The odds on Wayne Rooney moving to Barcelona this summer have tumbled after Neymar urged the Manchester United striker to spurn the advances of Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid and join him at the Nou Camp.
Rooney is set for showdown talks with new United boss David Moyes this week as he ponders whether to remain at Old Trafford or seek a fresh challenge after almost nine years with the club.
Arsenal and Chelsea have long been linked with a move for the England striker, but now Barca new boy Neymar – a recent £49 million signing from Santos – has revealed that he would love to line up alongside him next term.
“Wayne is one of the most gifted and technical players in the world,” said the 21-year-old, who was on the scoresheet as Brazil thumped Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final last night.
“Of course he would improve Barcelona. He would improve any club in Europe.
“And on a personal level, it would be a dream to play with him. I have met Wayne on a few occasions and he seems a good guy but importantly, he is one of the players I admire most in the world.”
In the wake of those comments, the bwin bookmakers have slashed the price on Rooney joining Barcelona this summer to just 9/1, having made them as long as 20/1 little over a week ago.
The prospect of Neymar, Rooney and Lionel Messi all lining up in the same Barca team is certainly an intriguing one but a raft of clubs are shorter in the betting to capture the England man.
Big-spending Paris-St Germain are now 7/2 favourites to sign him in the current transfer window after seeing their odds cut from 6/1 in the past few days.
Arsenal could turn to Rooney if they fail to tie up a £25 million deal for number one striking target Gonzalo Higuain and the Gunners are a 9/2 chance to bring him to the Emirates.
Chelsea, whose boss Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his admiration for the former Everton forward, are now out at 19/4 from 7/2 to clinch what would be one of the summer’s most sensational swoops.
Real Madrid are 5/1 to sign Rooney before the window slams shut, while punters who believe Moyes will convince him to stay at Old Trafford can back him to still be a United player on September 4th at 3/5.