This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
Since West Ham United moved to London Stadium, there has been plenty of talk of the club reaching “another level” and there still is a discussion about that, as shown by Pablo Zabaleta’s comments on the official website.
This was surely seen as part of the reason that the club were leaving Upton Park and something written about by former manager Harry Redknapp in the Telegraph in 2016, so is something that has been strived towards, especially since the move.
There are perhaps signs that this could be happening, as last season saw the Hammers’ best league finish since the move, while the club have also brought in big signings such as Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson and Issa Diop.
However, one signing could have made this whole process happen quicker and long before the stadium move, the biggest example of this nearly happening is when the Hammers attempted to sign Neymar in 2010, as reported by The Daily Mail at the time.
According to the report, the Hammers tabled an official bid of £16m for the Brazilian when he was an 18-year-old at Santos.
At the time, they were the only ones to put in a hard offer, though Real Madrid and Chelsea were also said to be interested in signing him at the time.
The bid, of course, wasn’t successful, as the Brazilian club refused to take anything less than the £28.4m release clause in his contract.
In the end, £217.18m has switched hands in the deals that took him to Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain, as per Transfermarkt, while he has won a total of 13 major trophies while at the two clubs, including a Champions League, as well as winning both Ligue 1 and La Liga twice.
To add to that, in the 249 games he has played for the pair of European giants, he has scored 160 goals and assisted another 105 more.
It is pretty difficult to imagine what would have happened had the Brazilian, now 27-years-old, ended up in East London back in 2010. Still, given his stature in the game and the way Carlos Tevez blossomed in claret and blue, it’s not hard to imagine the Irons at least making an awful lot of money off of him should one of Europe’s elite come calling.
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