Neville says Casemiro ‘not a smart signing’ despite ‘devastating’ impact at Man Utd

Will Ford

Gary Neville believes Manchester United should avoid signing players like Casemiro in the summer as the Brazil international was “not a smart signing” despite his incredible impact on the club this season.

Casemiro has five goals and five assists for United – who might have to sell to buy this summer –  this term and has quickly emerged as a key player and leader under Erik ten Hag.

His £60m transfer from Real Madrid was questioned by many given his age, but the 31-year-old’s displays have caused the majority of doubters to change their minds.

But Neville – although convinced by Casemiro’s brilliance – still believes he wasn’t a “smart” signing, and reckons Ten Hag will target players similar to Antony and Lisandro Martinez in future, who have most of their careers ahead of them and are “hungry” for success.

“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 summer transfer plans on 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’.

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“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.”

Neville also said he “can’t believe” what Ten Hag has achieved in his short time at the club, and backed him to guide United above Arsenal in the Premier League this season.