Paris Saint-Germain is poised to trigger Neymar’s contract release clause from Barcelona at a cost of over $250M.
If it happens, it will be one of the most audacious transfers in the history and it could materialize this week.
A number of sources a reporting that personal terms have been agreed between the player and the French club and all that remains are to apply signatures to a 5-year contract and for the player to pass a medical examination.
The move would shatter the current world transfer record of $120M set last summer by Manchester United when Paul Pogba moved from Juventus.
Neymar did not return with his present Barcelona team mates but is in China making promotional appearances. From China, Neymar is likely to travel to Qatar and then on to Paris for a grand unveiling.
The transfer now seems so certain to go through that the domino effect of the move is being widely debated.
With a quarter of a billion dollars in the kitty and $15M in salary freed up upon Neymar’s departure, Barcelona is expected to move aggressively to sign new players.
A direct replacement for the effervescent Neymar is not possible but there are other holes that the Spanish team might fill.
Ironically, it may have been Barcelona’s pursuit of PSG midfielder Marco Verratti that set off a counter raid by PSG for one of Barca’s crown jewels.
Barcelona’s primary sights are now set on another Brazilian – Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool. The 25-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move to the Spanish club for some months now. The only good news for Liverpool is that the transfer fee is likely to be jacked on account of the Neymar windfall.
A fee in excess of $100M seems about right given the current market for top class talent. A little over four years ago Liverpool paid Inter Milan $11M for the then mercurial talent.
Should Barcelona fail in a bid to sign Coutinho, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil might be viewed as a cut price option. Ozil has a year left on his contract although his present club insists that he will be staying at the Emirates Stadium for the 2017/18 season no matter what.
If Barcelona looks to sign an emerging goal scoring talent Ousmane Dembélé might fit the bill. A year ago Borussia Dortmund signed the 20-year old from Rennes in France. A return of six goals in 32 appearances reinforces the notion that Dembélé has some way to go before he can be considered the finished article.
Paulo Dybala signed for Juventus from Palermo two years ago for $45M. His clinical finishing brought a return of 30 goals in 65 games for the Turin-based team.
Then, of course, Barcelona might be tempted to play spoiler and undermine Real Madrid’s move to sign Monaco teenager Kylian Mbappé. Before PSG moved for Neymar a move by Mbappé to Real Madrid was the hottest transfer topic.
Source: Bobby McMahon| Forbes