The Brazil international Neymar is considering approaches from Manchester United and Chelsea as he seeks to move ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as Europe’s best-paid footballer.
According to sources close to the 25-year-old, the Barcelona star has targeted an annual after-tax salary in the region of €25m (£21.2m), a sum that would exceed Ronaldo’s remuneration at Real Madrid. Equally important to the Brazilian is the opportunity to escape the situation at Barcelona, where Messi and Luis Suarez are considered more important to the club’s success, and to play for a team structured around his own attacking talents.
Neymar has told friends that both United and Chelsea have asked if he will push for a move to England this summer. According to his account, Jose Mourinho has been particularly persistent in his courtship, with the Old Trafford club promising to meet his financial demands and — if necessary — pay the €200m (£170m) release clause in his Camp Nou contract. Although that deal was extended as recently as October, club sources describe it as “a sticking plaster” intended to patch over a conflict between Neymar and his employers.