Neymar it's going to happen the same, I don't think he's expensive for 200million, I don't think he's expensive, I think what's expensive is the fact that now you are going to have more players of 100 million and you are going to have more players at 80 million and you are going to have more players at 60 million.
“And I think that's the problem because Neymar is one of the best players in the world, commercially he's very strong and, for sure, Paris Saint-Germain thought about it, so I don't think the problem is Neymar, I think the problem is the consequences."
The “consequences” are already being felt, with Barcelona’s search for a successor to Neymar seeing them face fierce opposition from clubs aware that they can drive prices up when dealing with a cash-rich rival.
Barca have already seen offers of up to £90m knocked back by Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho, while they have been informed that they will need to spend upwards of €100m if they have any intention of landing Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele.