Tuesday 21 November 2017

Meet the man who dreamed up PSG's €222m Neymar move...and why the deal could change football forever

Neymar is one of the most marketable brands in world sport
Neymar is one of the most marketable brands in world sport
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Neymar's €222m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain may be confirmed imminently - and the ripple effect of the mind-blowing deal is certain to transform the game for decades to come.

In a summer that has seen £50m set as the new standard fee for a full-back who has barely won a single trophy in his career, big business has now finally overpowered football logic as the biggest spending clubs have redefined how they justify a £100m investment in a single player.

Yet when the Neymar story first broke on some less than reliable Twitter accounts earlier this month, even the most salacious of transfer rumour consumers suspected this was a fantasy too far.

Remarkably, this tale appears to be edging towards the unveiling of the Brazilian in Paris in the coming days, as a deal worth up to £1billion in fees, wages and taxes over the course of the contract is close to being finalised.

Here is your Independent.ie guide to how Neymar’s transfer makes perfect commercial sense for PSG in a world where sport has become a sideshow to a much bigger picture.

THE MAKINGS OF NEYMAR’S MEGA-MOVE

From a purely sporting perspective, Neymar is not worth the money they are willing to pay to lure him away from Barcelona, but this deal has to many more elements attached.

Barcelona footballer Neymar. Photo: Reuters
Barcelona footballer Neymar. Photo: Reuters

PSG have been eager to make a statement signing for the last five years and after failed attempts to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in recent years, they were given encouragement that Neymar was ready to move to the French capital after initial talks with his agent earlier this year.

Safe in the knowledge that Barcelona would not consider a sale unless Neymar’s €222m release clause was paid, PSG chiefs set about a process of evaluating whether a deal would comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.

Their conclusion was that Neymar’s arrival would, in fact, bolster their financial position on the global sporting stage and now they are pushing forward with the transfer of the century.

HOW NEYMAR’S MOVE COULD PRODUCE A PROFIT FOR PSG

PSG’s eagerness to be taken seriously as a major player in the world game will always be hampered by their location, with the French league lacking the gravitas of England, Spain, Germany or Italy’s top leagues.

So PSG chiefs were determined to dream up a transfer coup that would be based as much on business ideals as sporting sensibility, with Neymar quickly emerging as their chief transfer target once Antero Henrique replaced Patrick Kluivert as the club’s Sporting Director last month.

It was Henrique who presented a draft proposal outlining the revenue that could be generated by Neymar’s signing, with the huge commercial opportunities in South America, his vast social media following of close to 170 million people around the world also viewed as a huge potential revenue stream.

PSG will renegotiate their shirt deal with Nike if Neymar arrives, with the huge opportunity to branch into the Brazilian market likely to seal a deal that will cover the fee being paid to Barcelona, with that deal likely to be the start of a windfall to cover the transfer.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR NEYMAR

In essence, PSG are buying Neymar to be the sporting and commercial face of their brand for the next decade.

At the age of 25, the wonderkid who cost Barcelona £48m when they signed him in the summer of 2013 has enhanced his own global brand in his time playing alongside Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.

Nike, Gillette, Panasonic and Beats by Dre are just some of the commercial giants associated with Neymar, with his huge signing on fee and wages if he moves to PSG certain to propel him into the top five richest sportsmen in the world.

His desire to win FIFA Ballon d’Or has been mentioned as one reason why he wants to join PSG, with his eagerness to move out of Messi’s shadow and become the leader of a club one reason why he is keen to move to Paris.

From a sporting perspective, leaving Barcelona for PSG would be a backwards step for Neymar, but this deal is simply too big for all involved to walk away from.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE GAME

Manchester United’s decision to break the world transfer record any pay £89m to sign Paul Pogba last summer was ridiculed by many observers, yet United’s chiefs believe their investment in the French midfielder has already paid off.

Manchester United viewed Pogba as a marketing asset as well as a midfielder when they paid £89m to sign him last summer
Manchester United viewed Pogba as a marketing asset as well as a midfielder when they paid £89m to sign him last summer

Adidas received the majority of the cash generated by shirt sales following Pogba’s arrival at United, yet their contentment at the success of their relationship with the Old Trafford giants will enhance the believe they will renew and potentially enhance the massive £750m deal they signed with United when the contract expires.

Pogba has also proved to be a huge social media hit for United as they look to promote their sponsors, with his moderate success on the field only a small part of what is considered to have been a successful transaction.

United considered same deal PSG are in talks to finalise for Neymar last summer, yet the Old Trafford giants are not in the game of trying to build their already potent brand around the world.

PSG are at a different stage of their development, with Neymar viewed as the revolutionary to take them to the next level quickly.

HOW WILL IT AFFECT ENGLAND'S PREMIER LEAGUE

Initially, Barcelona are likely to respond to Neymar’s exit with a transfer spurge of their own, with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Tottenham’s Dele Alli all mentioned as possible potential targets.

The bigger long-term picture will develop depending on the success of the Neymar transfer and if PSG make a success of such a huge investment, it may inspire England’s top clubs to revise their stance on transfer trading.

Philippe Coutinho is wanted by Barcelona. Photo: PA
Philippe Coutinho is wanted by Barcelona. Photo: PA

Premier League clubs are in a far better position to cash in on advertising revenue from all corners of the globe compared to a French rival, with the drive to generate revenue from different areas likely to see clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea sanction deals in excess of £100m on a regular basis for marquee names.

The value of a club is now judged not by their success on the field, but more on balance sheets and personnel that shape their image and even if their fans don't like this new era of football opulence, it is here to stay.

Times have changed...and there is no going back.

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