In a year’s time, Juventus may look back on their decision to splash out €90 million on Gonzalo Higuain with sincere regret.
The Italian club have just made a 28-year-old the third-most expensive player in football history. If football hadn’t already reached the point of absurdity, it has now.
It means Higuain has a lot of pressure to perform. If he doesn’t fire Juventus to a Champions League winners medal, Juventus’ decision to spend so much on him can be deemed a mistake.
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The pressure on Higuain is different to that placed on Neymar’s shoulders when he joined Barcelona in 2013.
Neymar, unlike Higuain, was joining a team where he wasn’t automatically made the number one star. The Brazilian could settle in at the Camp Nou knowing that Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and co. would make his job so much easier.
So Neymar was in a position to justify his price tag. And, three years and eight trophies later, he’s certainly done that.
Neymar's true cost
But what price tag was Neymar attempting to justify, exactly? The original transfer fee was reported to be £43 million, with Santos receiving just £13m of that, but there was a lot of commotion surrounding the true cost of the move.
Earlier this year, Neymar made an appearance in court over alleged irregularities regarding his transfer. Barcelona eventually owned up to making an “error in tax planning”.
It was widely accepted, thereafter, that Barcelona paid Santos €86m for the forward.
But, if you thought the matter was over, think again. Barcelona’s vice-president Susana Monje has caused quite the stir by claiming the Spanish champions actually spent €19.3m for the player.
Yes, you read that right. €19.3m.
€2m bonus for Ballon d'Or success
Monje claims Barcelona paid Santos €17.3m to sign the player and an additional €2m when he finished third in voting for the 2015 Ballon d’Or.
"It has been an exceptional deal as we are talking about a Ballon d'Or finalist, with great potential,” Monje said, per Sport.
"I also want to congratulate the player for choosing FC Barcelona, as we know he had offers from other clubs.
"I do not agree with the figures given in the past. I don't know where the 86 million euros amount touted came from."
Something definitely isn’t right here. From €86m to €19.3m?
We’re not quite sure who to believe, but if Monje is correct then Neymar’s deal will go down as one of the biggest bargains in football.
He helped Barcelona win the treble in his second season at the club and scored 24 league goals in 2015-16 as Barcelona won their 24th La Liga title.
And to think, Liverpool paid £35m for Andy Carroll.