Five months after his move to Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar is still a significant presence at Barcelona. He is no longer scoring goals for the Catalan club, of course, but his world-record €222 million move has allowed the Blaugrana to spend in excess of €300m over successive transfer windows for the first time in their history.
Quite simply, without the sale of Neymar, the subsequent signings of former Borussia Dortmund starlet Ousmane Dembele and ex-Liverpool ace Philippe Coutinho would have been impossible.
Even though Barca have spent significant sums in recent years, the Catalans had never previously undertaken such an outlay: a grand total of €307m on six players – Dembele (€105m), Coutinho (€120m), Paulinho (€40m), Nelson Semedo (€30m) and Gerard Deulofeu (€12m).
It is worth noting that the €5m signing of Marlon Santos from Fluminense was agreed before June 30 and, thus, was not included in Barca’s summer transfer budget.
However, must also remember that as well as splashing €307m in fees, Barca have also agreed to clauses that could see them hand over an additional €40m in bonuses for both Coutinho and Dembele, meaning they could end up paying €160m and €145m for the pair, respectively, while there is also a potential €5m to be tagged on to the deal with Benfica for right-back Semedo.
Nevertheless, the financial impact has been much less severe than those figures indicate – and all because Barca received the vast sum of €222m when PSG agreed to pay Neymar’s release clause last August.
Of that income, Barca put €198m into their budget for new transfers, with the other €24m used for repayments and other costs.
Taking that into account, the Blaugrana have a net transfer spend of €114m across the past two windows, which is not too far above their original transfer budget at the beginning of last summer.
Therefore, it is clear that Neymar’s sale allowed for the arrival of Dembele and also Coutinho, who accepted giving up part of his salary at Liverpool so that the Reds would belatedly agree to his transfer to Barcelona.
In addition, Liverpool should not have any problems in receiving the funds from Barca, because the Liga leaders have enough money to pay for Coutinho, largely thanks to the sale of Neymar.
However, Barca may need to plan again for the future as there is now nothing left from the Neymar money and next summer will start with multi-million payments due in variables to both the Reds and Borussia Dortmund for the transfers of Coutinho and Dembele, respectively, as well as Benfica (as part of the Semedo deal).
Still, with Coutinho having now been added to a side presently nine points clear at the top of La Liga, Barca will be confident that their historic investment in their playing squad will reap huge dividends.