CITY SPE­CIAL THE DAN­GER OF FLIRT­ING WITH A WORLD GI­ANT

Glossop Advertiser - - City Special - Stuart Bren­nan

NEY­MAR has flut­tered his eye­lashes at City – or rather at Pep Guardi­ola.

But will City see that as an in­vi­ta­tion to courtship, or will Guardi­ola give the bril­liant Brazil­ian the cold shoul­der?

The Blues have never truly signed a gi­ant of the world game, un­less you in­clude Robinho, when the ink was still wet on the con­tracts which ef­fected Sheikh Man­sour’s takeover of the club, in 2008. They have con­sis­tently picked up play­ers from the next level down, play­ers who have been snubbed or re­leased by the mono­lithic Euro­pean clubs – David Silva, Yaya Toure, Ser­gio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne.

In terms of pro­mot­ing the club glob­ally, land­ing a player of Ney­mar’s fame and mar­ketabil­ity would be huge, and could even make fi­nan­cial sense.

The suits on the com­mer­cial side at City would love to get their hands on him. But would Pep Guar- di­ola be equally keen? There have to be doubts.

And those doubts would have been dou­bled by the words of Unai Emery on de­part­ing PSG last week, to take up the reins at Arse­nal.

“I know when I’m the main per­son re­spon­si­ble, and when I’m not,” said Emery.

“I am of the opinion that PSG’s leader is Ney­mar. Or that he is cur­rently be­com­ing it. Ney­mar came to PSG to be the leader, to go through this process to some­day be­come the best in the world.

“At Manch­ester City, Pep is in charge. At PSG, Ney­mar has to be.”

That di­rect ref­er­ence to Guardi­ola is in­trigu­ing, es­pe­cially as Emery fol­lowed it up with this state­ment on how dif­fi­cult it is to be a coach with Lionel Messi, Cris­tiano Ron­aldo or Ney­mar in your squad: “They are the best in the world so that is a lot to take in. You have to adapt your­self to them.

“Look at Guardi­ola at City. He is lucky be­cause ●● he doesn’t have a ma­jor fig­ure like that to be faced with.

“There are big play­ers who be­come one when it re­ally mat­ters. And when it comes to tak­ing rad­i­cal de­ci­sions, Pep took them.

“For ex­am­ple, by get­ting rid of Deco, Ronald­inho, or Ibrahi­movic when the lat­ter had is­sues with Messi.

“By do­ing this, he avoided se­ri­ous prob­lems.”

Of course, Guardi­ola had to deal with Messi at Barcelona, but he be­came Barcelona coach when Messi was still a young and im­pres­sion­able player.

At City, he has built a tight-knit and demo­cratic squad in which even world-class per­form­ers like Kevin De Bruyne and Aguero have bought into the team ethos – no­body in that squad sees them­selves as out­stand­ing, other than in a team con­text.

Ney­mar to City re­mains a pipedream for now but even if the pos­si­bil­ity arose, it would take some se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion from Guardi­ola.

Would he be pre­pared to risk the harmony and equity which ex­ists among his play­ers and staff at the mo­ment?

Or would he be con­fi­dent that his strong po­si­tion at City, and his huge rep­u­ta­tion, would be enough to bring Ney­mar into line?

All things be­ing equal, you can­not see City beat­ing a path to PSG’s door – un­less Kylian Mbappe, cheaper and less trou­ble, is a vi­able op­tion.

Ney­mar in ac­tion for PSG

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