Neymar could have created history by becoming the most expensive player in terms of total transfer fees if he had completed a return to Barcelona, but the much talked about saga ended in a disappointment. Neymar has ended up staying at Paris St Germain, where he can expect some incredible animosity at least for the next few months, while Barcelona will switch their attention towards getting the best out of Antoine Griezmann.
The feelings of discontent within Neymar’s camp was becoming apparent throughout the 2018-19 campaign, but it was a huge surprise that Barcelona were seriously involved in discussions with PSG to sign the player. Now that the transfer has broken down, La Liga president Javier Tebas expects the player to remain at PSG for a very long time. According to Sky Sports, he even expects Neymar to retire at the French club. He said:
“In view of the market, Neymar will retire at PSG unless he lowers his salary and also his PSG claims. The problem of not coming back now [to Barcelona] has to do with his own departure to PSG.
“It was an off-market transfer, it was only possible to happen with ‘traps’ to increase sponsorships. When you do it out of the market, it is impossible to sell again at this price.”
PSG blew the transfer records out of the water when Neymar was signed for a whopping €222 million in the summer of 2017. PSG boffins decided to do away with any transfer negotiations by merely activating the release clause for the player. Even though such a move has been done on several occasions in the past, the magnitude of the transfer fee shocked the globe and the effects are being felt even today with transfer fees of even mediocre players going up north.
The whole transfer negotiation lasted just three weeks back in 2017 and it was predominantly with the player. The deal, however, caused multiple complications for PSG in terms of complying with Financial Fair Play regulations, which has already been a problem for the club due to the massive influx of money from the rich Middle Eastern owners. Les Parisiens had to pay the full money up front in order to make the transfer work, as they were activating the release clause.
Ironically, PSG’s decision to go all-in for Neymar seems to be a major factor behind the inability to come to terms with Barcelona.
Barcelona were not in a position to hand out all the transfer funds in one go. The signing of Antoine Griezmann for more than £100 million further created problems. This led to the Catalan club primarily being interested in taking Neymar on a loan deal, which would have cost the club £30 million, with a view of making the move permanent next summer for £150 million. The funds coming in patches did not help PSG, who had to match up the figures.
All parties involved started realising only as the transfer deadline day neared that Barcelona simply did not have the funds required to pull off such a massive contract. The situation turned desperate so much so that Neymar even offered a €20 million fee from his own pocket to make the deal possible.
The harsh reality is that Neymar, who is making €30 million net, has to consider a significant drop in wages to have any possibility of moving from PSG, who also may have to take a significant loss. Both seem unlikely at this point and Neymar may end up at the Parc des Princes for a while.