Most Expensive Transfers in the history of club football

Top 10 Most Expensive Transfers in the History of Club Football

The world of football has evolved significantly becoming a major business where financial deals play a crucial role. The rise of television and other economic factors have led to record-breaking transfer fees.

Paris Saint-Germain shook up the football world in the summer of 2017 by signing Neymar from Barcelona and then quickly luring Kylian Mbappé away from Monaco. They are still the two most expensive players of all time but there is no disputing that PSG’s astonishing double swoop significantly inflated the transfer market.

Indeed, a succession of huge transfers followed with Barcelona seeking to fill Neymar’s gap by buying players like Ousmane Dembélé, Philippe Coutinho, and Antoine Griezmann for nine figures. In Spain, Atlético Madrid paid €126 million for Benfica’s tremendous attacking gem João Félix, while Real Madrid eventually bought Eden Hazard to the Santiago Bernabéu for €100 million.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the transfer market although within a few seasons, several clubs particularly in England had recovered. Since 2021, Premier League clubs have signed numerous players for large sums of money, including Declan Rice, Enzo Fernández, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Mykhailo Mudryk, Antony, Darwin Núñez, and Moisés Caicedo.

Let’s look at the top 10 most expensive transfers in the history of club football.

1. Neymar – Barcelona to PSG (2017) – €222m

Neymar to PSG is still the most expensive transfer in the history of football (Credits: Getty)

Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 sent shockwaves through the football world. PSG shattered the transfer record with a staggering €222m fee for the Brazilian superstar, marking a new era in football economics.

2. Kylian Mbappé – Monaco to PSG (2017) – €145m (+€35m)

Kylian Mbappé
Mbappé’s loan to PSG turned into a permanent transfer that broke records (Credits: Getty)

Joining PSG initially on loan from Monaco, Kylian Mbappé’s permanent transfer became one of the most expensive deals ever, totaling €145m with additional bonuses, solidifying his status as one of the world’s top talents.

3. João Félix – Benfica to Atlético Madrid (2019) – €126m

 João Félix
Félix drew out Ronaldo comparisons with his transfer to the Spanish capital (Credits: Getty)

Atlético Madrid splashed out €126m to secure the services of Portuguese prodigy João Félix from Benfica in 2019. The hefty fee showcased the club’s ambition and faith in the young forward’s potential.

4. Enzo Fernández – Benfica to Chelsea (2023) – €121m

Enzo Fernández
Another heavyweight talent Enzo Fernández rose to prominence at Benfica (Credits: Getty)

Chelsea made headlines in 2023 by signing Enzo Fernández from Benfica for €121m. The midfielder’s move highlighted Chelsea’s willingness to invest in emerging talent with high potential.

5. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool to Barcelona (2018) – €120m (+€40m)

Philippe Coutinho
Barcelona tried to replace Neymar with Liverpool star Coutinho who also made his name into the most expensive transfers list (Credits: Getty)

Philippe Coutinho’s transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona in 2018 initially cost €120m, rising to €160m with add-ons. The Brazilian playmaker was seen as a crucial signing to bolster Barcelona’s attacking prowess.

6. Antoine Griezmann – Atlético Madrid to Barcelona (2019) – €120m

Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann was another transfer that Barcelona hoped would successfully replace Neymar (Credits: Getty)

Barcelona secured Antoine Griezmann’s services from Atlético Madrid for €120m in 2019, aiming to strengthen their forward line with his skills and goal-scoring ability.

7. Moisés Caicedo – Brighton to Chelsea (2023) – €117m (+€17.5m)

Moisés Caicedo
Chelsea continued their high-profile transfers under Todd Boehly (Credits: Getty)

In 2023, Chelsea invested €117m to acquire Moisés Caicedo from Brighton, underlining their commitment to acquiring promising young talents for the future.

8. Declan Rice – West Ham to Arsenal (2023) – €117m (+€6m)

Declan Rice
Almost a year later, Rice still remains the most expensive British player in football history (Credits: Getty)

Arsenal broke records in 2023 by signing Declan Rice from West Ham for €117m, making him the most expensive British player in history at the time.

9. Jack Grealish – Aston Villa to Manchester City (2021) – €117m

Jack Grealish
Although Guardiola missed on a free Messi transfer, Jack Grealish has proved to be worthy of the hefty price tag City paid Aston Villa (Credits: Getty)

Manchester City made waves in 2021 by splashing out €117m to bring Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, highlighting their desire for top-quality domestic talent.

10. Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan to Chelsea (2021) – €115m

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku remains the most expensive Belgian in football history (Credits: Getty)

Returning to Chelsea in 2021, Romelu Lukaku’s €115m transfer from Inter Milan showcased his importance as a proven goal-scorer in top-flight football.

Also Read: The 10 Most Expensive Transfers In The History Of La Liga