List of most expensive association football transfers

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Neymar, currently the most expensive footballer

The following is a list of most expensive football association transfers, which details the highest transfer fees ever paid for players as of the summer transfer window of 2017.

As well as the most expensive transfers of all time, the page also lists transfers which broke the world transfer record. The first recorded record transfer was of Willie Groves from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa for £100 in 1893. This occurred just eight years after the introduction of professionalism by The FA in 1885.[1] The current transfer record was set by the transfer of Neymar from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million (£198 million) on 3 August 2017.[2][3][4][5]

Highest fees[edit]

Most of the highest-value transfers on this list are to clubs under UEFA's jurisdiction, and most of the purchasing clubs are from England, Spain, Italy and France. However, in the mid 2010s a few Chinese teams have made expensive purchases.

The default order in this table is based on the transfer amount in euros. Due to exchange rate fluctuations the order is different in pound sterling, which are also shown in the table. Transfers that took place before the adoption of the euro are given in their approximate euro equivalent. The list includes only the top fifty disclosed transfer fees.

Three players appear on the list twice: Neymar, James Rodríguez and Ángel Di María. All of the players on the list are of either European (UEFA) or South American (CONMEBOL) origin. There are no players from the remaining regions, namely Africa (CAF), Asia (AFC), North America (CONCACAF) and Oceania (OFC).

As of 1 September 2017; after the 2017 summer transfer window.

