The most expensive football transfers in history

The most expensive football transfers in history

The 2022-23 season is loaded with lucrative contracts, with Mykhailo Mudryk, Antony, Erling Haaland, and Darwin Nunez leading the way.

PSG stirred up the football world in the summer of 2017 by acquiring Neymar from Barcelona and then Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.

They remain the two most expensive players ever, but it cannot be denied that PSG’s extraordinary double swoop inflated the transfer market significantly.

Barcelona attempted to replace the void left by Neymar by signing players for nine-figure fees, including Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, and Antoine Griezmann.

Atletico Madrid spent €126 million on Benfica’s prodigious attacking potential Joao Felix, while Real Madrid paid €100 million to bring Eden Hazard to Santiago Bernabeu.

Pos.PlayerClubsYearFee
1NeymarBarcelona – PSG2017€222m
2Kylian MbappeMonaco – PSG2017€145m (+€35m)
3Joao FelixBenfica – Atletico Madrid2019€126m
4Enzo FernandezBenfica – Chelsea2023€121m
5Philippe CoutinhoLiverpool – Barcelona2018€120m (+€40m)
6Antoine GriezmannAtletico Madrid – Barcelona2019€120m
7Jack GrealishAston Villa – Manchester City2021€117m
8Romelu LukakuInter – Chelsea2021€115m
9Ousmane DembeleBorussia Dortmund – Barcelona2017€105m (+€45m)
10Paul PogbaJuventus – Manchester United2016€105m
11Gareth BaleTottenham – Real Madrid2013€100.8m
13Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid – Juventus2018€100m
14Eden HazardChelsea – Real Madrid2019€100m (+€40m)
15Mykhailo MudrykShakhtar Donetsk – Chelsea2023€100m
16AntonyAjax – Manchester United2022€95m (+€5m)
17Cristiano RonaldoManchester United – Real Madrid2009€94m
18Gonzalo HiguainNapoli – Juventus2016€90m
19Harry MaguireLeicester City – Manchester United2019€87.1m
20NeymarSantos – Barcelona2013€86.2m
21Jadon SanchoBorussia Dortmund – Manchester United2021€85m
22Romelu LukakuEverton – Manchester United2017€84.8m
23Virgil van DijkSouthampton – Liverpool2018€84.5m
24Luis SuarezLiverpool – Barcelona2014€82.3m
25Wesley FofanaLeicester City – Chelsea2022€80.6m
26Aurelien TchouameniMonaco – Real Madrid2022€80m (+€20m)
27James RodriguezMonaco – Real Madrid2014€80m
28Kepa ArrizabalagaAthletic Club – Chelsea2018€80m
29Lucas HernandezAtletico Madrid – Bayern Munich2019€80m
30Romelu LukakuManchester United – Inter2019€80m
31Nicolas PepeLille – Arsenal2019€79m
32Alvaro MorataReal Madrid – Chelsea2017€78.9m
33Zinedine ZidaneJuventus – Real Madrid2001€77.5m
34Darwin NunezBenfica – Liverpool2022€75m (+€25m)
35Matthijs de LigtAjax – Juventus2019€75m (+€10.5m)
36Kevin De BruyneWolfsburg – Manchester City2015€75m
37Frenkie de JongAjax – Barcelona2019€75m
38Dusan VlahovicFiorentina – Juventus2022€75m
37Angel Di MariaReal Madrid – Manchester United2014€74.6m
38Alisson BeckerRoma – Liverpool2018€73m
39Arthur MeloBarcelona – Juventus2020€72m (+€10m)
40CasemiroReal Madrid – Manchester United2022€71m (+€11.8m)
41Kai HavertzBayer Leverkusen – Chelsea2020€70m (+€9m)
42Luka JovicEintracht Frankfurt – Real Madrid2019€70m
43RodriAtletico Madrid – Manchester City2019€70m
44Mykhailo MudrykShakhtar Donetsk – Chelsea2023€70m (+€30m)
45Zlatan IbrahimovicInter – Barcelona2009€69.5m
46Raheem SterlingLiverpool – Manchester City2015€69.1m
47Ruben DiasBenfica – Manchester City2020€68m (+€3.6m)
48Riyad MahrezLeicester City – Manchester City2019€67.8m
49Matthijs de LigtJuventus – Bayern Munich2022€67m (+€10m)
50Diego CostaChelsea – Atletico Madrid2018€66m
51Marc CucurellaBrighton – Chelsea2022€65.1m (+€8.2m)
52Alexander IsakReal Sociedad – Newcastle United2022€65m (+€5m)
53Thomas LemarMonaco – Atletico Madrid2018€65m
54KakaAC Milan – Real Madrid2009€65m
55Aymeric LaporteAthletic Club – Manchester City2018€65m
56Joao CanceloJuventus – Manchester City2019€65m (inc. Danilo)
57Edinson CavaniNapoli – PSG2013€64.5m
58Christian PulisicBorussia Dortmund – Chelsea2019€64m
59Pierre-Emerick AubameyangBorussia Dortmund – Arsenal2018€63.75m
60David LuizChelsea – PSG2014€62.5m
61Angel Di MariaManchester United – PSG2015€61.6m
62OscarChelsea – Shanghai SIPG2017€60.3m
63Achraf HakimiInter – PSG2021€60m (+€11m)
64Miralem PjanicJuventus – Barcelona2020€60m (+€5m)
65Erling HaalandBorussia Dortmund – Manchester City2022€60m
66Naby KeitaRB Leipzig – Liverpool2018€60m
67Luis FigoBarcelona – Real Madrid2000€60m
68Tanguy NdombeleLyon – Tottenham2019€60m
69RaphinhaLeeds United – Barcelona2022€59m (+€6m)
70Fernando TorresLiverpool – Chelsea2011€59m
71FredShakhtar Donetsk – Manchester United2018€58.9m
72JorginhoNapoli – Chelsea2018€58.9m
73HulkZenit – Shanghai SIPG2016€58.6m
74Ben WhiteBrighton – Arsenal2021€58.6m
75Benjamin MendyMonaco – Manchester City2017€58.2m
76RicharlisonEverton – Tottenham2022€58m (+€12m)
77John StonesEverton – Manchester City2016€58m
78Kyle WalkerTottenham – Manchester City2017€56.7m
79Raheem SterlingManchester City – Chelsea2022€56.2m
80Ben ChilwellLeicester City – Chelsea2020€55.8m
81Lisandro MartinezAjax – Manchester United2022€55.3m (+€12.5m)
82Bruno FernandesSporting C.P. – Manchester United2020€55m (+€25m)
83Hernan CrespoParma – Lazio2000€55m
84Ferran TorresManchester City – Barcelona2021€55m
85Alexandre LacazetteLyon – Arsenal2017€53m (+€7m)
86Timo WernerRB Leipzig – Chelsea2020€53m
87Gabriel JesusManchester City – Arsenal2022€52.3m
88Gianluigi BuffonParma – Juventus2001€52m
89Eliaquim MangalaPorto – Manchester City2014€51.7m
90Jules KoundeSevilla – Barcelona2022€50m (+€10m)
91Alex TeixeiraShakhtar Donetsk – Jiangsu Suning2016€50m
92Bernardo SilvaMonaco – Manchester City2017€50m
93FabinhoMonaco – Liverpool2018€50m
94Eder MilitaoPorto – Real Madrid2019€50m
95Aaron Wan-BissakaCrystal Palace – Manchester United2019€50m
96Thomas ParteyAtletico Madrid – Arsenal2020€50m
97Victor OsimhenLille – Napoli2020€50m
98Anthony MartialMonaco – Manchester United2015€49.3m
99Gylfi SigurdssonSwansea City – Everton2017€49.2m
100Leroy SaneManchester City – Bayern Munich2020€49m (+€11m)
101Christian VieriLazio – Inter1999€49m

