These players didn’t only move clubs but eye-watering amounts of money also changed hands with them as the world watched in amazement.
The age has already come where football transfers are hot topics for gossip. The ‘inflated’ market as we call it now, has already seen players join different clubs for world record fees, some of which have been described as outrageous by several pundits, managers as well as players throughout the world. The beautiful game has turned towards marketability like never before, which has resulted in the movement of players for eye-watering sums of money. So, at the end of a record-breaking window of spending by clubs across Europe here are the top 10 most expensive transfers of all-time.
10. Luis Suarez (Liverpool-Barcelona €82.3m)
Suarez has been prolific for Barcelona
One of the very few players who made it look almost too easy in the Premier League, Luis Suarez certainly was a treat to watch during his time with Liverpool in England. The Uruguayan striker, who led Liverpool to a second place finish in the 2013-14 season by scoring 31 goals was approached by Spanish outfit FC Barcelona in the following summer. Soon after, Suarez joined the Spanish giants after they paid a handsome amount of €82.3m to Liverpool, thus making him the most expensive striker in the world at the time. After joining the Catalonian side, Suarez has scored 85 goals in 97 appearances for Barcelona, helping them win nine major trophies in a span of three years.
9. Romelu Lukaku (Everton-Manchester United €84.8m)
One of the most consistent strikers in the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku joined Manchester United from Everton in a €84.8m deal in 2017. The Belgian striker, known for his eye for goal and poaching abilities, was an exact match for what Manchester United needed after the career threatening injury of their star Swede striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Although not the first choice buy for manager Jose Mourinho, who wanted to buy Alvaro Morata to lead the line in the United lineup, Lukaku has already impressed the Portuguese and has cemented his place in the starting XI. The former Everton and Chelsea player has already scored three goals and much more is expected from him in the rest of the season.
8. Neymar (Santos-Barcelona €86.2m)
Neymar harnessed his talent well in Spain
The next big thing in world football in 2013, Neymar was touted to be the successor of the legendary Lionel Messi at Barcelona. A series of impressive performances for his former team Santos had made the Brazilian youngster one of the most sought after talents in the world. Using the Brazilian connection among their ranks, Barcelona managed to rope him in, a move that cost €86.2m to the Catalonian club, making him the most expensive young footballer in 2013. However, after Neymar’s move to Barcelona happened, an investigation was launched into allegations a higher price and hidden payments as part of the transfer.
7. Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli-Juventus €90m)
The Argentine striker made it to the top of the news in 2016 when the former Real Madrid striker sealed a move to Italian champions, Juventus. A Napoli player then, Gonzalo Higuain had displayed a string of impressive performances throughout the seasons before, scoring 71 goals in 104 appearances for the Naples-based club. Juventus, who are famous for their shrewd buys, wanted to add more firepower among their midst to challenge for European glory and cashed out an incredible €90m for the Napoli man, making him the most expensive player in the Italian league last year. Since the move, Higuain has delivered consistent performances donning the Black and White shirt, yet he, failed to lead the Old Lady to European glory in last year’s Champions League.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United- Real Madrid €94m)
Ronaldo has become one of the game’s greatest goalscorers with Real
Arguably the best player of this generation, Cristiano Ronaldo was destined to hit it big since the day he caught the eyes of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The Portuguese, who helped United win 9 trophies and won a Ballon d’Or whilst at the club, went on to become the most expensive player on the planet in 2008 when Real Madrid bought him for a gigantic amount of €94m. Since the move, The Portuguese have established himself as the only competitor for the best player in the world tag with Messi, winning several major honours as well as scoring important goals for his club.
5. Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur-Real Madrid €100.8m)
One of the immensely talented British players of this generation, Gareth Bale was taking the Premier League by storm, operating on the left wing for Tottenham Hotspur. The Welsh winger became a phenomenon of sorts and Spanish giants Real Madrid came calling for him in the summer of 2013, where Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy made the Madrid giants pay a handsome sum of €100.8m, allowing Bale to join Los Blancos in the process. With the multi-million euro deal, Bale instantly became the most expensive player in the world.
4. Paul Pogba (Juventus-Manchester United €105m)
Pogba recturned to United as a world class player
Frenchman Paul Pogba had left Manchester United in 2012 to find more game time, only to return to Old Trafford four seasons later in 2016 in a world record deal as it was then. The Frenchman, then 23, was an integral part of the Turin-based club’s domestic and continental success and it did not take much convincing for United CEO Ed Woodward to bring him back to Manchester. A deal of €105m ensured the return of Pogba back to the Red side of Manchester and a necessary boost for the English club’s lofty ambitions.
3. Ousmane Dembele (Dortmund-Barcelona €105m)
Ousmane Dembele, the former Borussia Dortmund forward had been another intriguing name for the European powerhouses after his performances in the Bundesliga last season. Although several big boys the Frenchman’s signature, the 20-year-old opted to join Catalan giants Barcelona in this transfer window which cost the Blaugrana an initial fee of €60m. The deal might sweeten even more for Dortmund in the future if certain targets are met, a scenario which would make Barcelona pay add-ons worth €45m to the German side.
2. Kylian Mbappe (Monaco-Paris Saint Germain €180m)
1. Neymar (Barcelona-Paris Saint Germain €222m)
The Brazilian superstar, a heartthrob persona in both Catalonia and back in his home country, secured a move away from Spanish giants Barcelona to French side Paris Saint-Germain recently. ‘The transfer of the century’ – as it was called by several pundits worldwide, was subject to paying a release clause of €222m. Many sources reported it was Neymar who paid his own release clause, after being paid the sum by PSG’s Qatari owners who apparently wanted to restore the good image of the nation before the FIFA World Cup 2022. However, the move went through as expected by many and within a fortnight after Barcelona’s pre-season tour ended, Neymar was presented as a PSG player on 5th August, just before their first Ligue 1 game of the season against Amiens SC.