Just when you thought the Neymar news would slow down, here we are once again, possibly for the last time. Thursday has been a hectic day, but it appears that Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain is finally going to happen, although not without some final day hurdles. After it seemed like the French club had finally secured the Brazilian striker earlier in the day, it was reported that La Liga had refused to accept the €222 million (roughly $263 million) payment needed to trigger Neymar’s buyout clause.
La Liga reps told ESPN FC early on Thursday that “we can confirm that the legal representatives of the player came to La Liga to deposit the clause and that it has been rejected. This is all the information we can give at the moment.” Spanish newspaper Marca reported at the time that the Spanish league had no legal grounds to reject the payment, and both PSG and Neymar threatened to have FIFA intervene in the matter in an attempt to get the deal finalized. The French Football League (LFP) also issued a statement on Thursday, criticizing La Liga’s practices and offering their legal department’s services to secure a fast resolution.
However, the Spanish league did say that they would accept the money as long as it came from Neymar’s own bank account, and it appears that hurdle has been cleared. A few hours after the initial refusal, Barcelona themselves tweeted a statement saying as much, and now Neymar has paid his buyout clause and is technically a free agent. Signing with PSG is just the last formality over a transfer saga that–while relatively short, at about three weeks–has had more twists and turns than anyone could have expected.
One thing to note in Barcelona’s statement is the last bit, which hints that the Catalan club will be reporting the transfer to UEFA for Financial Fair Play (FFP) consideration. Earlier this week, La Liga president Javier Tebas had accused PSG of “financial doping” and gave the heads up that he was s preparing a complaint against the club to present to the UEFA and the European Union for what he sees to be clear breaches of the FFP regulations.
This didn’t go over as well as Tebas thought, however, as UEFA replied back in a statement on Thursday, saying that it “has not received complaints from anyone regarding this matter,” while adding that officials will look into the deal to ensure it complies with FFP regulations. UEFA also acknowledged that it is impossible to judge the deal on its own, and that PSG’s business over a three-year period, including sales that could happen this summer, must be taken into account.
For what it’s worth, it appears that Thursday’s final roadblock was of La Liga’s doing alone, as Barcelona had already seemed to wash its hands of the whole thing. Both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez had shared messages of goodbye for their strike force partner, and it appears that there are no hard feelings on either side. Now, Barcelona must look to replace Neymar’s production on the field, which won’t be easy, even with the massive sum coming their way.
UPDATE: It’s official.