The 5 Most Expensive Transfers in History

Magazine covers are filled with the most expensive transfers as they happen. Do you remember the most expensive soccer transfers of your lifetime?
The 5 Most Expensive Transfers in History

Last update: 18 February, 2020

A decade ago, transfer payments in the range of 60 to 70 million euros were reserved for a small number of soccer players who, according to the clubs, were worth that much money. They became the most expensive transfers of that time period. Some examples of big names in this category were Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario, and Luis Figo.

Yet times have radically changed. Today you don’t even have to look to the most expensive transfers to reach those types of numbers. In fact, today there are even defenders and goalkeepers who are worth that much. Before, these sums of money were reserved only for the most talented forwards.

The five most expensive transfers of all times

In this article, we’re going to talk about those transfers that have really broken records. Do you think these players have really been worth the huge investments?

1. Neymar to Paris Saint Germain (PSG)

This Brazilian forward is the object of the most expensive transfer in the history of soccer. During the 2017/2018 season, PSG paid 222 million euros to Barcelona for him. This was a transfer with a lot of controversy surrounding it – so much so that it even brought about a court case.

A jersey that says Neymar jr.

Nevertheless, beyond having been established as the Ligue one champion twice, the Champions League continues to slip through the French squad’s hands. That’s because of his absence from important games due to injury and the team’s lack of solidity. That’s why Neymar has toyed with the idea of leaving the team more than once.

2. Kylian Mbappe to the PSG

The Parisian club makes its second appearance on this list. There’s no doubt the arrival of the Qatar Investment Authority as the owner of the institution has born fruit. That’s at least the case in terms of soccer investments.

Mbappe is a supremely fast and skillful forward. He came to PSG from AS Monaco for 145 million euros. Despite his youth – he recently turned 21 – he’s already become a world champion. He was even one of the symbols of his national team for the World Cup they held in Russia.

Mbappe is a good contender for dethroning “Ney” as the most expensive transfer. That’s why all of the European greats are keeping their eyes on him.

3. Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona

The truth is that Coutinho cost Barca the same as Mbappe cost PSG. Nevertheless, the story wasn’t so prosperous for all involved in this case. That’s because the Brazilian didn’t play as well as people expected him to. They gave him to Bayern Munich in the middle of 2019 for 8.5 million euros.

Coutinho playing for Barcelona.
Image: Fox Deportes.

Coutinho plays with the Brazilian National Football Team and he was one of the winners of the last Copa American in his home country. He came to FC Barcelona in January 2018.

4. Joao Felix to Atletico de Madrid – fourth of the most expensive transfers in history

Atletico de Madrid has long been a player among the biggest football clubs in Europe. In summer 2019, they made off with none other than this Portuguese forward. He was a promising player for Benfica as well as for the Portuguese National Football Team.

Joao Felix who is one of the most expensive transfers in history looking up to the sky.
Image: Transfer Markt.

The team headed by Diego Simeone had to spend 126 million euros to get him. Without a shadow of a doubt, this forward, who’s only 20 years old, is going to give people a lot to talk about in the near future.

5. Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona

Dembele rounds out this list of most expensive transfers. He’s a French forward who came to Barcelona from Germany’s Borussia Dortmund for 125 million euros. Just like with Coutinho’s situation, Dembele hasn’t yet been able to perform as expected.

Ousmane dembele who is one of the most expensive transfers in history on the field.
Image: FC Barcelona Noticias.

Either way, he’s got a contract until 2022 and conditions are ripe for him to reverse the situation. It’s clear that it’s not easy to carry such a big responsibility at only 22 years of age and a current value of approximately 75 million euros. That’s the official price, at least. Whoever wants to buy him will have to pay a lot more.

The most expensive transfers that didn’t make it onto this list

Of course, Lionel Messi is a player you won’t find on this list – at least not yet. He’s only played for Barcelona. The same goes for other famous players who haven’t been involved in expensive transfers. Some examples of these are Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Andrea Pirlo, and Francesco Totti.

Other big-name talents are members of this group, but a little behind our list here. Antoine Griezmann comes in 6th place, considering his last transfer to Barcelona for 120 million. Next is Cristiano Ronaldo, who went to Juventus for 117 million. Paul Pogba (105 million), Gareth Bale (101), and Eden Hazard (100) come after these.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.