Kaveh Solhekol, The Insider: Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo too big to sell, fresh investment in Serie A, Andre Villas-Boas future

In his latest weekly column, Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains how Neymar could end up costing more than Newcastle United in the transfer market...


During the global financial crisis, there were some banks which were too big to fail. They were so huge that they could not be allowed to go bust. Millions and millions of people depended on them so they had to be saved by government bailouts using taxpayers' money.

In the next transfer window, there will be players who are too big to sell. Every club in the world is trying to make budget cuts and some have players on huge contract no-one else wants to take on.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, there was a good chance Neymar would be returning to Barcelona this summer. He had moved to Paris Saint-Germain in an incredible £200m deal three years ago to get out of Lionel Messi's shadow but now he wanted to go back to the Nou Camp.

It doesn't look like he will be returning any time soon though. The numbers involved are just too big in the current climate. There has been talk of a swap deal but PSG don't want to sell, and even if they did, they would be looking to get back a sizeable chunk of the £200m they paid to release Neymar from his Barcelona contract.

Neymar's penalty helped Paris Saint-Germain to victory over Lille

There is also the small matter of Neymar's wages. He is currently earning about £500,000 a week after tax. Once you take into account the transfer fee and wages, he would end up costing more than Newcastle United, who are about to be sold for £300m.

Another player who is too big to sell is Cristiano Ronaldo. At the end of March, Juventus players agreed to take a four-month pay cut which will save the Italian champions about £80m. That pay cut was for March, April, May and June so Ronaldo and his team-mates will start to get paid again in July.

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo exit in his car to resume training after a quarantine on May 19, 2020 at the club's Continassa training ground in Turin, as the country's lockdown is easing after over two months, aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus.

Ronaldo earns £500,000 a week and he still has two years left on his contract in Turin. He is now 35 and Juventus would have very few options if they wanted to cut costs by selling him this year.

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Like Neymar in Paris, he is simply too big to sell.

A league of their own

during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Juventus at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 6, 2019 in Milan, Italy.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners are in talks to buy a 20 per cent stake in Italy's Serie A. The deal under discussion would value Serie A at about £10bn.

CVC is one of the world's biggest private equity firms and has £68bn of assets under management. It also has a history of investing in sport.

In 2006 CVC paid £1.4bn for a controlling stake in Formula One. It made about £3.5bn when it sold its stake to Liberty Media in 2017.

In 2018 CVC paid £200m for a 27 per cent stake in Premiership Rugby. They have also been in talks to invest in rugby's Pro14 and the Six Nations.

Serie A was where you went to watch the best players in the 1990s until the Premier League established itself as the world's favourite league. CVC think they can bring the glory days back to Serie A and they think there is serious money to be made from investing in Italian football.

With their track record, it would be foolish to bet against them.

Moment of truth for AVB

Marseille's coach Andre Villas Boas gestures to his players in the stalemate

Mauricio Pochettino is not the only former Spurs manager who is in demand at the moment. Andre Villas-Boas has done such a good job at Marseille that they are desperate for him to sign a contract extension.

Villas-Boas moved to Marseille last summer and has two-year contract that runs out next year. He has got them back into the Champions League for the first time in six years but all is not well behind the scenes at the Stade Velodrome.

Marseille finished second after Ligue 1 ended prematurely because of the Coronavirus pandemic but sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was sacked last Thursday.

Zubizarreta was a key figure at the club as far as Villas-Boas was concerned. The former Chelsea and Spurs manager said Zubizarreta was one of the main reasons he went to Marseille, so much so that their futures are linked.

With Zubizaretta now gone, Villas-Boas has a difficult decision to make. Major investment is needed to close the gap on Paris Saint-Germain. PSG have won the title in seven of the past eight seasons.

Marseille want stability. Villas-Boas wants people he can work with and success. With or without Marseille.

Enjoy the silence

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland has been making headlines on and off the pitch. He was one of the standout performers as the Bundesliga restarted at the weekend, scoring for Borussia Dortmund against Schalke.

After the game, he gave the kind of answers in an interview which are every reporter's nightmare. Every time he was asked a question, he gave the shortest possible answer.

Apparently that's just the way he is, he gets bored quickly doing interviews.

Not a problem. Don't do interviews.

Last chance homeschooling

The line of scrimmage of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Cleveland Browns

Even though I have a couple of Philadelphia Eagles T-shirts, I don't know much about American Football. That wasn't much of a problem until I started watching Last Chance U on Netflix.

It's an award-winning series about young American footballers who are desperate to make it all the way to the NFL.

It's riveting TV and it's probably even better if you know what's going on.

That's why I ordered a copy of The Everything Kids' Football Book. Apparently, thanks to this guide to gridiron for 8-to-12-year-olds, I'm going to go from being a rookie to a Pro Bowler in no time.

I've already made it to page 8 where I am reliably informed that NFL stands for National Football League. Who knew?

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