Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain: How the transfer affects football in Europe
Neymar’s proposed world record transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain is likely to have major ramifications for football in EuropeUpdated: Aug 03, 2017, 23:53 IST
It was almost a year ago when Manchester United broke the world record for the biggest player transfer in club football, with the signing of French midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus for a fee of 105 million euros.
The fee paid for Pogba had dwarfed every other transfer in history.
However, in just around a year’s time, the transfer record is set to be broken again with Brazilian forward Neymar about to complete a move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a colossal figure of 222 million euros.
It is a figure that is unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon, unless either of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo go looking for new employers.
Neymar’s move to PSG is likely to have ramifications at three levels – financial, political and footballing.
Rise in inflation in the transfer market?
The most talked about aspect of Neymar’s transfer will undoubtedly be the fee paid for him to Barcelona. The overall cost of the transfer will, however, be much higher than the 222 million euros that will go towards the player’s release clause.
As per some of the estimates, Neymar will be signing a five-year contract which will earn him an after-tax salary of 575,000 euros per week. Bonuses and wages will take the total cost of the deal to around 500 million euros over five years.
A deal of such proportion is likely to have major repercussions on the transfer market. A transfer worth over 200 million euros may beef up player prices in a market that has witnessed high inflation in recent times.
This will put a number of clubs, including Barcelona, who will be looking to replace Neymar with someone like Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool, at a major disadvantage.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho summed up the clubs’ dilemma during a press conference on Wednesday.
“I think he’s expensive in the fact that now you are going to have more players at 100 million pounds, you are going have more players at 80 million and more players at 60 million. And I think that’s the problem,” he said.
For PSG, who will benefit from a greater global interest upon the arrival of Neymar, recouping money from the transfer fee will not be an easy task, increased shirt sales or higher TV and Champions League revenue notwithstanding.
The club may also have to sell players, more to balance their accounts than to keep up with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, which have been bypassed by clubs over the years using a number of loopholes.
Qatar’s display of riches
Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSi), a wing Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, had bought PSG in 2012. Over the last five years, the owners have brought in a number of high-profile names to the club, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham, the latter on a short-term deal.
However, the acquisition of Neymar will undoubtedly trump all other signings in the club’s history. Given the current embargo on Qatar by four gulf countries, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, Neymar’s signing bears even greater significance.
With the country’s economy taking a hit following the diplomatic crisis, Neymar’s signing is being seen in many circles as Qatar flexing its financial and political muscles.
Having termed the boycott by its neigbours as ‘an illegal siege’, Doha will perhaps not mind spending half a million euros on one of the biggest names in football and display its global financial clout to other gulf countries.
The transfer will also come as a welcome boost for the French Ligue 1, which has struggled to establish itself as a global brand despite getting big names in recent years.
Neymar’s quest for supremacy
The transfer will alter the footballing dynamics not just at PSG but also at other clubs.
Many see Neymar’s move from Barcelona to PSG as a step backward. The Brazilian thrived in a front-three partnership at the Catalan club, alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, scoring 105 goals in 186 appearances over the course of four seasons.
However, given his own stature, it is plausible that Neymar may see the transfer as a way of stepping out of Messi’s shadow and cementing his own brand as a global football icon.
At PSG, Neymar will undoubtedly be the club’s biggest star. The transfer will embolden PSG’s quest for a Champions League title, while the player will hope that success in Europe will propel him to the Ballon d’Or honour. Having lost the league title to Monaco last season, the onus will be on PSG to wrest back the championship.
It will be interesting to see how manager Unai Emery uses Neymar in the coming season. PSG usually play with a lone forward, and it is unlikely that Edinson Cavani, who scored 49 goals last season, will be moved away from that role.
With Emery favouring the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 formations, Neymar’s likely place in the team will be on the left flank or in a central role behind Cavani. The Brazilian has been most effective for Barcelona wide on the left and has also been impressive for Brazil playing behind the striker.
With Angel di Maria, Julian Draxler and Javier Pastore in the squad, Emery will be forced to drop or offload one of the three to make way for the Brazilian.
Neymar’s move may also cause a domino effect in the European market, with Barcelona, already aiming to counter the dominance of arch-rivals Real Madrid, almost certain to reinvest the Neymar fee on a big-name replacement like Coutinho.