Mails: Kyle Walker makes £200m Neymar a bargain

Date published: Friday 4th August 2017 11:38

So many mails that we didn’t go back past Neymar in the inbox. So sorry if you were brilliantly witty before that. Mail us at


Neymar money is not irrational; football is massive
Yes, it is crazy. It is mad. But so is the world we live in today. When you talk relatively, is it that ‘irrational’ that Neymar Jr, probably the world’s second best attacking footballer, a global brand and t-shirt selling machine, the star who sits courtside at NBA finals and hangs out with Steph Curry afterwards, is worth four times that of Kyle Walker, not even the the third best fullback in Premier League? Was Higuain worth 75 million at the age of 28, a year ago? Is Coutinho worth 100 million, the price that Liverpool have put on him? We could go on.

In the wake of Neymar’s incredible transfer, we need to reassess what worth means in football. I’m not saying this is good and I agree that modern football fees and wages need a bigger word than inflation. Inflation is cigarettes and wine getting dearer, not this. The FFP needs reassessment as well, because it clearly has failed. If not failed, then big clubs have found a way to game it.

But let’s think about the money in this way. You could put every other major popular sport on one end of a weighing scale and I’m pretty sure football will match (if not outweigh) them in terms of popularity, scale, the sheer number of eyeballs the sport attracts. It is undeniably the biggest sport on the planet. From kids in war-torn Afghanistan to the ones in the streets of Brazil, football is probably the most universal entity on the planet. Get a ball and kick it about. Heck, you don’t even need a ball. I’ve played with Sprite cans with my friends in school corridors. Something that big, what could be it’s worth? It’s not just one player we are talking about. It’s the sport itself. Because Neymar’s transfer fee and wages are a product of a larger development currently seen in the sport.

Football is huge. And I think the money is only catching up. It is indeed scary to think where it is going. But it’s definitely not going to bust.
Manas, India


…I have to agree with Oliver (from Switzerland)’s mail on the relative small size of football.

Yes, Neymar is paid far too much, yes the transfer fees are crazy – but at the same time this is a guy who’s a national icon for the world’s fifth most populous country. His performances over the past few years have been watched by billions all over the world and his transfer has been discussed by people all over the world across all forms of the media.

While £500m (all in) is crazy money, this week HSBC announced profits of £7.8 BILLION.

So, while I don’t agree with it socially, the demand for football is so high, globally. With demand comes higher prices especially if supply (of great footballers) can’t increase quick enough.

As a comparison, Man United who are the biggest listed football club have a market cap of 2.7billion USD, which wouldn’t get it in the FTSE100 and is less than (for example)

Given the attention football gets and how few true superstars there are to get the pulses racing, them earning more will only keep rising, transfer fees will keep rising because football still is relatively small business given how popular it is all over the world.
James (NUFC), London


If Walker is worth £50m…
A little while ago, you wrote an article speculating who might be the first £100m footballer. Neymar has skipped that marker completely and gone straight into the £200m bracket. Simply astonishing.

On an absolute scale, the amount seems crazy – £200m for a single player. But in a market in which a someone like Kyle Walker (a very good fullback, but he’s not exactly Roberto Carlos) can go for £50m, then relatively Neymar’s fee seems somehow more understandable (although these values just suggest that the whole transfer market is out of control).

But can any player ever live up to such a huge fee? What will PSG need to win to ever be able to claim it was a success? Would one CL be enough? Ronaldo cost £80m, but given the success he has had at Madrid (2 titles, 3 CLs, almost 300 goals) I would suggest that price looks like one of the best bargains of all time in hindsight. But for a transfer fee 2.5 times greater, will Neymar need to win five CLs? Six Ballon d’ors? Will anything ever be enough to justify such a huge outlay? Let’s just hope he doesn’t ever get a serious injury!
Michael, Basel


…Thank goodness for PSG and Neymar making the world make sense again.

It felt really weird that Tottenham’s second-best right back could be worth over half of the world record transfer fee. A quarter sounds much better.

Dave Lillis, Dublin


Neymar = Gylfi x 4
Sounds a bit underpriced to me, actually.
Andre E


Jose was right
Pogba is already looking like a bargain, would United be able to get him at £89m today?

