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The Big South-American Transfer Bubble: Neymar, Ganso & Co. are overpriced

Brazilian DNA, Italian-born, Spanish U21 international and heir apparent to Xavi's throne. If Thiago was playing in the Brazilian league he'd probably be worth 1 gazillion Euro.
Brazilian DNA, Italian-born, Spanish U21 international and heir apparent to Xavi's throne. If Thiago was playing in the Brazilian league he'd probably be worth 1 gazillion Euro.

Some of this summers’ biggest transfer stories revolve around South-Americans’, Brazilians, to be precise. And no other player is dominating the headlines more than Santos’ Neymar. Ever since bursting onto the scene in 2009, the 19-year old youngster has been linked with big-money moves to some of Europe’s elite clubs. Among the potential suitors, Chelsea FC, who are believed to have had a €20-plus million bid rejected in 2010. After successfully fending off the interest of the Blues, Santos rewarded Neymar with a fresh multi-year contract and inserted a minimum release clause of €45 million. If reports are to be believed – and that’s a big IF – then La Liga giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have indeed enquired about the availability of the youngster. According to his agent, Renato Rodrigues, both clubs are willing to pay his buy-out clause.

Well, football agents are a funny breed, they lie, a lot. In the past Mino Raiola has been known to fabricate fictional offers to leverage an improved contract for his clients. The most notable case of fantasy football, the supposedly rejected €70 million offer from Real Madrid for Zlatan Ibrahimovic when volatile Swede donned the Juventus Turin shirt. Even nowadays some agents feel inclined to produce the most ridiculous headlines. The latest, FC Porto have rejected an €80 million bid for Hulk. C’mon now, that’s not even funny anymore. Perhaps the good ol agent has watched one too many episode of HUSTLE. Apparently the offer was flat-out rejected and not even considered. Um, can you say delusional?

Currently Santos enjoy something of a stronghold on coveted(Brazilian) youngsters. In addition to Neymar, the Brazilian side also owns the rights to Ganso, who is heavily linked with a transfer to AC Milan. Although slightly less high-profile than his Mohawk-sporting teammate; Ganso appears to be better equipped to make an immediate impact in any of Europe’s top leagues. While it is debatable whether Neymar is the more talented of the two, it is pretty obvious that he is too light framed for England, too immature for Spain, too undisciplined for Italy and outright too expensive for German coffers.

It is believed that it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of €30 million to secure Ganso’s signature. Even though this is still a steep price for an untested (in Europe) talent, it can be considered as the safer (not safe) bet than Neymar. At 21-years of age, Ganso definitely hasn’t reached his peak yet and has perhaps a higher ceiling than most of his contemporaries. Still, €30 million is a bit much. But according to, where most of these stories originate, Inter Milan have had a €25 million offer, for 18-year old Lucas Moura, who is similar to Ganso, rejected by Sao Paulo.

Whereas there is some logic and reason behind the hugely inflated market for Englishmen, after all they are tried and tested in the English Premier League, the prices quoted for South Americans -Brazilians in particular - make no sense at all.

If his most recent performances are anything to go by, then FC Barcelona’s Thiago must be at least worth €30 million, at least. Moreover, another La Masia graduate, Oriol Romeu, is set for a €5 million switch to Chelsea FC. Granted, Romeu is in the last year of his contract but if he was a Brazilian plying his trade in Brazil, he would’ve arguably cost more than that.

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