Qatari backed French club Paris St. Germain bought defender Thiago Silva and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the two best players in Serie A, from Italian giants AC Milan for $79 million. This should be the most significant soccer transfer move of the summer, barring a Neymar move to Europe. Here is a quick breakdown of the deal.
Contracts: Silva signed a five-year deal with PSG, making his move official. Ibrahimovic’s is still pending. The French club wants to match his AC Milan deal, which would be worth $44 million over four years. The Swedish star reportedly wants $54 million over three years to move. This is complicated by the fact those salary figures for the Zlatan are after taxes. With the French considering a hefty tax hike for those earning more than $1.2 million per year that could get very pricey.
For PSG: They want to be the French (or Qatari) Manchester City. Beckham would have made headlines. Signing Javier Pastore last summer was notable. Bringing in two players, Ibrahimovic and Silva, who could both make a case to be in a World Best XI is massive. If Financial Fair Play is toothless, PSG could end up being an even better version of Man City. Paris is a much nicer place to live. The former club already did the legwork to convince players the artificial assembly model would work. They can make PSG more Faubourg Saint Honoré and less hotbed for neo-fascism.
For AC Milan: The sale is a painful, short-term concession but not a bad bit of business for the club. In a vacuum, $79 million is tremendous value for players approaching the end of their prime. Silva turns 28 in September. Ibrahimovic turns 31 in October. In reality, it aids a broad restructuring at the club in preparation for Financial Fair Play (or perhaps Silvio Berlusconi’s election campaign). AC Milan lost $80 million last year. With this deal, Milan has excised 40 percent of its bloated $250 million payroll. Berlusconi claims the deal will save the club $183 million over the next two seasons. The Rossoneri are not in that much danger of being left behind, as rivals Juventus and Inter Milan finished last year even further in the red.
For Serie A: This is yet one more sign Serie A has yet to resolve endemic problems. Clubs have struggled to create a stable revenue source beyond the Champions League television rights fees. The league’s coefficient dipped far enough to lose their fourth spot to the Bundesliga. Having the top Italian club forced to sell its two best players is embarrassing, even more so when the buyer is from France.
For Ligue Un: PSG would be a double-edged sword. Having their “Yankees” would enhance the value of domestic and overseas television revenue, spur ticket sales and make everyone more money. It would help the league reach the status where it could keep elite French players in the domestic league. It would come at a cost though. As other major European leagues have polarized, Ligue Un has become remarkably competitive. Five different clubs have won the title the past five seasons. Montpellier jumped from 14th to Champions in a single year. More people would watch the league, though it would lose some of its charm.
[Photo via Getty]