Paris, France | AFP | The arrival of Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain in a 222 million-euro ($263.5 million, £200.6 million) world record move will have a significant knock-on effect on an already unbridled transfer market.
In the summer of 2016, clubs in the five leading European leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France) spent a combined 3.3 billion euros, according to a study by financial experts Deloitte.
With almost a month still to go in this summer’s window, the combined total is already approaching three billion euros, going by estimates from the specialist website Transfermarkt.
And so PSG’s payment of the release clause in Neymar’s contract only confirms the trend in a record-breaking summer.
“I don’t think £200 million for Neymar is expensive,” admitted the Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, whose club previously broke the record last summer by paying £89 million to Juventus for Paul Pogba.
“Neymar is one of the best players in the world, so commercially that is very strong but the problem is not Neymar — the problem is the consequences.”
United have themselves splashed the cash this summer, spending close to £150 million including £75 million on Everton striker Romelu Lukako, a record deal between two British clubs.
PSG may have taken the world record, but English clubs lead the way overall thanks to the eye-watering money generated by the Premier League’s television rights deals.
Across Manchester, City benefit from the Premier League’s wealth as well as the funds of their owners from Abu Dhabi.
They have already spent more than £200 million in the transfer market, twice breaking the world record for a defender in the space of days with the recruits of Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur and Benjamin Mendy from Monaco.
Champions Chelsea have shelled out up to £150 million on Antonio Ruediger, Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Premier League clubs are not far from breaking their collective record spend from last year of just over £1 billion.
The spending bug has caught on in Italy too, with AC Milan’s new Chinese owners lavishing over 100 million euros on a host of new signings, including Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus for 40 million euros.