Tuesday 22 January 2019

'Neymar deal means a £20m player is now £40m'

Niall Quinn
Niall Quinn

In his role as Sunderland chairman, Niall Quinn ended up having sleepless nights with the stress of approving £10million deals to sign players.

Now free of those duties, Quinn can only imagine what goes through the mind of those who conduct an "insane" deal like Neymar's €222m move to Paris.

"I am still scratching my head, I don't get it all," says Quinn, in Dublin for the launch of Cadbury's sponsorship of the Premier League.

"At Sunderland we paid £10m, plus €6m, for Darren Bent, paid £13m for Asamoah Gyan.

"I couldn't sleep immediately after those deals but then the goals started coming in, and we doubled our money with Bent when we sold him on, and made our money back with Gyan.

"Now, it's gone past the stage where a billionaire can come in and turn everything upside down, with Qatar this is a country, a oil-rich country, that has come in, with all their financial muscle, to bring about the most extraordinary transfer we have ever seen.

"If you had told me that Neymar would go for €222m I would have questioned it.

"I would have questioned the fee for Paul Pogba - and will do so until he gets 15 goals a season from that position.

"If it had been Ronaldo four years ago I'd have understood it as £78m was the right fee, but I find myself trying to forget about this level of money to try and get myself right," added Quinn.

"I learned what I learned at Sunderland but when I see stuff like that, I'm glad I am out of it, the gap between the haves and have-nots now is frightening, it's an insane gap that had been widening but it's now taken a crazy leap with this Neymar deal."

Quinn feels that the amazement at the Neymar deal is a generational matter.

"As long as the TV companies are satisfied with their product, you can't say that the Neymar deal is bad for the game, it's exciting for younger generations who have no idea of what it was like when people like me were playing, when money was tight in the game. Clubs have gone broke in the past, way before Neymar," he says.

"It's showbiz now, it's rock and roll for a new generation so it has its place... but it's bonkers. It will only stay at this level until another oil-rich state comes in and ups the ante again. It just means that the player you'd hoped to get for £20million is now £40m. I just hope there isn't a club that oversteps the mark and suffers for years to come, as happened with Leeds."

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