By Glenn Hoddle
Just when we thought the transfer market had gone mad in England, with full-backs being bought for £54million, the Neymar deal came along to throw everything into some kind of warped perspective.
The £198m fee makes everything else look reasonably sane. I wouldn’t even have Neymar in the top five players in the world. Apart from the obvious two (Messi & Ronaldo) , I’d take Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard ahead of him.
Neymar has taken himself off to a league where he will not be challenged. When I was in France there was a good mix, with Marseille, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Bordeaux and Toulouse challenging.
That is not the case now, especially with Monaco selling half their team. And he will find it hard to win the Champions League with PSG. He may say it is not about money but it certainly looks as though it is.
And while transfer spending has always shocked us, from Trevor Francis’s £1m move to Nottingham Forest in 1979, to Alan Shearer’s £15m move to Newcastle in 1996, unlimited spending by clubs backed by sovereign states cannot be good for the rest of the game.