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The reason why there have been so few transfers between the best clubs

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Neymar’s world record € 222m move to Paris Saint-Germain threatened to irreversibly break the transfer market. This set a huge new precedent for transfer fees and was carried out in a ruthless and aggressive manner which left Barcelona in shock as they had no say once his release clause was respected.

One or two more relentless elite club sagas occurred after that. Barcelona themselves were the aggressors in the chase of Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

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The Neymar 2017 saga pushed transfers to ridiculous levels | AFP / Getty Images contributor

Despite the coronavirus pandemic wiping out transfer income and budgets, there has been a shift among the big clubs in how they view transfer activity with each other.

Since the summer of 2019, when Barcelona unscrupulously jumped at Griezmann, it hasn’t happened the same since, with clubs cracking down on their aggression in the transfer market.

Real Madrid haven’t relentlessly pursued Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba in the same way they did after David de Gea in 2015 or Cristiano Ronaldo in preparation until summer 2009 Barcelona’s interest in re-signing Neymar also seemed lacking in reality. drive.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid waited until Eden Hazard had a one-year contract at Chelsea and he made it clear he wanted to move on before consolidating their pursuit. Los Blancos are expected to use the same tactic with Kylian Mbappe this summer, with the Frenchman waiting to decide – if he chooses to sign a new contract with PSG, Los Blancos would have to back down.

Kylian mbappe
Real Madrid did not sue Kylian Mbappe as he could still sign a new contract with PSG | John Berry / Getty Images

It all stems from what Marca describes as a “non-aggression” pact between top clubs, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Manchester United, Juventus, Bayern Munich and a handful of others informally signing the idea. that they will not go. difficult for everyone’s players.

The aim is to keep transfer fees in check, which got out of hand after the Neymar saga in 2017. The fact that Barcelona are so hard saddled with huge debt is only partially the result of the pandemic and may be more. due to excessively poorly planned spending.

It can also serve to put clubs back in some control, taking some power away from players and agents, who are less able to come up with contenders who may not want to commit.

If elite clubs don’t aggressively target each other’s players, as has obviously happened in the past, it won’t drive up prices when teams refuse to sell until the supply is too high. good to refuse. It should also serve to improve relations between top teams as it has eliminated sneaky moves.

A prime example of the “pact” in action is Manchester City and PSG’s support for Lionel Messi when Barcelona refused to accept his request to leave. Messi is unlikely to receive any formal offers this year unless he decides to stay or leave, which won’t happen until the summer.

Likewise, Real Madrid only opted for David Alaba when Bayern admitted they wanted to move on and cut their contract, while there was no scramble for Sergio Ramos. as could have been the case at a time when contract negotiations at the Bernabeu are still ongoing.

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