Answer is ‘No’.
Sanjay Saha


Numb to the numbers
I was barely surprised when I saw the Neymar to Barça news in recent weeks and did not even bat an eyelid when the transfer was made official. I became numb to it all ages ago. There are still people out there who are surprised at this sort of thing. How? We’ve seen this over and over again this decade. Wenger predicted it last year (insert “he almost signed him” reference here). Why are people at all surprised by this? Disillusioned I can understand but dumbfounded? Come on. I hate to use the tiresome old cliche but it’s just capitalism. The fact is that in capitalism the consumers still have some power. The only way it can stop is if we stopped buying tickets, subscriptions, merchandise etc. But that won’t happen will it? And like UEFA have enough f**ks to give.

People are saying that football’s gone mad but it went mad a long time ago. We’ve seen transfer fees from laughable to downright disturbing throughout this decade so far. I believe there’s a specific point when it all went bonkers and that was when Real Madrid shat on the entire market by buying Ronaldo, Benzema and Kaka in 2009 for what experts call “silly money”. Does anyone remember any transfer fees before then? No. Well not many. That was when people started to actively take notice and care about transfer fees. Nowadays everyone remembers the reported transfer fees for even the most obscure players. I think we can separate time periods in football with this event. Before Real Madrid bought Ronaldo, Benzema and Kaka (BRMBRBK) and After Real Madrid bought Ronaldo, Benzema and Kaka (ARMBKRBMRKMBKRMRK4MA).

It would barely register in my head if Real Madrid got Mbappé for a trillion guineas and/or if Barça got Coutinho for enough money to bail out Venezuela.
Vish (AFC), Melbourne


Real-life Championship Manager 3
The summer of crazy spending now capped off with a 200M transfer of Neymar.

It got me reminiscing.

Did anyone else do that cheat on Championship Manager 2/3 where you could bid 100M for Del Piero, Juventus of course would have to oblige.. once the wages were agreed and transfer almost gone through, quickly cancel transfer, offer 0 (or if you were feeling generous maybe 5k) and you would get Del Piero for FREE.

I think that’s how PSG got their man. Someones whispered in the Shiekh’s ear “yeah but don’t worry we’re not actually going to pay it, we’ll edit the transfer before he arrives and no one will notice…”.

CM3, in one summer with Inter Milan you’d get Peruzzi, Maldini, Stam, Beckham, Totti, Del Piero, Ortega and Shearer. You already had Zanetti, Ronaldo, Zamorano, Simeone.. Without spending a penny…

Those were the days before you had to make sure Dani Carvejal had 6.5 hours sleep and 1 1/3 bowls of pasta in the morning of a game.

The Sheikhs and playing Real Life Champ Man.
Scott, Perth


How does Emery feel?
One thing I’m curious about that I haven’t really seen discussed in all the talk about the Neymar Transfer is how Unai Emery feels about it. Now people might say that he’d obviously be pretty f**king chuffed as he now has the 3rd best player in the world to build his team around and that has probably pushed them up a fair few places in the favourites list for the Champions League.

However say they do go on and win the Champions League as well as every other domestic trophy what credit would Emery actually get for any of it? As a manager it would probably feel pretty good regardless of how it happened to win a quadruple, but surely it would also feel slight hollow. He’s clearly a great manager and achieved great things at Sevilla with a fairly limited budget but winning the Champions League this season wouldn’t win him any credit. It will be all about Neymar. And if it all goes tits up instead of saying hang on maybe we shouldn’t have spunked 200million on one player they’ll inevitably blame the manager and his tactics.

Neymar is basically going to be undroppable. Even if his form is absolute dogsh*te and he’s being an absolute diva off the pitch they’d just sack manager after manager rather than admit they f***ed up. But then who would want a job where if you do have success none of it will be credited to you and your whole job security hinges on the happiness of one player?
Simon Clarke


Come on, this is all tremendous fun
Let this serve as a preemptive strike to the inevitable handwringing that is to come around this blockbuster transfer.

Firstly, it’s great to finally see Barcelona get one in the eye after some of their underhand tactics over the years. Not a moment too soon.

Secondly, this can only be good for the quality of the Champions League next season. PSG should really push on with a genuine superstar to lean on, I can see an embattled Barca coming out like a wounded animal with Messi leading the charge, Madrid are Madrid and some strengthened English teams should spice things up nicely too (leaving Liverpool out because Coutinho is a goner).

