Casemiro joined Manchester United last summer and has played a major part in their relative success this season.
Gary Neville explained why he chose Casemiro as his signing of the season in the Premier League, saying Manchester United would not have been anywhere near the top four without him.
Casemiro arrived from Real Madrid in a deal worth up to £70million last summer, penning a four-year deal. The 31-year-old was by no means Erik ten Hag’s first choice midfield option – he spent all summer trying to sign Frenkie De Jong – and his arrival drew some criticism as a perceived continuation of the club’s recent short-termism.
However, his elite mentality and leadership has dragged United forward throughout a brilliant season. Ten Hag’s side brought a trophy to Old Trafford for the first time in six years when they won the Carabao Cup in February, and are just a point away from securing Champions League football for next season.
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“I couldn’t pick Haaland [due to naming him as the player of the season], I think he’s had the biggest impact on his team,” Neville told Sky Sports. “I couldn’t think of a player having as big an impact on his team singularly and I look at Manchester United’s season, obviously they think they’re going to finish in the top four if they finish the job this week, they’ve won the Carabao Cup and they’re in the FA Cup final.
“I genuinely don’t think they’d be anywhere near top four or doing what they’re doing in those competitions if it wasn’t for Casemiro. The impact he’s had on that team, he makes them 20-30 per cent better. This is a signing for now, I have doubts about him on a five-year deal and the expense of it, I’ve still got those doubts and I should mention that, but in terms of when he’s not playing and when he’s playing, the jump in Manchester United’s quality of performance is enormous.
“I don’t think there’s any signing that has had as big an impact on a team as he has, because none of us had Manchester United in the top four after those first few weeks – who’d have thought they could end up winning two cup competitions and finish in the top four? That is an unbelievable season and he’s a big part of that. He brought experience into the dressing room and he’s done a good job.”
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