  Fee broke the world football transfer record at the time of the transfer
  Fee broke the national league record at the time of the transfer
  Fee broke the record for a South American player at the time of the transfer
  Fee broke the record for an African player at the time of the transfer
  Fee broke the record for a teenager at the time of the transfer
Top 50 transfers
R Player From To Position Fee
(M £)
Fee
(M )
Year Year of birth Ref.
1 Brazil Neymar Spain Barcelona France Paris Saint-Germain Forward £198 €222 2017 1992 [2][6][7][4][5]
2 France Dembele, OusmaneOusmane Dembélé Germany Borussia Dortmund Spain Barcelona Forward £97 €105[a] 2017 1997 [8][9][10]
France Pogba, PaulPaul Pogba Italy Juventus England Manchester United Midfielder £89 €105[b] 2016 1993 [11][12][13][14]
4 Wales Bale, GarethGareth Bale England Tottenham Hotspur Spain Real Madrid Forward £86 €100 2013 1989 [15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]
5 Portugal Ronaldo, CristianoCristiano Ronaldo England Manchester United Spain Real Madrid Forward £80 €94 2009 1985 [23][24][25]
6 Argentina Higuaín, GonzaloGonzalo Higuaín Italy Napoli Italy Juventus Striker £75.3 €90 2016 1987 [26][27][28]
7 Belgium Lukaku, RomeluRomelu Lukaku England Everton England Manchester United Striker £75[c] €85 2017 1993 [29][30][31][32]
8 Uruguay Suárez, LuisLuis Suárez England Liverpool Spain Barcelona Striker £75 €82.3 2014 1987 [33][34]
9 Colombia Rodríguez, JamesJames Rodríguez France Monaco Spain Real Madrid Midfielder £63 €78 2014 1991 [35][36][37][38]
10 France Zidane, ZinedineZinedine Zidane Italy Juventus Spain Real Madrid Midfielder £46.6 €77.5[d] 2001 1972 [40][41][42]
11 Argentina Di María, ÁngelÁngel Di María Spain Real Madrid England Manchester United Midfielder £59.7 €75.6 2014 1988 [43][44]
12 Belgium De Bruyne, KevinKevin De Bruyne Germany Wolfsburg England Manchester City Midfielder £55 €75 2015 1991 [45][46]
13 Sweden Ibrahimović, ZlatanZlatan Ibrahimović Italy Internazionale Spain Barcelona Striker £56 €69.5[e] 2009 1981 [47][48][49][50]
14 Brazil Kaká Italy Milan Spain Real Madrid Midfielder £56 €67[f] 2009 1982 [51][52][53][54][55]
15 Spain Morata, ÁlvaroÁlvaro Morata Spain Real Madrid England Chelsea Striker £58[g] €65.5 2017 1992 [56][57]
16 Brazil Oscar England Chelsea China Shanghai SIPG Midielder £60[h] €65 2017 1991 [58][59][60]
17 Uruguay Cavani, EdinsonEdinson Cavani Italy Napoli France Paris Saint-Germain Striker £55 €64.5 2013 1987 [61][62][63][64]
18 Argentina Di María, ÁngelÁngel Di María England Manchester United France Paris Saint-Germain Midfielder £45 €64 2015 1988 [65][66][67]
19 England Sterling, RaheemRaheem Sterling England Liverpool England Manchester City Forward £44[i] €62.5 2015 1994 [68][69]
20 Portugal Figo, LuísLuís Figo Spain Barcelona Spain Real Madrid Midfielder £37 €62 2000 1972 [70][71]
21 Colombia Falcao, RadamelRadamel Falcao Spain Atlético Madrid France Monaco Striker £51 €60[j] 2013 1986 [72][73]
22 Spain Torres, FernandoFernando Torres England Liverpool England Chelsea Striker £50 €59 2011 1984 [74][75]
23 Argentina Crespo, HernánHernán Crespo Italy Parma Italy Lazio Striker £35[k] €58.5 2000 1975 [76][77]
24 France Mendy, BenjaminBenjamin Mendy France Monaco England Manchester City Defender £52 €58.1 2017 1994 [citation needed]
25 Brazil Neymar Brazil Santos Spain Barcelona Forward £48.6 €57.1[l] 2013 1992 [78][79][80][81]
26 England Walker, KyleKyle Walker England Tottenham Hotspur England Manchester City Defender £50[m] €57 2017 1990 [82][83]
Spain Costa, DiegoDiego Costa England Chelsea Spain Atlético Madrid Striker £48.8[n] €57 2018 1988 [84]
28 Brazil David Luiz England Chelsea France Paris Saint-Germain Defender £50[o] €56 2014 1987 [85][86][87]
Guinea Keïta, NabyNaby Keïta Germany RB Leipzig England Liverpool Midfielder £48 €56 2018 1995 [88]
30 Brazil Hulk Russia Zenit Saint Petersburg China Shanghai SIPG Forward £46.4 €55.8 2016 1986 [89][90]
31 England Stones, JohnJohn Stones England Everton England Manchester City Defender £47.5 €55.6 2016 1994 [91][92][93][94]
32 France Lacazette, AlexandreAlexandre Lacazette France Lyon England Arsenal Striker £46.5 €53[p] 2017 1991 [95][96]
33 Italy Buffon, GianluigiGianluigi Buffon Italy Parma Italy Juventus Goalkeeper £33 €52[q] 2001 1978 [97]
34 France Martial, AnthonyAnthony Martial France Monaco England Manchester United Forward £36[r] €51 2015 1995 [98][99][100]
35 Iceland Sigurðsson, GylfiGylfi Sigurðsson England Swansea City England Everton Midfielder £45 €50 2017 1989 [101]
36 Portugal Silva, BernardoBernardo Silva France Monaco England Manchester City Midfielder £43 €49.5 2017 1994 [102][103]
Brazil Teixeira, AlexAlex Teixeira Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk China Jiangsu Suning Midfielder £42.5 €49.5 2016 1988 [104][105]
Germany Özil, MesutMesut Özil Spain Real Madrid England Arsenal Midfielder £42.5 €49.5 2013 1988 [106][107][108]
39 Italy Vieri, ChristianChristian Vieri Italy Lazio Italy Internazionale Striker £32 €49[s] 1999 1973 [109][110]
40 Spain Mendieta, GaizkaGaizka Mendieta Spain Valencia Italy Lazio Midfielder £31 €48 2001 1972 [111][112]
41 England Ferdinand, RioRio Ferdinand England Leeds United England Manchester United Defender £30 €47 2002 1978 [113][114]
42 Belgium Benteke, ChristianChristian Benteke England Aston Villa England Liverpool Striker £32.5 €46.3 2015 1990 [115][116]
43 Spain Mata, JuanJuan Mata England Chelsea England Manchester United Midfielder £37.1 €46 2014 1988 [117][118]
Brazil Ronaldo Italy Internazionale Spain Real Madrid Striker £29 €46 2002 1976 [119][120]
45 France Tiémoué Bakayoko France Monaco England Chelsea Midfielder £40 €45 2017 1993 [121]
Brazil Vinícius Júnior Brazil Flamengo Spain Real Madrid Forward £39.6 €45 2018 2000 [122]
Colombia Rodríguez, JamesJames Rodríguez Portugal Porto France Monaco Midfielder £38.3 €45 2013 1991 [123][124]
Brazil Lucas Moura Brazil São Paulo France Paris Saint-Germain Forward £38.3 €45 2013 1992 [125][126]
Argentina Agüero, SergioSergio Agüero Spain Atlético Madrid England Manchester City Striker £38 €45 2011 1988 [127][128][129][130]
Argentina Verón, Juan SebastiánJuan Sebastián Verón Italy Lazio England Manchester United Midfielder £28.1 €45 2001 1975 [131][132]

