With Neymar’s £198m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain reportedly edging closer, Arsene Wenger had his say on what will be the biggest transfer in football history.
Wenger believes that Neymar’s reported £198m transfer fee means that money in football has now moved beyond rationality, even comparing the figures being thrown around these days to the NBA.
“It’s a consequence of ownership. It has changed the whole landscape of football over the last fifteen years,” Wenger said, reports the Daily Mail.
“Once countries own football clubs everything is possible and it has become very difficult to respect Financial Fair Play.
“This is why I always pleaded for football to live within its means.
“The numbers are now comparable to the NBA basketball. They are out of context with society. It is beyond rationality.”
At the time of writing, Neymar’s move to Ligue 1 is yet to go through, which means that Paul Pogba’s transfer from Juventus to Manchester United for £89m last year is still the world record. However, £198m completely smashes that – it’s over double – which, as Wenger says, is just irrational.
To put this into perspective, Alexander Lacazette is the 27th most expensive player in the world at £52m.
Arsenal were linked with a bid of around £120m for Monaco striker, Kylian Mbappe, but I think it’s clear that although Wenger’s interest in the 18-year-old was genuine at one point, the figures being reported in the media weren’t.
On the plus side, PSG signing Neymar almost definitely means that the Ligue 1 giants have halted their interest in Alexis Sanchez, which indicates that Wenger wasn’t bluffing and that the Chilean is indeed staying for the final season of his contract.
So, where will transfer fees go from here? Can they only increase or will someone put a stop to it? Can someone put a stop to it or has money in football just taken on its own form now?
Will world class footballers end up having to stay at their existing clubs and running down their contracts because their price is being set so high that no one can afford to sign them? Or will clubs actually start to fork out upwards of £200m for one player?