The collosal Neymar deal, funded by Qatar Sports Investments, shows how far governments will go to secure global influence
• Simon Chadwick is professor of sports enterprise at Salford University
In 1905 my club – Middlesbrough – broke the world transfer fee record when it paid Sunderland £1,000 to sign Alf Common. It was the first time in history a football player had been sold for four figures. Now, 112 years later, the record has been smashed for the second summer running, with Paris Saint-Germain paying £198m for Brazilian superstar Neymar, the highlight of the latest period of transfer hyperactivity that ended yesterday. This phenomenon transcends sport. How can an individual in any sphere be worth £198m? Who would pay that and why? What does the now normalised outlay of mind-boggling fees and salaries say about society? How did we get here?