Since the new broadcast deals struck by the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga, we have been expecting the transfer window to explode into life like something out of the madness of Wall Street.
Though the expenditures in the top European leagues have dramatically increased in the last seasons, we are about to witness the perfect storm: Neymar's probable move to Paris Saint Germain could set in motion a chain of events leading to transfers worth over €1bn, involving the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea and Liverpool. IBTimes UK analyses the possible consequences if the Brazilian star moves to France.
Barcelona move first
According to Spanish press, PSG are about to pay €220m to sign Neymar, and the Catalans are ready to react and spend their money. According to Diario Sport, there are three options when it comes to Neymar's replacement: Kylian Mbappé of Mónaco, Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
Le Parisien have reported about a meeting between the Catalans and Mbappe's agents, who confirmed that the player has not signed with any other club yet. If they sign the starlet, they would have to pay over €180m, with the Ligue 1 champions having recently rejected a world record offer.
Real and City are in the race to sign the Monaco starlet, so Plan B for Blaugranas consists of a pair of well known players: Griezmann and Coutinho. The Atlético forward's clause is €100m, so the Nou Camp club would have enough money left over to sign Coutinho. The Brazil international would reinforce a weakened Barça midfield and Griezmann's endurance and willingness would also help to Andrés Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic, who have to constantly deal with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar's lack of defensive contribution.
Real Madrid and the David Beckham model.
Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid's president, is the king of marketing in world football. He knows, better than anyone, that a player's performance nowadays is as important as his commercial potential, with regard to merchandise, advertising and appealing to new markets. This became clear when David Beckham played for Los Blancos. Though his performances where below the level he showed at Old Trafford, he generated over €40m for Real every year, according to Diario As.
That is why he always goes one step further when a player is on his radar, and he rarely fails. Many newspapers in Spain are taking the arrival of Mbappé at the Bernabeu for granted. It would be the perfect storm in European football, as Barcelona would be forced to spend Neymar's €220m euros on either Griezmann, Coutinho or both; forcing Atletico and Liverpool to move fast to find replacements of their own.
Chelsea and Atlético, inside the perfect storm.
Though Chelsea are one of the wealthiest clubs in Europe, they are keeping an eye on Neymar's future for two reasons. Real boss Zinedine Zidane has insisted for months that Eden Hazard must be the latest 'Galáctico". The manager has not been able to convince Pérez, but if the president's will to sign Mbappé fails - moreover if he moves to Barcelona - Real will need to counter the move.
Atlético's interest in Diego Costa has nothing to do with an alleged move for Griezmann, but if the Frenchman remains with Los Colchoneros, Costa's return is far from a given. If Barcelona select him as Neymar's substitute, Costa's return to Madrid would be a matter of weeks, days or even hours away.
Chelsea made a smart move in signing Morata, and given Antonio Conte plays just with one forward, Costa's exit would not have major consequences. The Premier League champions are however caught in the middle of a transfer war being staged in Madrid.
Real Sociedad at the center of the domino effect
Radio Marca reported last week that Real Sociedad was worried about Neymar's situation, because that would put six of their players at risk, due to a possible "domino effect". These players are Willian José, Iñigo Martínez, Álvaro Odriozola, Gerónimo Rulli, Mikel Oyarzabal and Asier illarramendi. Sociedad are an example of how a chain reaction could change the fate of many clubs who have been able to keep their best players up to a month before the transfer window closes.
This is an example of the madness that is about to be triggered across Europe once Neymar leaves Barcelona, with five clubs willing to spend millions to replace their key players. The moves of Neymar, Mbappé, Coutinho, Griezmann, Hazard and Costa will cost upwards of €180m. The dominó effect means the final figures are unpredictable. We all remember that manic Monday of January 2011 in which Chelsea and Liverpool spent a combined £85m by signing Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll, respectively. Six years later, that figure and the madness which accompanied it might be consigned to history.