Neymar transfer rumors have circulated almost since he stepped foot on the training ground at Paris Saint-Germain. Such is the nature of European soccer, with its escalating transfer fees and dueling ownership groups. Although for a time it appeared that Real Madrid would replace Ronaldo with Neymar, it now looks increasingly likely that Neymar will stay at PSG for at least another season.
Neymar doesn't have a minimum release clause in his contract, so his price tag would be well in excess of the €222 million that PSG's ownership group Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) paid Barcelona last summer. Real Madrid are more inclined to negotitate a less expensive transfer for Eden Hazard.
It's possible, however, that Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG's president and the chairman of QSI, might flirt with another record transfer during this summer's transfer window. Multiple outlets are reporting that Neymar has urged Al-Khelaifi to sign his former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.
QSI might have the funds to pull off a move, but the politics of another mega transfer are tricky. Barcelona presdient Josep Maria Bartomeu has been vocal in his support of Financial Fair Play (FFP) Rules. He specifically has underscored the importance of regulating 'team-countries' that are most often backed by funds from oil rich nations.
Qatar has consistently ranked in the top ten in the world in GDP/capita, and its oil and gas exports generate 60% of its GDP. Revenue from QSI is reinvested into Qatar's sport, leisure and entertainment sectors.
Qatar's significant wealth derived from natural resources has made PSG one of the strongest teams in Europe. Since QSI bought the French club in 2011, it has bought five players for more than €50 million. That's tied with Barcelona and Manchester United and trails only Manchester City (7) and Real Madrid (6).
Last summer Al-Khelaifi negotiated the two most expensive transfers in soccer history. Kylian Mbappe's €145 million deal was only surpassed by the Neymar transfer.
Forbes reported that PSG's revenue in 2017 was €486 million. The combined cost of the Mbappe and Neymar transfers was €367 million. FFP rules are designed to prevent clubs from spending more than they can bring in, and buying two players for a total of 75% of the team's revenue was a major red flag.
Although Bartomeu is a proponent of FFP, it would be hard to say no to an offer for the 31-year-old Suarez anywhere close to the value of the Neymar transfer.
And with Al-Khelaifi and PSG chasing an elusive Champions League title, there's a good chance Bartomeu will be put to the test.