- Two soccer stars are struggling to find new clubs despite their availability on the summer transfer market.
- Paris Saint-Germain is reportedly demanding $US200 million for Neymar, who is paid $US785,000 every week.
- Real Madrid is failing to find a suitable buyer for Gareth Bale, who is valued at $US89 million and said to be paid $US425,000 per week.
- Nobody seems to want to buy some of the best players on the planet, and it could be because they may turn out to be a gigantic waste of money.
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Neymar and Gareth Bale are available in the summer transfer market, but their clubs are struggling to actually sell them, and it may be because buying just one of them would be a gigantic waste of money.
The biggest soccer clubs on the planet consider multiple factors before they complete player transactions.
Business Insider was told two years ago by Mike Rigg, the transfer-market guru who helped usher in a new era of spending at Manchester City, that once a player-acquisition department has been consolidated and a database of knowledge on athletes built, a shortlist of players would be streamlined to help directors and managers identify potential assets.
But in an era of skyrocketing transfer fees, some who remain at the higher level of the sport don’t actually represent value for money. They are no longer deemed assets.
Neymar and Bale are two such players. Despite their talents, the costs involved in purchasing them and keeping them paid see both stuck at their respective clubs with no way out.
Less than two years ago, clubs all over Europe would have been lining up to sign either player, but they’re now turning them down.
Just look at the situation Neymar finds himself in
Once a brilliant Barça forward with the world at his feet, Neymar landed a monumental move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, breaking the transfer-fee record – and earning $US785,000 every week, to boot.
But he doesn’t seem to want to play there anymore. Last month, he failed to report to preseason training on time, eventually turning up one week late, Marca reported.
Problems on and off the field mean it is unlikely the 27-year-old will find himself a new club by the time the transfer window closes on September 2.
The Brazilian made headlines in April when he lashed out at a fan who reportedly told him to “learn to play” after a shock French Cup defeat to Rennes. He was slapped with a three-match ban in French soccer and stripped of his captain title on his beloved Brazil national team.
In May, he was captured on video throwing his Brazil teammate Weverton, 20, to the ground after the youngster nutmegged him during a training session.
In June, UEFA upheld a decision to bar Neymar for three matches in the UEFA Champions League for “insulting match officials” during PSG’s defeat by Manchester United earlier in the year.
There is little to convince clubs that he would be worth the $US200 million PSG is asking for him. Barcelona, Neymar’s former club, ruled out a trade after failing to raise the funds to bring him back to Camp Nou.
And the La Liga president, Javier Tebas, has said he would rather not have the troublesome Brazilian return to La Liga anyway.
“I’d prefer that Neymar didn’t return to Barça,” Tebas said last month, adding that “his behaviour isn’t good for the competition.”
Even Manchester United turned down the chance to sign Neymar on a temporary basis – a loan deal.
But Neymar’s not alone
Bale is also turning into an outcast, unwanted at his current club, Real Madrid, with few, if any, buyers on the horizon.
The Welshman’s injury record at Real Madrid has been horrendous. He has been limited to just 79 La Liga starts in the past four seasons, having suffered multiple knocks; the worst – an ankle problem – sidelined him for 17 matches in the 2016-17 season.
In total, he’s missed more than 70 matches for Madrid because of injuries since joining from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. That’s almost two league campaigns.
Real Madrid’s manager, Zinedine Zidane, has made it clear that he is unwanted, telling reporters earlier in the summer that “the club is arranging his exit.”
But there are also few clubs willing to take a risk on an injury-prone 30-year-old with an $US89 million price tag and wage expectations that could mirror the $US425,000 per week he pockets in Madrid.
Bale seemed close to a way out of Madrid late last month as Jiangsu Suning was said to be ready to pay the Wales star an incredible $US1.2 million per week to lure him to the Chinese Super League.
But Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, pulled the plug at the last minute, meaning Bale’s likely to spend the season warming the benches at the Santiago Bernabéu yet again.
What this means
Clubs around Europe are deciding that even some of the top and best-known players in the world are not worth the exorbitant fees quoted.
After decades of escalating and inflationary transfer-fee expenditure, we have finally reached a ceiling.