Some clubs, especially in England, appear to have recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the likes of Enzo Fernandez, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Mykhailo Mudryk, Antony, Darwin Nunez, Matthijs de Ligt, Wesley Fofana, and Aurelien Tchouameni moving for astronomical sums.

More mega-deals are likely to follow, but you can view the current list of the most expensive footballers in the world below…

The most costly British player

Jack Grealish became the most expensive British footballer in history when Manchester City agreed to satisfy the €117 million buy-out clause in his Aston Villa contract.

The previous record holder was Welsh winger Gareth Bale, who joined Real Madrid from Tottenham for €100.8 million in 2013.

Prior to Grealish’s move to the Etihad, Harry Maguire’s 2019 transfer from Leicester to Manchester United made him the most expensive English player ever.

Most expensive teenager

Kylian Mbappe is the most expensive teenager in history, as he joined PSG in 2017 on a loan-to-buy agreement worth €180 million after bonuses.

Joao Felix is the second most costly teenager, as Atletico Madrid paid Benfica €126 million to acquire him in 2019.

Most expensive defender

In 2019, Manchester United paid €87.1 million for the services of England center-back Harry Maguire, making him the most expensive defender ever.

Maguire narrowly surpassed Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk in the process, as the Netherlands international cost the Reds €84.5m to acquire from Southampton the year prior.

Most expensive goalkeeper

Kepa Arrizabalaga is the world’s most expensive goalkeeper. In 2018, Chelsea spent €80 million to meet his Athletic Club release clause.

For a long time, former Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon held this mark, having joined the Turin outfit from Parma for €52m, which is a colossal fee when inflation is taken into account.

Then, within a short period of time, Buffon’s record was broken twice. First, Liverpool acquired Roma’s Alisson Becker for €73 million, temporarily becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in the world.

Not wanting to be outdone, Chelsea signed Kepa a month later, elevating the Spain international to the top position. 

Biggest transfer outside of Europe

The most a non-European club has ever paid for a player is €60,3 million, paid by Shanghai SIPG to Chelsea in 2016 for Brazil midfielder Oscar.

The most expensive football transfers in history