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Money madness: Neymar, China and the Premier League

City and United are allegedly willing to spend €190 million to capture the Brazilian's signature. Chinese political moves and Premier League TV money are inflating the market.

Neymar, a very expensive footballer
Manuel Queimadelos AlonsoGetty Images

Neymar’s excellent form, the Premier League’s lucrative new television deal and the Chinese Super League’s recent aggressive showing on the market point to Gareth Bale’s record transfer being broken in the near future. The Welshman’s move to Real Madrid cost 101 million euros and remains the most expensive transfer of all time. Maybe it will happen in a few months and perhaps – further down the road – Football Leaks will pick through the details of the unprecedented fee. Yesterday The Sun sensationally declared that both Manchester clubs (neither of which are in the hands of British owners) are willing and able to cough up the 190 million euro buyout clause to sign Neymar. Whichever club manages to land the Brazilian, they will do so having paid twice what Barcelona spent on bringing him to the Camp Nou.

The Sun claims that the Red Devils and Sky Blues are ready to offer the former Santos forward a 62 million euro salary, an expense that dwarfs the total spends of 13 Spanish top flight clubs last season. United see the South American as the perfect figure to promote their well-constructed global brand, which pulls in one billion euros per annum, according to Brand Finance Football 50. Allegedly City want to fork out on the Barca forward on the request of Pep Guardiola, who showed an interest in the player back when he was setting the world alight in his homeland.

English football’s financial muscle has been in evidence over the last few transfer windows. The Premier League spent 1.074 billion euros last summer, a sum that included the most expensive signing of the preseason (Kevin De Bruyne’s move from Wolfsburg to Manchester City for 74 million euros), and further 251 million over before the latest window slammed shut. In comparison, a paltry 27 million euros were spent by La Liga clubs.

Meanwhile, over 300 million euros has been spent to lure talent over to the Land of the Rising Sun before the Chinese Super League kicks off in March. With large companies in the Asian country investing heavily in this new sporting venture, the old guard of European football should start to take note. For Arsene Wenger, Arsenal’s long-standing manager, the writing is on the wall: “I am sure that soon the €130 million target will be easy to reach”.


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