Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp’s conflicting views on Neymar’s imminent move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain offer an insight into how the 222 million euro deal has divided opinion across football.
News of a transfer that will smash the existing world record broke on Wednesday when Barcelona confirmed they had given the Brazilian forward permission to speak to the French club, who are prepared to trigger his release clause.
Mourinho, who sanctioned Paul Pogba’s world record 105 million euro move from Juventus to Manchester United last year, said PSG were not paying over the odds given Neymar’s quality, but he is concerned by the financial “consequences”.
“When we paid that amount for Paul, I said that it was not expensive,” United manager Mourinho told British media.
“Expensive are the ones who get into a certain level without a certain quality… For 200 million pound, I don’t think Neymar is expensive.
“I think he’s expensive in the fact that now you are going to have more players at 100 million pounds, you are going have more players at 80 million and more players at 60 million. And I think that’s the problem.
“Neymar is one of the best players in the world, commercially he is very strong and for sure PSG thought about it. So I think the problem is not Neymar, I think the problem is the consequences of Neymar.”
Liverpool manager Klopp criticised the deal and questioned the effectiveness of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which stipulate that a club’s wage bill must not exceed 70 per cent of its revenue.
“There are clubs that can pay fees like that – Manchester City and PSG. Everyone knows that,” Klopp told reporters in Munich on Wednesday.
City are owned by United Arab Emirates billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, while PSG were taken over in 2012 by Qatar Sports Investments, an arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
“I thought fair play was made so that situations like that can’t happen. That’s more of a suggestion than a real rule. I don’t understand that. I don’t know how it happens,” Klopp added.
UEFA told Reuters on Wednesday that no complaint had been received about PSG, adding that it would not block any potential deal in advance.