Neymar: Brazilian Star to Ukrainian Champs Shakhtar Donetsk?

Michael ThomasCorrespondent IIIAugust 15, 2011

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 30: Neymar and Zico in the audience during the Preliminary Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at Marina Da Gloria on July 30, 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Since you are now reading this article, I can safely assume that my headline has succeeded in grabbing your attention.

Surely you recall that throughout most of the summer, 19-year-old Brazilian star Neymar has been linked with an absurd €45 million move from boyhood club Santos to Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid.

However, the deal could head in an unexpected direction for two reasons.

Firstly, having just led Santos to their first Copa Libertadores championship in nearly 50 years, the young Brazilian international longs to reap the benefits of his rewards and play for Santos in the 2011 Club World Cup (CWC).

Harboring grandiose visions of competing against European Champions Barcelona in the CWC Final, Neymar appears ready to enhance his already impressive legacy by besting the Catalan Giants and then immediately joining their archrivals.

Secondly, while Jose Mourinho might not admit it, Real Madrid simply could not offer the youngster regular minutes.  In Real's base 4-2-3-1 formation, recent acquisition Fábio Coentrão looks poised to feature on the left wing with speedy Argentine Ángel Di María on the right side. 

Twenty-six assist man Mesut Özil will probably fill the trequartista role behind the always dangerous Cristiano Ronaldo.  Estranged playmaker Kaká and established strikers Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuaín would appear most likely to contend for appearances from the substitute's bench.

While "the Special One" could probably find a way to work the promising forward into his plans, would he really want to pay €45 million for a player who couldn't even regularly crack the starting 11?

I doubt it.

Fortunately, there is a solution that would adequately address both concerns: Santos and Neymar agree to the €45 million move to Real Madrid before Mourinho immediately ships the youngster to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk for the 2011-2012 season.

While the Brazilian international would surely be disappointed to lose the opportunity to face Barcelona in an epic showdown, he needs to be realistic.  With the Barcelona second team now featuring Cesc Fàbregas, Alexis Sánchez, Thiago Alcântar, and Ibrahim Afellay, the Catalans would overpower the South American giants even without legends Lionel Messi, Xavi or Andrés Iniesta.

An unimpressive performance in a 4-0 loss could lower the young forward's stock by exposing his frail frame and perhaps an inability to blow past more talented and technical defenders.  While he could surely still make a move to a top club, his reputation would take a hit and his potential wages would be lowered.

However, a move to the Ukrainian giants would see him join eight other top flight Brazilian players including Douglas Costa, Willian, Fernandinho, Luiz Adriano, Alex Teixeira and Jádson (if he stays).  Featuring regularly for a side which proved to be amongst Europe's best after advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2010-2011 UEFA Champions League, Neymar could adjust to the rigors of European football while still playing at an exceptionally high level.

Instead of being judged by his performance in a single contest against Barcelona, the rising star would instead be judged by his contributions to the Ukrainian side throughout the course of the season. 

With his electrifying pace and cool finishing, the influential forward could perhaps even provide the added boost to lead his side to a much anticipated Champions League rematch against the Catalan Giants.  With talented defenders Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Darijo Srna solidifying the back line behind the exceptional cast of Brazilian playmakers, Shakhtar would have a much better chance of defeating Barcelona than Santos.

From Jose Mourinho's perspective, signing the youngster during this transfer window would guarantee that the young Brazilian chooses Los Blancos instead of losing him to another top club (Chelsea) at summer's end or in January.

Furthermore, the Real Madrid boss would have an additional year to both assess his prized asset and his current squad.  After determining how he would like to utilize a more mature Neymar, he could make the appropriate transfers to both open up space in the starting 11 and recover some of the funds invested in the pricey Brazilian.

Finally integrating Neymar into the starting 11 at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Mourinho's star-studded attack would be exceptionally qualified to win trophies on every front.

While further speculation about his career would be pointless at this stage, I can only imagine that the young forward would enjoy a fantastic career with Los Merengues.