MANCHESTER UNITED almost beat Paris Saint-Germain to the $327 million capture of Neymar, according to reports.
As the Brazilian closes in on a move to the French capital, it has been claimed Old Trafford chiefs negotiated the same deal last summer.
L’Equipe insists the Barcelona star had agreed personal terms but the move collapsed at the last minute.
United are long-term admirers of Neymar, 25, and first held talks with his representatives in 2015, as exclusively revealed by The Sun.
The Premier League giants believed he was ready to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow and become the main man.
And now PSG appear to have got the sensational deal over the line, with Neymar telling his teammates he was leaving today.
The Parisians gave Barcelona no choice but to accept after triggering the superstar’s release clause.
And Neymar has finally decided he is ready to move on after years of learning from all-time great Messi.
Brazil have gone through a dry-patch in terms of Ballon d’Or awards and securing the gong is their latest talent’s No1 priority.
And with PSG, who came close to knocking Barca out of Europe this year, he will have a brilliant platform to launch an assault on football’s most coveted individual prize.
Playing for the Ligue 1 outfit has the added advantage of a less gruelling domestic schedule with the World Cup on the horizon.
Brazil will have their work cut out to lift the trophy on European soil but know their talisman is capable of leading them to glory.