How Neymar’s transfer and its economics could fix football

METZ, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 08: Neymar Jr of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club or PSG in action during the Ligue 1 match between Metz and Paris Saint Germain or PSG held at Stade Saint-Symphorien on September 8, 2017 in Metz, France. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
METZ, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 08: Neymar Jr of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club or PSG in action during the Ligue 1 match between Metz and Paris Saint Germain or PSG held at Stade Saint-Symphorien on September 8, 2017 in Metz, France. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images) /

Neymar’s transfer to PSG from Barcelona shook the world of football.  It’s possible however that it changed it for the better.

When Brazilian superstar and tattoo connoisseur Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior or to everybody else in the world simply, Neymar, moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain the world shook. Not literally, those of you living along fault lines can relax, but in a more figurative sense.

I personally was in Paris at the time and even those who don’t watch or understand the largesse of the beautiful game were discussing it. My father even texted to ask about it. How could one single player be worth an investment rumored to be “£450m in fees and wages”? (The Guardian).

Now I’m sure in time to come readers we will touch upon the other issues at play here like soft power influence, economic boundary shifting and of course as always and as is only possible with football, global political maneuvering.

However, in this article we’ll talk about the positives and how maybe, just maybe transfers like that of Neymar (who is a lot more worth the money than other examples to be discussed later) could just possibly save youth football and academy set-ups throughout Europe.

The Neymar example is of course extreme but it’s symptomatic of a larger issue. Inflation. Since the first transfer over 100 pounds for “Scottish striker Willie Groves when he together with Jack Reynolds made the switch from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa in 1893”  to Neymar the world record transfer fee has risen 20,000% in the space of 124 years or roughly 161.29% per year. Now though I’m sure many of you have a far greater understanding of economics than my purely rudimentary one but that level of inflation simply doesn’t seem sustainable. It isn’t.

Moderate and average players are starting to be bought for more money than Zinedine Zidane. That simply doesn’t make sense.  At some point there will be a reckoning between footballing ability and economics and we are coming close to that time.  Eventually players who are not good enough to make a legitimate win vs loss difference for their sides will be too expensive and thus not worth it to buy.

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When Zidane transferred from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001 it was for  £45.6 million according to the Daily Telegraph. Kyle Walker just moved to Manchester City for £50 million. Now we’ve already explained inflation and acknowledge that it is entirely unavoidable that said simple football knowledge does at some point play in.

If a person were to suggest that Kyle Walker even be allowed to dine at the same restaurant as Zinedine Zidane from a footballing perspective that person is either blind, mad, or in the throes of some sort of drug induced psychedelic melt-down and in need of dire medical attention.

Statistically, Kyle Walker wasn’t even one of the top 4 right-backs in football last season. He loses out statistically to Daniel Carvajal of Real Madrid, Dani Alves then of Juventus now Paris Saint-Germain, Lukasz Piszczek of Borussia Dortmund and Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich in passes, interceptions and chances created according to Squawka and the Premier League.

So if he is not even elite what in God’s name are clubs doing paying more than they once did for one of Pele’s Top 100 players of all time?

This perfectly exemplifies the breaking point that I think clubs will have reached either this summer or in the soon to come transfer windows. The spending as it is on truly mediocre players is simply unsustainable. If the market will not shift first, as it often does not in a reactive market place (of which football’s is an example), then the transfer strategies of clubs will.

It is not feasible that a club will be able to build a full squad of 22-24 players if even bang average players are 50 million quid and rising. That would put the average squad price of a team at 1.1 billion pounds. Not even the most expensive squads in the world right now have cost that much according to Those clubs are Manchester City (£775m), PSG (£772m), Manchester United (£712m).

What this means then is that teams will once again begin building from their academies and youth structures. It will become too unfeasible to build a squad any other way. Eventually in time the market will re-stabilize but that won’t be for a little bit. As is the same in life the transfer market works in ebbs and flows. Right now the market is at a high and it will take a period of sustained economic conservatism on the behalf of clubs to return it to normal. Teams will eventually re-enter the market but at that point it will again be to season their squads with purchases instead of base them in transfers.

Of course this will all take some time but the only logical conclusion then is that before the transfer market has gone full circle again to the extreme there will be a sustained period of academy driven and youth oriented football.

Eventually most football clubs won’t be able to afford to build teams the way that they have been. Even the ones at the very top. Bayern Munich demonstrated it this summer in their approach to the system with Uli Hoeness even suggesting that the numbers as they are, are absurd.

Next: Barcelona transfer deal facing complications

Clubs will because of the unbelievable inflation in the transfer market return to the roots of what makes football great. Youth football, children playing a game for joy and not money. That very thing that makes the beautiful game so beautiful. This one simple sport that is understood and intoxicates people from Japan to Chile to Russia and England. That is how somehow, just maybe Neymar’s transfer has been good for football.