When the Neymar to PSG mutterings first came about, many people were quick to brush it off as a mischievous transfer rumour. As the days rolled on and the rumour started to gain come credibility, the football world started waking up to the possibility that Neymar could actually switch to Paris.
Barcelona’s pre season fixtures in the United States proved to be the side show, as people were more interested in the future of Neymar. The Brazilian’s magical displays, including an exceptional solo goal against Juventus, just served to hype up the most talked about man in football at that moment.
A couple of weeks later, it became official.
Neymar moved to PSG in a move that would cost 222 million euros, almost doubling the previous world record. Barcelona lost their heir to Messi, while PSG had just captured one of the biggest names in world football.
There were many football purists that were scandalized by the transfer. “How could Neymar leave Barcelona?” ” The Ligue 1 is a huge step down in quality from the Spanish league” “He is going to waste his career.” “No one is worth 222 million.”
So why did he move then?
The official line is that Neymar wanted a fresh challenge. He felt that it was time for him to step out of Messi’s shadow and start his ascent to football’s zenith. He believed in PSG’s project, and wanted to be a part of an exciting chapter in their history.
In my personal opinion, I think PSG have completed the transfer coup of the century.
From a footballing perspective, is PSG inferior to Barcelona? I don’t think so. In terms of history, tradition and trophies, yes it certainly is. But what about in 2017? The PSG side that faced Barcelona in the Champions league last season, was a well drilled team packed with high quality players.
Ironically, had it not been for Neymar himself, PSG would have knocked Barcelona out of the competition. The Brazilian was unplayable in the final quarter of the second leg, and was the chief protagonist behind Barcelona’s epic comeback.
And now PSG have bought Neymar.
From a commercial perspective, Neymar is fast becoming the most marketable football player on the planet. He is the face of Nike, Gillette, Panasonic and Beats by Dre, and is the only footballer till date to have custom made Air Jordans.
He had the sixth most shirt sales last season, which will drastically improve this season for PSG. The club have already sold 10,000 Neymar shirts on the first day! Brand Neymar has grown over the last few months, as he has slowly started entering the world of American pop culture.
His cover photo shoots for GQ, appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and social media posts with Rihanna and Lewis Hamiltan have gained him entry in to the stratosphere of the most vibrant audience in the world.
From PSG’s perspective, Neymar’s value far exceeds his transfer fees. The arrival of a genuine global superstar has given them the sort of visibility that they have been craving for. Neymar is the darling of Brazilian football, which is why now everyone in the football crazy country will suddenly come to accept PSG as a footballing power.
Of course, for the move to really work, Neymar has to do the business on the pitch. This PSG team will start as overwhelming favourites for the Ligue 1, while they will also be a force to reckon with in Champions league.
If their new number ten can inspire them to European glory, he will surely write his name in the club’s history as well as increase his chances at winning the Ballon d’Or.
For Neymar himself, the move to PSG is unlikely to be his final destination in Europe. At 25, Neymar has not yet entered his prime, which is why this looks like a stop over before his next big move, which should become the biggest in his career.
Manchester United maybe?