It has been the biggest transfer saga of the summer in soccer, but Neymar is now officially a member of Paris Saint-Germain after the French side shattered the world transfer record by triggering the Brazilian’s buyout clause of £200 million to pry him away from Barcelona.
PSG has been on the hunt for a new superstar after the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer. The club is desperate to be successful in the Champions League, and after finishing in second place in Ligue 1 last season, it also need to retake the French crown from Monaco.
Neymar, 25, spent four seasons with Barcelona, where he ended up scoring 105 goals in 186 appearances in all competitions. Although he is one of the most well-known players in the world, he was playing third fiddle at Barcelona behind megastar Lionel Messi and goalscorer extraordinaire (and occasional biter) Luis Suarez.
The Brazilian forward will become an even richer man, as his five-year contract with the French giants will earn him a reported salary of £515,000 per week. He will also be the undisputed star on the team. The money has surely played a big part in this transfer, as he leaves one of the best and most successful clubs in the world for a team that is a clear step down. At his unveiling on Friday, Neymar said that the move from Spain to France wasn’t motivated by money.
“What I say to these people is they don’t know anything about my personal life,” Neymar said. “I was never motivated by money.
“If I was following the money, I would be somewhere else, with other clubs in other countries. I’m really sad that people still think that way and I’m glad that PSG believe in me.”
He also rejected the claim that it had anything to do with his status at Barcelona, where he would always be in the shadow of Messi.
“I wanted to come to Paris and it was only linked to finding a new challenge,” Neymar said. “It is not because I was not the star at Barcelona, I fitted in very well there.
“This is not what I am looking for here. PSG deserve trophies, and I will have new trophies. This is what motivates me; I want to dream bigger.”
Since Oryx Qatar Sports Investments became the owner of PSG back in 2011, the club has won four league titles, three Coupe de France trophies and four Coupe de la Ligue trophies. But the lack of success in the Champions League has been a big thorn in the side for the Qatari owners. With Neymar on board, they will look to change that in the very near future.
Neymar’s transfer was more than double that of Paul Pogba, who became the world’s most expensive signing last summer when he left Juventus for Manchester United for £89 million. It could end up causing another spike in transfer fees, and surely any club that Barcelona will contact about finding a replacement player for Neymar will try to milk the Catalans for as much as they possibly can. With some leagues requiring buyout clauses in player contracts, La Liga being one of them, it could also cause a raise in the amount of the buyout clauses, even for players who aren’t of the same pedigree as Neymar.
The Brazilian star will have a huge amount of pressure on him to take PSG to a new level, and it’s now up to him to deliver and show that he’s worth the price.