While we’ve already seen quite a few big-money transfers being made this summer, the last two days have taken this offseason to a whole new level: One rumor suggesting Paris Saint-Germain will sign Neymar for €222 million from Barcelona, and another alluding to Real Madrid paying €180 million to Monaco for Kylian Mbappe.
So far, these are only rumors. Mbappe has been linked to a mega transfer ever since the season ended, with the 18-year old French striker helping his club to the Ligue 1 title. He’ll only be 19 in December, but he is on the verge of becoming the most expensive player in the history of the sport. He has 40 league matches and 16 goals under his belt. According to Marca, he’s a Madridista pretty soon. Monaco have so far denied that a deal has been struck.
The Neymar saga is a bit more complicated, because of his father and the rumors suggesting he struck a deal with PSG that will put over €40 million in his pockets. Because of it being Barcelona, not a club in the habit of selling its biggest stars to a major European rival.
But maybe Neymar does want to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow, and in the meantime make more money. Maybe suggestions about Marco Verratti, a long-time Barcelona target, making his way to Spain aren’t pure fantasy. Maybe PSG selling someone else, like Blaise Matuidi to Juventus, is a way for them to prepare for the landing of Neymar.
And the connections to the Brazilian star don’t end there. Some media outlets are reporting that Neymar is asking PSG for certain signings to join him. One of them is Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho is being chased by Barcelona, who have spent quite a few millions over the years on Liverpool players, including their most expensive signing ever, Luis Suarez. Liverpool, according to reports in England, want €100 million for Coutinho, and are negotiating a deal in London right now.
AC Milan are trying to buy their way back into relevance in both Italy and Europe by spending record breaking sums this summer. Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea seem to be involved in their usual arms race, with Jose Mourinho obviously trying to make it seem like is the one doing the right thing, the just thing while everyone else is ruining football.
It’s been a summer of big deals, while the big money in China, which can’t always be trusted, is another factor that is changing the rules and raising the stakes. 30 million is the new 10 million; 60 million is the new 20, when we hear the kind of price tags being attached to players like Virgil Van Dijk and Naby Keita.
All of that is quite, shall we say, mind blowing. But Mbappe and Neymar will be the mega deals that trump all else if they do go through. Mbappe because he’s so young and obviously heading to the best club in the world today. Neymar because of the effect it will have on the La Liga, the prestige boost it will give PSG, and it doesn’t hurt being the biggest football star Brazil has to offer right now when you’re looking to make an impact.