How Neymar Will Bring P.S.G. Into the Small Group that is Europe’s Elite
By Willie Keeler
For my 10 or so years of being a soccer fan there have been 3 dominant powers of European football. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona. Manchester United and Juventus certainly deserve to be in the conversation but the post Sir Alex era in Manchester has been a headache to say the least, and Juventus has now asserted dominance of Italy, but they’re still looking for that European Championship. One team will now join Man U and Juve in that “just under dominant” conversation.
Paris Saint Germain, better known to the world of football as P.S.G., completed the most expensive transfer in the history of football, capturing 25-year-old Brazilian sensation Neymar Jr. From Barcelona for 222 million euros (in U.S.D. Approximately 261 million). The transfer came as a shock to most, as Neymar appeared to be the heir to the throne of 5 time ballon d’or winner Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and because of the price tag, which more than doubles the previous record holder for most expensive transfer ever, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, of approximately $116 million. The $261 million release clause Barcelona put in Neymar’s contract that has been payed by P.S.G. will be debated for time to come. Was it too much? Was it maybe even too little? For me, I take the side that the young Brazilian should be worth even more.
Take this into consideration. according to Total Sportek.com in 2016 Manchester United topped jersey sales selling just under 3 million, with P.S.G. coming in ninth with 685 thousand jerseys sold. With prices of jerseys being around $100, and with Neymar likely to take P.S.G. to the top of the list, P.S.G. could pay the $261 release clause Barcelona stamped on Neymar in most likely just one to two years of jersey sales.
P.S.G. have conquered France, and Neymar will now be able to take them into the battle of conquering Europe. Going into last season P.S.G. had won 4 straight top division titles in France, behind the Swedish all timer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but came in second last year after the amazing campaign of the young guns of Monaco, led by an 18 year old, Kylian Mbappe, who could break Neymar’s transfer record this summer. P.S.G. also looked like they were well into the quarter finals of the European Champions League last year after a first leg aggregate defeat of Barcelona 4-0, but were stunned in Barcelona after a 6-1 defeat in the second leg at the hands of a dominant performance by, ironically enough, Neymar. After two disappointing competitions without Ibrahimovic in 2017, P.S.G. knew they needed to do something to bring them back to being the kings of France, but getting Neymar was so much more than that.
Another thing to now consider for P.S.G. is the Brazilian connection they’ve had for the past few years, that has almost doubled in size this summer. There are now 5 Brazilians in the starting 11 for P.S.G., and all have seen time on the Brazilian national team. Neymar joins the likes of Lucas Moura, Thiago Silva, and Marquinhos, as well as fellow summer signing and former Barça teammate Dani Alves. P.S.G. has now become the destination in Europe for a top Brazilian footballer to join. There have been rumors that Liverpool’s Coutinho, who is Brazilian, is also a target of P.S.G.’s this summer. Coutinho is Another world class talent out of the only 5 time World Cup winning country that could keep pushing the rock that is P.S.G. to the top of the mountain. If he were to move to Paris this summer who would blame him? He would get to join 5 other Brazilian national team members and strengthen chemistry ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Other world class talents from Brazil that P.S.G. could look into making a move for include the Real Madrid left back Marcelo, or any of the other handful of top talent left backs that come from Brazil, as well as the strong and smart teammate of Marcelo’s, Casemiro, and young Roma goalkeeper Alisson.
Not only will Neymar attract Brazilians, but he should also be able to attract world class talent around him from all over, as Neymar is a player teammates want to be around. Messi bid farewell to his teammate of 4 years with “lots of love” on Instagram, and other teammates, like fellow attacker Luis Saurez, joined in with farewell Instagram posts. P.S.G. now has a franchise player who will draw people players in, as Ibrahimovic almost sent Edinson Cavani packing, as it was made clear Cavani didn’t want to play on Ibra’s left and wanted to be in the center, and last year without Ibra there was a lack of identity for P.S.G. Who was the franchise player? Cavani, Di Maria, young and upcoming Italian Marco Verrati, Blaise Matuidi? P.S.G. now has their answer.
Neymar will surely see success in Paris if he stays for his 5-year contract, but don’t be surprised if its success not just in France. P.S.G. will be an exciting side to watch for time to come and also don’t be surprised if they’re not done spending on players this summer, to put them into the conversation of dominance in Europe right now.