La Liga club FC Barcelona paid $76M to Brasileiro side Santos for Brazilian footballer Neymar.
When UEFA came up with its Financial Fair Play rule, it "was expected that huge transfers would be rare and spending reduced," so there is no surprise Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger has described Gareth Bale's impending £100M ($153M) move as "a joke," according to Thom Drake of the London DAILY MAIL. In the Premier League alone, close to £350M ($535M) has already been splashed, with smaller clubs like Cardiff, Norwich and Swansea joining Chelsea and Man City "in parting with their cash." Wenger said, "It's quite amazing that in the year where Financial Fair Play rules come in, the football world has gone completely crazy." Not many "could argue with him." In Europe, Monaco has spent more than £100M ($152M) itself on Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid £53M/$81M), James Rodriguez (£40M/$61M Porto), Joao Moutinho (Porto £22M/$34M) and more, whilst Paris St. Germain has nearly reached its ton, signing Edinson Cavani (Napoli £56M/$86M), Marquinhos (Roma £28M/$43M) and Lucas Digne (Lille £13M/$20M). Add to this Neymar's £50M ($76M) switch to Barcelona, as well as both Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Götze moving for £32M ($49M) to Napoli and Bayern Munich, respectively, and "the amount of money changing hands is staggering" (DAILY MAIL, 8/4
). In London, Owen Gibson reported "at first, and maybe second, glance it would appear that a world record-busting move by Real Madrid for Gareth Bale is not exactly in line" with the pledge by the UEFA President Michel Platini to put the brakes on the game's overheating finances. However, a combination of the series of concessions negotiated by the biggest clubs through the European Club Association to UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules and Real Madrid's huge revenue‑generating potential "mean the two things are not quite as contradictory as they might appear." Much to the chagrin of its critics, who fear it will "lock in" the established order, the FFP break-even rules favor the biggest earning clubs. And of those, Real Madrid has "consistently been the biggest for the past eight years" (GUARDIAN, 8/3