PSG close in on €222m Neymar, but will FFP throttle the club a second time?

By Andrew Warshaw

July 31 – Despite concerns over how they would avoid falling foul of UEFA’s strict financial fair play rules, Paris Saint-Germain are expected to imminently announce they have agreed to buy Neymar from Barcelona for a world record €222 million.

According to unconfirmed reports, PSG will pay the Brazilian striker €30 million a year after tax in a transfer that will take spending by Europe’s richest clubs to an eye-watering new level.

The fee for Neymar would more than double the previous transfer record of €105 million, which Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba in the summer of 2016.

The acquisition of Neymar by Qatari-owned PSG is viewed by many as being a public relations coup in the light of the current political and diplomatic impasse between Qatar and its neighbours.

But it may not be that straightforward. Outspoken Spanish league boss Javier Tebas has vowed to report PSG as they prepare to meet the whopping buyout clause in Neymar’s contract.

Tebas says he will urge UEFA to investigate how PSG can find so much money.

“Even if they don’t pay the release clause we will report them,” Tebas told Marca. “They cannot make up some commercial numbers that are bigger than Barcelona or Real Madrid.

“Nobody believes that, which means that the state of Qatar is injecting money and that violates Financial Fair Play.”

Barca themselves are reportedly also planning to call for a probe, especially since PSG were hit by heavy sanctions in 2014 for breaking FFP rules when the club were handed a €60 million fine, had their Champions league squad reduced from 25 to 21 players and had their spending restricted.

Andrea Traverso, who oversees FFP for UEFA, told l’Equipe: “PSG are no longer under those restrictions, but that doesn’t mean they can start to do what they want.

“They must respect financial fair play regulations, just like everyone else in Europe. They must show they can have losses that do not go beyond €30 million over three years.

“I note the impact of any possible arrival of Neymar in Paris would have an effect that would be felt over several years. But it’s very difficult to judge this kind of operation in advance. I don’t know their plans.”

Neymar did not return from Miami with the rest of the Barca squad following their pre-season fixtures and is reportedly due in Qatar to meet with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi who says he is “very confident” of getting his man.

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