Two decades of world record transfers in pictures as Neymar inches closer to PSG move

Neymar's proposed world record move to Paris St Germain was held up on Thursday as LaLiga officials turned away the delegation sent to meet his eye-watering buy-out clause.

The striker's club, Barcelona, said they would only allow the 25-year-old Brazil international to make the move to Paris if his release fee of €222 million/£198.5 million) was met and paid in full.

That did not stop PSG in their tracks and lawyers acting on behalf of the player were sent to LaLiga headquarters in Madrid to pay the money, only for them to be snubbed.

However, here, we look at the previous players to have broken the transfer record in the past two decades.

ALAN SHEARER - 1996: £15 million (BLACKBURN TO NEWCASTLE)

Having won the Premier League at Blackburn in 1995, all-time Premier League record goalscorer Shearer returned to his hometown club a hero.

RONALDO - 1997: £19.5 million (BARCELONA TO INTER MILAN)

The Brazil striker moved on to break the record for the second time in a year but, despite a great scoring ratio, he only won the UEFA Cup during his spell at the San Siro.

DENILSON - 1998: £21.5 million (SAO PAULO TO REAL BETIS)

A precocious talent in Brazil, Denilson never made the desired impact after his record move and struggled to hold down a place at Betis before moving on.

CHRISTIAN VIERI - 1999: £32 million (LAZIO TO INTER MILAN)

Eight clubs in as many seasons eventually led Vieri to Inter, where they broke the transfer record once again and he would form a formidable partnership with Ronaldo.

HERNAN CRESPO - 2000: £35.5 million (PARMA TO LAZIO)

A year later, Lazio replaced Vieri with Crespo and he ended his first season with the club as Serie A's top goalscorer.

LUIS FIGO - 2000: £37 million (BARCELONA TO REAL MADRID)

The era of the Galacticos truly began with the acrimonious transfer of Portugal winger Figo between the Clasico rivals.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE - 2001: £46.6 million (JUVENTUS TO REAL MADRID)

Madrid continued to build their team of superstars by adding France international Zidane from Juventus - where he went on to becoming a Champions League-winning player and coach at the Bernabeu.

KAKA - 2009: £56 million (AC MILAN TO REAL MADRID)

Breaking their own record once again, Kaka's move from Italy was not as successful as Madrid would have hoped but he still lifted a LaLiga title before returning to Milan in 2013.

CRISTIANO RONALDO - 2009: £80 million (MANCHESTER UNITED to REAL MADRID)

Having coveted Ronaldo for a couple of years, Madrid upped their record significantly to land the 2008 Ballon d'Or winner - and the Portuguese went from strength to strength in Spain.

GARETH BALE - 2013: £86 million (TOTTENHAM TO REAL MADRID)

A fifth-straight record broken by Madrid as they returned to England to poach the Premier League's hottest talent - this time taking Wales international Bale to Spain, where he would later flourish.

PAUL POGBA - 2016: £89 million (JUVENTUS TO MANCHESTER UNITED)

Having left Old Trafford four years earlier for a nominal amount, France midfielder Pogba returned as the new world-record signing.

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Manchester City target Alexis Sanchez kisses Arsenal badge as he joins team-mates in training

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Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez joined his Arsenal team-mates for a training session at the Emirates Stadium as speculation over his future rumbles on.

The Chile international only returned to pre-season on Tuesday after being handed an extended break following the Confederations Cup.

Sanchez was due back to Arsenal’s London Colney training centre on Sunday but was ill and instead travelled back to begin work on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old is reportedly wanted by the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain and has less than one year to run on his current contract with the Gunners.

Manager Arsene Wenger appears relaxed about the situation and even suggested it was “ideal” to have the likes of Sanchez, as well as team-mates Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, running down their contracts as they have to play well to earn fresh terms.

Arsenal fans will be concerned, however, that even if Sanchez stays, the former Barcelona forward may leave for nothing next summer.

The Chilean was filmed kissing the Arsenal badge as he was in conversation with Ozil on Thursday.

He hit 30 goals for Arsenal last season but cut a frustrated figure at times as hopes of a Premier League title faded with a poor run of results which coincided with a 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The torrid spell led to Arsenal missing out on a top-four finish and instead Wenger’s side will play in the Europa League during the forthcoming campaign.

No Champions League football, as well as the lure of a potentially more lucrative contract elsewhere, might tempt Sanchez to leave – but Wenger is expected to dig his heels in.

The 67-year-old Arsenal boss, who signed his own new contract after the FA Cup final victory in May, was set to address the media on Thursday afternoon to preview Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Chelsea, and was likely to be once again asked about Sanchez’s future.

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Michael Owen expects Liverpool to reject Barcelona bids for Philippe Coutinho

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Michael Owen believes Liverpool can resist the lure of Barcelona and hang on to star man Philippe Coutinho.

Barca have already had a £72 million bid for the Brazilian turned down but if Neymar’s world record move to Paris Saint-Germain goes ahead they are expected to renew attempts to sign up Coutinho.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has gone on record to say his prize asset is not for sale but the Catalan club are used to getting their own way in the transfer market and it is the dream destination for players all over the world.

Owen was once faced with a similar decision – trading Merseyside for Madrid in 2004 – but whereas he allowed his contract to run down as he looked for a new challenge, Coutinho signed a five-year deal in January.

“The news going around Spain is obviously fuel to the fire if the Neymar deal goes ahead – the speculation becomes intensive (regarding a) Coutinho move,” he told Press Association Sport.

“But he was happy enough a short while ago to sign a long-term deal and since then the club have qualified for the Champions League and strengthened the team.

“I think they played a really good move in signing him to a long contract because if the worst came they would get a lot of money for him, but I don’t see it happening.

“Other than Coutinho not being happy I can’t see how there is going to be a deal. It’s inevitable that a lot of good players want to ply their trade in Spain but the situation with the length of contract has to count for something.”

Owen, who was appointed international ambassador by Liverpool last year, has also seen nothing to suggest the Reds are preparing for life without Coutinho.

Instead their focus appears to be elsewhere, with Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita among the players targeted over the summer.

“Normally there’s a giveaway, a number 10 bought just in case, but Liverpool seem to be looking at a centre-back and a defensive midfielder,” he said.

“Liverpool don’t need to sell and the noises out of the club are the noises out of the club are that they want to reinforce, grow the numbers to compete on all levels. This year they certainly seem to be in buying mode, not selling.”

Provided by Press Association

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