In the wake of Brazil’s 2-1 defeat to England at Wembley in midweek, Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has stated emphatically that the Brazilian club will not sell superstar striker Neymar at any price - despite links heightening with Manchester City over the week.
The 21-year-old has a contract with the club that runs until the summer of 2014, conveniently right before the World Cup hosted by his native Brazil. He is currently valued at £35 million (€40 million) but his release clause is reportedly €60 million.
He is a top target for Europe’s elite – the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City to name but a few and, despite confirming that he intends to honour his contract with Santos, just how much is Neymar actually worth?
One thing’s for sure, by 2014, he’ll be worth nothing to Santos – he could leave on a free transfer before the World Cup commences and could sign a lucrative pre-contract with another club that January.
This makes me skeptical about the Santos’ president’s claim that the club won’t sell him at any price. They would be foolish to let Brazil’s best player go for nothing at the end of his contract.
Therefore, I expect, as Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson recently said about Cristiano Ronaldo, ‘everyone is for sale’. If Ronaldo could be bought for £80 million and have a release clause built into his contract with Real Madrid of €1 billion, then surely Neymar is for sale.
If he has release clause then surely he’s for sale at that price? If Ronaldo at 24 years of age was worth £80 million, then €60 million for a 21-year-old ‘wonderkid’ sounds about right to me.
However, should a bidding war ensue that could complicate matters and drive the price up – I would expect all of the clubs mentioned above to be vying for his signature this summer. The price could potentially reach the €100 million mark.
Let’s not forget these clubs can afford it – that’s pocket change to their billionaire owners – I would imagine Paris Saint-Germain to be sniffing around him for the same reason.
He’s worth that – from a financial point of view alone, never mind a footballing point of view. Whoever signs Neymar is going to earn that money back on merchandise, gate receipts, television rights, sponsorship revenue and so on and so forth, never mind the publicity that goes hand in hand with a deal of that magnitude.
How much is Neymar worth? The Santos president may be right – he’s probably priceless.
image: © jikatu