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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Neymar Reshaped the Transfer Window


Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, also known as Neymar, when he played for FC Barcelona.

In 2016, Paul Pogba’s record-breaking salary, when he transferred to Manchester United, surpassed the previous mark by $5 million at $116 million. It was that same season when Barcelona’s Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior disregarded interest from other teams and signed a new deal with Barcelona.

The Catalan team used Neymar Jr.’s new contract to rise the buyout clause to $236 million. So, if someone wanted to grab Neymar Jr. away from Barcelona, they would have to spend twice the current cost of the most expensive player.

These astronomical fees are set so that no team dares approving valuable players with buyout ideas, but Paris St. Germain FC (PSG) simply looked at Neymar Jr. Jr.’s price tag as a goal that could be targeted. Through their Qatari funding, they met Neymar Jr.’s transfer buyout and purchased the player at an historically high asking price. The transfers market was suddenly in shambles, with players being purchased at ridiculous fees, but no team was in more disarray than Barcelona.

Barca had surprisingly lost one of their talisman and a crucial piece to the team’s success. The team needed a replacement—and fast—but when they inquired about the availability of players, they received insane evaluations. Nonetheless, the team chanced Liverpool’s Coutinho and had three offers rejected, with the highest being $160 million. They eventually bought Dortmund’s Dembele for $123 million and Guangzhou Evergrande’s Paulino for $47 million. This summer ended with a transfer window that broke the previous highest transfer fee twice. So it leaves us wondering what will be in store when the window opens up again in January.

As far as rumors go, it is believed that Barcelona will return for Coutinho, and with the bar set at $160 million, I don’t see Liverpool settling for anything less than something in that range. Arsenal is set to pay $120 million for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, and will let Alexis Sanchez go to Manchester City for a reported $80 million. Diego Costa will return to Atletico Madrid after the team agreed to pay Chelsea $78 million in January.

Neymar Jr.’s transfer is proof that no transfer fee in unreachable, so many teams have created truly unattainable fees to pray away suitors for priced players.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are priced at over $1 billion. Madrid also values Gareth Bale and Luka at over $500 million. Other big clubs, like Barcelona, have high transfer fees for players like Messi at over $300 million. It is unlikely that any team will come near these price tags, but the winter transfer window will likely see some big spending.

Neymar Jr.’s transfer redesigned how big money buyouts are met, and teams with wealthy owners will try to replicate PSG’s handling on the process to avoid getting penalize with Financial Fair Play. Financial Fair Play is the European Football Association’s way of ensuring that teams only spending as much money as they generate.

For example, let’s say Chelsea made $800 million last year through promotions, prize winning, and selling merchandise and players. That means that their total expenses cannot exceed $800 million. Even though Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, has a net worth of over $9 billion, his team cannot surpass the $800 million mark. So, Chelsea would not be able to buy Ronaldo in this scenario. In the case of PSG, they had only made about $222 million by August of this past summer, so they did not have the money in hand to outright pay Neymar Jr.’s fees. Instead, Neymar Jr. was paid $267 million by a Qatari company for a single promotional event, and with this money, Neymar Jr. bought himself out of his own contract. It is likely that this promotional company is linked to the Qatari owners of PSG, and that they used the company to mask the fact they were using their own money to purchase Neymar Jr..

This may be a loophole in the regulations, since as ridiculous as it may be, Neymar Jr. technically earned that money and voided his own contracts so that PSG could sign him for free.

It is not clear whether or not PSG will come out of the review investigation without any sanctions, but if something was wrong with their purchase of Neymar Jr., they would have been flagged by now. It may seem like obvious misconduct by the team, but they may get away with minimal penalties.