Thirdly and lastly, the money is, as Matthew McConaughey so eloquently put it in that Scorsese movie, “a fugazi”. It exists only in this realm we call football. I love John Nicholson and think he brings something great to this site but to look to football for moral salvation these days is to miss the point. It’s showbusiness baby! And deep down, sitting at our office cubicles, it doesn’t depress us, it actually gives us a bit of a thrill. Picture the scene – a balmy May night, Barcelona vs PSG semi-final second leg, Messi vs Neymar, Tradition vs Disruption, the yin and the yang wrought large. Looking forward to it already.

JK (If I see another story about how much money Neymar is going to make every minute/hour/day, I think I might scream), Dublin


Is it even a ‘transfer’?
Food for thought, is the Neymar signing for PSG really the world record ‘transfer’?

It’s certainly the biggest deal, but does it count in the traditional sense of a transfer? Under the rules in Spain Neymar had to buy his way out of his contract with Barcelona himself. He then became a free agent. Where that £196 million came from doesn’t really matter because he’s doing it not another club.

Does this expose a blindingly obvious hole in the FFP rules with regards to the buyout clauses in players’ contracts? You could see players being able to finance their own transfers. Borrowing money against future earnings.

To my mind Neymar has had a meeting in Qatar, where he has been told, we lend you this much to get you out of your contract, we can exploit your image etc. to make shed loads of money and we have a better crack at winning the Champions League. Which will help us earn even more money.

But surly for Neymar to claim the crown of biggest ‘transfer’ PSG would have had to pay Barcelona directly a fee agreed by the two clubs. Had Neymar not had a buyout clause in his contract Barca would have surly demanded more for him.

So should we really be saying ‘biggest deal’, rather than ‘transfer’?
Adam Smith


We’ve got Iheanacho!
I’ve not been this excited about a Leicester signing since Cambiasso!…

But being a pragmatist, I just can’t see a partnership of Vardy and Nacho working. I’d love to hear how Man City fans see it? Clearly his finishing is top notch but what about his link-up play?

Last year Musa and Slimani struggled to form a partnership with Vardy and I fear more of the same this year. He may not be free scoring and he’s not a player people get excited about, but Leicester are a better team with Okazaki on the pitch, and there is undoubted chemistry with Vardy.

Iheanacho’s signing also means that we have a silly number of centre forwards/No.10’s at the club. Including Tom Lawrence (who we turned down a £7m bid from Derby this week) and Musa, we now have seven senior forwards on our books. There’s going to be some unhappy players amongst that bunch.

All-in-all though, I’m delighted with our transfer business this summer. I just hope it all comes together on the pitch.

On another note, I can’t believe how little interest there has been in Mahrez. Yes, last season wasn’t his best but he remains a special player and I worry about where the spark might come from once he’s gone. Gray is an outstanding talent but he’s far from the finished article.
Jamie, LCFC (Everton have even bigger questions concerning chemistry and competition for places)


The Arsenal fans are not helping…
Did someone tell Michael Owen he’s boring and advised him to spout sh*t?

The sad fact is he is right to some extent. Could we have managed to have qualified for the Champions League last season if the fans were onside – I think the answer is yes.

We’ve achieved cracking results when the atmosphere in the stadium has been electric such as that time we beat Barca at home. But last season there were a few games in which the atmosphere was in the toilet and it fed through to the players.

To a degree, the players did need to pull their finger out but I challenge anyone to do their job properly if there’s someone following them around all day and calling them a see you next Tuesday.

The manager was terrible last season for the most part, as was the club’s owners for not removing him but we are where we are and it’s everyone’s fault bar probably Gunnersaurus, who does sterling work.

Am I looking forward to next season? No, but I’ll be there against Leicester next Friday.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Why are women managed by a man?
Regular reader, first time emailer

Just watched England’s lionesses knocked out of the Euros and have two initial thoughts

Tactics of the underdogs
Why did we play hoofball in every game except against Scotland? I know we’ve got a great forward in Taylor but it’s very negative tactics and doesn’t do the players credit, nor play to their strengths.

Male manager
How patronising to not even allow a woman to manage the women’s side. Can they not be trusted to manage their own sport without a man making sure they don’t make a mess of it? It’s not like Sampsons long ball tactics were Pep-like revolutionary. Give the woman some space in their own sport please, at least until there are woman managers in the mans game and we can encourage some crossover.

Is it just me or, despite the fantastic achievement to get to the semis, does it leave sour taste for these reasons?
Simon (MCFC)

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