The Brazilian’s world record move to the French capital could have far-reaching implications for all stakeholders in European football.
When Manchester United re-signed Paul Pogba for a whopping €98m just over a year ago, we could have hardly guessed that the landmark sum would not only be bettered, but dwarfed in the next summer transfer window. Yet, here we are marveling at the numbers after Brazilian superstar Neymar swapped Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain, after the French giants activated his whopping €222m release clause. It was a deal often unthinkable, mostly because of the astronomical numbers involved, but now that it has happened, far beyond them, it will have major ramifications for the parties involved and the wider football community.
Neymar‘s move to PSG has been one of the most eventful transfers in modern football. This move could transform PSG’s reputation and their fortunes on the pitch, Neymar’s career and perception about Ligue 1, all in the stroke of a signature. Not to mention the fact that it’s a huge coup for the organisers of Qatar 2022 with the forward set to become the event’s main ambassador. For Barcelona too, while the money involved will act as some comfort, losing the man they saw as Lionel Messi‘s potential successor, is an inauspicious start to the reign of new manager Ernesto Valverde and another forgettable chapter in the troubled presidency of top boss Jose Maria Bartomeu.
Previously, the French giants were only able to attract superstars who were past their prime or players who only sought the money or were on the stroke of achieving greatness, but this move could change every player’s discernment of the club and of French football in general.
Barring Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar is arguably one of the best players in the world and he’s just 24. He has everything that it takes to become one of the modern greats of the game and he would want to leave a legacy of his own which he and his entourage potentially see at PSG.
Neymar’s emotional farwell to Barcelona
Ligue 1 too stands to benefit from the move. The French league has produced many greats in history but it’s never been a league which dominated world football in any era. They don’t have much to show to the world, but with Neymar’s transfer, other clubs in France would want to improve the quality of their teams to compete with PSG. Easily, this is the best thing to have happened to French football in years.
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AS Monaco won the league last season but have lost the likes of Benjamin Mendy, Bernando Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko already, which clearly means that PSG will usher back to national glory next season if there’s no major hiccup. Talking about the players at their disposal and the rumoured additions of Alexis Sanchez and Phillipe Coutinho, PSG look to be frightening and good enough to fight against anyone in Europe.
The Brazilian’s marketing value is second to none. This move makes a lot of sense in that regard too, as he will be the standout player at a big European club and will be the focal point of everything the club is intending to do. This would also see PSG’s marketing strategies change subsequently. They’ll be able to attract a greater audience, which means more fans and revenue. Also, PSG could now go toe-to-toe with any of Europe’s elite for any player in their prime and now it won’t be just about the money. The club is showing great ambition by keeping hold of the likes of Marco Verratti and Thiago Silva and now getting Neymar. This shows that the French giants are not settling for anything less than European glory.
Neymar and the people close to him are extremely smart and ambitious. Everything around him has been carefully planned since he was a teenager. In his home country, there was a prevailing belief that his idol, Robinho, will become the second greatest player in the world, obviously behind Pelè. He failed to live up to it and now every Brazilian’s belief is set on Neymar. They want to see him win the Ballon d’Or, which is taken very seriously in Brazil.
Neymar was keen to move out of Messi’s shadow
Joining Barcelona was a great move for Neymar at the time. He was already a superstar at Santos and there were great expectations of him so rather than joining Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Bayern Munich, who were very keen on him and could’ve splashed the cash, joining Barcelona made more sense as it was Messi’s team and the pressure was immediately off him.
He has spent four great years with the Catalans and has won everything there was to win. Neymar, now, has developed into a world-class player and has the chance to step out of the shadow of the Argentine and build a legacy of his own and there’s no other club that suits that better than PSG at the moment. If the Paris club surrounds him with quality, he has the potential to lead them to their first ever Champions League title. It would also make him a contender to win the most coveted individual prize, the Ballon d’Or, which he might not be able to win as long as he plays alongside Messi, cause the Argentine will likely swipe away the majority of the votes as long as they’re playing together.
It is a move that will break many Barcelona hearts, but it also highlights how incompetent the club’s board have become. The club looks highly disrupted, their transfer policy seems very shoddy and they’ve had quite a few managerial changes since the departure of Pep Guardiola. They had one of the world’s greatest talents and have not been able to satisfy his ambitions.
Neymar now has a chance to be at a club where he will be the king of the jungle and will be given the tools to fulfil his ambitions. He has a chance to be the person who will change PSG forever if everything turns out as planned. In scope, this could be as huge a move as Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Monsoor’s takeover of Chelsea and the Blue half of Manchester respectively, but what makes it potentially even bigger than those events is that this time it’s a player who could change the face of a football club.
Whoever thinks this is just about money is highly mistaken. This move is very well planned by Neymar and his entourage. They want the world to remember him for something greater than just his footballing ability and they clearly see Paris as the ideal place to do so. One thing is for sure, whether or not the Brazilian is able to justify his price tag, the fact that a club is willing to pay such huge money for a player, is certain to impact what is an already inflated football economy, thereby altering the financial landscape for other clubs and stakeholders in the business.