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17th May 2022

Gary Neville reveals Man United ignored advice to sign Joao Cancelo

Callum Boyle

Gary Neville Joao Cancelo

What could have been

Gary Neville has revealed that Manchester United ignored his advice to sign former Valencia and current Manchester City defender, João Cancelo.

Neville managed Cancelo at Valencia

Gary Neville Joao Cancelo

Neville managed the Portugal international during his short spell in charge at the La Liga side and recognised talent when he saw it. Having seen Cancelo’s talent first hand, he urged his former club to make a move for the player.

It was during the time when Louis van Gaal was manager of the Red Devils in the period between 2014-2016.

However, his recommendation fell on deaf ears as United ignored his advice and Cancelo instead moved to Juventus before later joining Man City.

During a recent Instagram live, Neville gave the 27-year-old significant praise and explained what makes him such a joy to watch.

“He’s unbelievable, he’s brilliant,” he said.

“I think Cancelo is a brilliant full-back. I never had any doubts when I was at Valencia for those four months that he was going to be a top player.

“I literally told United about him. I said, ‘Honestly this boy is someone special you’ve got to look at getting him.’

“And then he went to Juventus to be fair, [Valencia] sold him for £40million to Juventus, and then obviously City bought him for £60m. He went to Inter Milan [on loan] as well.

“He had two big moves, he’s got massive experience now, he’s got great courage on the ball, left and right foot, brilliant player.”

Gary Neville Joao Cancelo

‘You could imagine to which club I’m talking about’

However the former United defender admitted that he was disappointed that his words of advice were not taken on board by the United hierarchy in an interview that took place last year.

“I had him as a very young player at Valencia but you could just see he was an exceptional talent,” he said.

“I made calls back to England, you could imagine to which club I’m talking about, [saying], ‘If you’d ever take a young player, he’s one you’d take’.”

Given the impact Cancelo has had at the Etihad Stadium you can imagine this is a classic case of the defender being one of those that got away.

But this is Manchester United Football Club we’re talking about, so not taking on board sensible transfer advice isn’t exactly an irregular occurrence.

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