The beginning of this transfer window was quite weak and anemic, but over the last little while, after high profile and high value moves for Alexandre Lacazette and Romelu Lukaku were finalised it started gathering pace. It’s safe to say we’ve hit the peak of this window’s potential absurdity: Paris St Germain has officially signed Neymar Jr. from Barcelona for the absolutely ridiculous fee of £200m – over double the previous £89m record paid for Paul Pogba. Barcelona now have to plan what they’re going to deal with life after Neymar, while PSG and its fans are likely jittering with anticipation. Soon Neymar is going to pull on that navy jersey and the Parisian crowds are going to enjoy what the Catalans enjoyed since Neymar joined them back in 2013.
Many neutrals may wonder why Neymar chose to break up Barcelona’s MSN trident; Messi, Neymar and Suarez, after they had enjoyed such resounding success together. The primary reason, according to observers and pundits, appears to be that Neymar thinks it’s time for him to come out from Lionel Messi’s shadow. It’s a bold move, and one that may work out for him. It’s clear that Neymar understands that he won’t be able to truly test his own mettle until he’s no longer just an afterthought in Barcelona’s attack. If he is to win a Ballon d’Or or be the talisman that leads his team to Champions League glory, it must be away from Spain and the long shadows cast by both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. At 25 years old, while Messi and Ronaldo are both over 30, Neymar has probably spotted his opportunity to take over as the de facto best player in the world.
If Messi and Ronaldo begin to wane in influence, Neymar is the heir apparent that will succeed them. An important question, though, is can his new team mates match his own ambition and talent?