How €222M transfer turned Liverpool into a European powerhouse again

Liverpool owe their success to their brilliant manager, coaching team and squad of players but Neymar’s move to PSG was a decisive factor in their success.

The Brazilian’s move to PSG, the highest recorded transfer fee of all time (so far) helped spark a chain of events that led to a resurgence on Merseyside.

Following the mega-signing, the knock-on effects of the transfer rippled out into the football world as Liverpool became a powerhouse in Europe.

We look at how Neymar’s move unintentionally created the Jurgen Klopp dynasty.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) vies for the ball with Liverpool's English defender Joe Gomez (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group C football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Liverpool FC at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on November 28, 2018.

Inflated Market

The €222M (£198M) fee paid for Neymar by PSG warped the transfer market at the time blowing the previous record of £89.3M – held by Paul Pogba’s move back to Manchester United – completely out of the water.

To replace the Brazilian, Barcelona looked to Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho as the answer but sporting director Michael Edwards famously negotiated a deal worth up to £142M.

Whereas Liverpool fans were sad to see one of their best players leave, they took solace in the fact that £142M would help Klopp add in genuine quality that would improve their side.

Since then, we’ve seen all kinds of big money moves with outrageous fees being agreed upon; what makes it worse is the fact that most of the signings fail under the insurmountable weight of these huge transfer fees.

In recent seasons we’ve seen Jack Grealish and Romelu Lukaku move for fees around £100M and we even saw Harry Maguire move for £80M from Leicester to United back in 2019.

Whereas Liverpool secured all of their current top stars when they were rising talents such as Mohamed Salah for £36.9m, Firmino for £34.3m, Andy Robertson for £8m and the list goes on.

Re-Investing in Quality

Liverpool fans are often criticised for talking about the ‘Coutinho Money’ but the fee received helped them to secure the services of goalkeeper Alisson Becker from AS Roma and Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk.

Comparing Liverpool’s model of transfers to other big clubs shows they’ve known when to spend big and when to source alternative options.

The £85M signing of Darwin Nunez is an example of the first time that Liverpool has spent a large amount of money on a player and it is a risk given Nunez has only produced one great season to date but Liverpool’s talent identification hasn’t missed thus far.

Where Liverpool gained two players who helped them to go on to win multiple trophies, Barcelona went on to financially cripple themselves as a result of the Coutinho purchase.

The club had also bought talented winger Ousmane Dembele for €105M (£97M) to help replace Neymar; both players failed to live up to the enormous price tags leaving Barcelona in financial disarray as a result of these events.

What is ironic is that Barcelona and Liverpool have experienced opposite fortunes since the deal for Coutinho in 2018 – which can all be traced back to that famous Neymar move.


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