It seems hard to understand why any professional footballer would want to leave Barcelona.
The Catalan side have been the darlings of European – and, many would say, world – football for well over a decade now.
Playing alongside the likes of Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta – how could that possibly be bettered?
Yet, in a world-shattering transfer, the young Brazilian forward Neymar has swapped the Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain’s Parc de Princes as his base of footballing operations.
Has this move, with its shorts-wetting price of €222 million (around £190 million) changed football forever?
Not everyone seems to appreciate Neymar’s value in the same way that Paris Saint-Germaine have.
A recent AskFans poll discovered that more fans thought that the £165 million spent by Manchester United on Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku represented much better value than the outlay on Neymar, and by fifty-seven percent to forty-three.
Whether you feel €222 million spent on a single player is good value or not, it’s hard to argue against the idea that football’s spiralling finances are becoming more and more absurd, and it seems that Paris Saint-Germain are more than happy to make a sizeable contribution to that absurdity.
The side are desperate to join football’s elite, but last term despite being the richest club in France by far, they couldn’t even win their domestic title, falling behind Monaco to the tune of eight points upon the final reckoning.
More potently, the changing face of football is made clear by the fact that the Parisians were able to prise away one of Barcelona’s star players simply by waving enough cash to trigger a transfer clause.
Such as thing should have been as unlikely as hearing news filtering through that Cristiano Ronaldo had suddenly decided to sign for Leicester City.
Speaking of Leicester City, perhaps it was their unthinkable 2015/16 English Premier League (EPL) success that alerted Europe’s elite to the suggestion they’d become complacent, and had allowed an upstart a share of the bloated money purse they’d become accustomed to sharing among themselves each term.
The 2016/17 EPL was very much a return to the norm with the elites splashing out, closing ranks and sending Leicester City back to where they belong – mid-table hope and the threat of relegation battles.
Perhaps also it is Barcelona’s own fault that Paris Saint-Germain came a-hunting for their cream.
PSG are unlikely to forget losing to Barca in the Champions League Round of 16 last term after winning the first leg 4-0, and then to further the insult Barcelona attempted to prise Italian playmaker Marco Verratti from PSG’s ranks.
It’s perhaps no wonder that PSG felt the need to secure a transfer coup of their own.
Neymar will be PSG’s prize asset, that much is certain. It may be sacrilege to say it, but a percentage of Barca fans may rather have seen the 30-year-old Lionel Messi leave for PSG rather than the youthful Neymar.
Barca’s loss Is very definitely’s PSG’s gain, and this move could help see the dominance of clubs with tradition end and a new era completely controlled by the unimaginably rich begin.