David Beckham signing is small change for mega-rich PSG owners
Qatari backers have spent over €250m in two years to transform club into European force
Thursday 31 January 2013
Nasser al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain, quite possibly found the money to pay for David Beckham's sojourn in the French capital down the back of one of his smartly upholstered sofas. For a man who last summer oversaw a spending spree virtually unmatched in football and who has counted out more than €250m (£214m) in transfer fees since taking up his position, this is small change. This is the club that has put the riche in nouveau riche.
It may, by Khelaifi's standards, be a cheap deal – Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes home €15m a year having cost €23m as part of last summer's spree – but it is another block laid in the attempt to briskly build a football empire that can challenge any in Europe. The hoo-ha that surrounds Le Spice Boy, the global interest, the global shirt sales, is as much what Khelaifi wants out of the deal as what Carlo Ancelotti gets for use on the field.
Khelaifi represents the club's owners, the Qatar Sports Investments, which in itself is a vehicle for the Qatari government and the country's Olympic committee. QSI took over the club in 2011, initially buying a 70 per cent stake from the US group Colony Capital and then adding the remaining 30 per cent last year in a deal that valued the club at €100m.
The spending since has been heady enough to make even the cash-rich across the Channel weep with envy; €30m on Napoli's young Argentine Ezequiel Lavezzi, €42m on Thiago Silva, €43m on Javier Pastore and finally €45m on the 20-year-old Sao Paulo forward Lucas Moura.
It has yet to earn a return on the field. Montpellier pipped PSG to the league title last year and although they currently top the table, it is on goal difference from Lyons, with Marseilles, and Joey Barton, in hot pursuit. There is a Champions League meeting with Valencia looming this month.
What the influx of Qatari cash has done though, is make domestic domination all but inevitable. Their spend accounted for 70 per cent of the French market in the summer and while clubs like Montpellier, the champions, and Lille, their predecessors, were moving their main men on – Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard respectively – PSG were going against the norm.
The club recently completed a deal worth €150m a year, rising to €200m in year four with – no surprise here – the Qatar Tourist Authority. It means, claim the club, Uefa's financial fair play box will be ticked.
Paris All-stars: PSG signings
David Beckham is the latest high-profile arrival at PSG since the French club were taken over by Qatari investors in June 2011.
Lucas Moura Brazilian cost £38m from Sao Paulo.
Javier Pastore Pacy Argentina midfielder was brought for £35m from Palermo.
Thiago Silva Brazil centre-half, 28, arrived last summer for £36m from Milan.
Ezequiel Lavezzi Argentina winger cost £25m from Napoli last summer.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Temperamental but talented Sweden striker cost £19m from Milan in July.
Jérémy Ménez Joined from Roma in 2011 for £7m.
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