Notes

  1. ^ Initial €105 million plus reported €40 million bonuses
  2. ^ Fee was to be paid over time with an initial €105 million, plus another €5 million in additional bonuses; Pogba's agent Mino Raiola also received a reported €27m from Juventus, from a portion of aforementioned transfer fee from Manchester United.
  3. ^ Fee was to be paid over time with an initial £75 million, plus another £15 million in additional bonuses.
  4. ^ fee originally in 150 billion lire; the fixed exchange rate between euro and lire was 1:1936.27. The fee was paid in 4 annual installments;[39] on accounting purpose, the fee was listed as approx. €75m[39]
  5. ^ Initial transfer fee for Ibrahimović is indeterminable. According to Barcelona's press release, Ibrahimović signed a 5-year contract, for €46 million fee in installments and the exchange of Eto'o (valued at €20 million) and the loan of Alexander Hleb (with an option to buy for a €10 million fee), with a €250 million release clause, making Ibrahimović worth €66 million plus the undisclosed loan fee of Hleb. However, the Hleb deal collapsed. Eventually Ibrahimović cost Barcelona €69.884 million according to their financial report, which included other fees. As per the Inter book the fee was €69.5 million, but part of the Inter fee (max. 5% according to FIFA regulation) were deducted and distributed by Barcelona to youth clubs of Ibrahimović: Malmö FF and AFC Ajax as solidarity contribution.
  6. ^ The fee broke the world record in pound sterling, but not in euro; as the fee was paid in installments, the accountant that prepared the financial report adjusted the value to €66.073 million as the present value to reflect the loss in interest
  7. ^ Fee was to be paid over time with an initial £58 million, plus another £12 million in additional bonuses.
  8. ^ Estimated figure. The transfer fee has not been disclosed.
  9. ^ Fee was to be paid over time with an initial £44 million, plus another £5 million in additional bonuses.
  10. ^ Estimated figure. The transfer fee has not been disclosed.
  11. ^ Lazio broke the then-world transfer record by paying £35 million (£16 million upfront and transferred Matías Almeyda and Sérgio Conceição) to acquire Crespo. The total transfer fee later amounted to £40 million.
  12. ^ Fee was to be paid over time with an initial €57.1 million, plus another €2 million in additional bonuses. Neymar received a €10 million signing bonus. Neymar's agent also received €4 million.
  13. ^ Fee was to be paid over time with an initial £50 million (€57m), plus another £3 million in additional bonuses.
  14. ^ £48.8m with £8.8m in add-ons.
  15. ^ Estimated figure. The transfer fee has not been disclosed.
  16. ^ Fee was to be paid over time with an initial €53 million (£46.5m), plus another €7 million (£6.1m) in additional bonuses.
  17. ^ Part of the fees was paid via the transfer of Jonathan Bachini to Parma for a total of 100 billion lire; the fixed exchange rate of lira to euro was 1936.27 lire to 1 euro.
  18. ^ Manchester United paid £36 million up front for Martial, but his contract contains three bonus clauses worth £7.2 million each, taking the potential fee to £57.6 million. The clauses each relate to certain accomplishments being achieved in the next four years, including if Martial scores 25 goals during that span, racks up 25 caps for France or wins the Ballon d'Or before June 2019.
  19. ^ An indeterminate size of the fee was paid via the transfer of Diego Simeone to Lazio that totaled €45 million.

World football transfer record[edit]

The first player to ever be transferred for a fee of over £100 was Scottish striker Willie Groves when he together with Jack Reynolds (£50) made the switch from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa in 1893,[133] eight years after the legalisation of professionalism in the sport. It took just twelve years for the figure to become £1000, when Sunderland striker Alf Common moved to Middlesbrough.[134][135]

It was not until 1928 that the first five-figure transfer took place. David Jack of Bolton Wanderers was the subject of interest from Arsenal, and in order to negotiate the fee down, Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman got the Bolton representatives drunk.[136][137] Subsequently, David Jack was transferred for a world record fee when Arsenal paid £10,890 to Bolton for his services, after Bolton had asked for £13,000, which was double the previous record made when Sunderland signed Burnley's Bob Kelly a fee of for £6,500.[135]

Diego Maradona, David Jack and Ronaldo are the only players to twice be transferred for world record fees.

The first player from outside Great Britain to break the record was Bernabé Ferreyra, a player known as La Fiera for his powerful shot. His 1932 transfer from Tigre to River Plate cost £23k,[137] and the record would last for 17 years (the longest the record has lasted) until it was broken by Manchester United's sale of Johnny Morris to Derby County for £24k in March 1949. The record was broken seven further times between 1949 and 1961, when Luis Suárez Miramontes was sold by FC Barcelona to Inter Milan for £152k, becoming the first ever player sold for more than £100k.[135]

In 1968, Pietro Anastasi became the first £500k player when Juventus purchased him from Varese,[137] which was followed seven years later with Giuseppe Savoldi becoming the first million pound player when he transferred from Bologna to Napoli.[135][137]

The second player to twice be transferred for world record fees is Diego Maradona.[135][137] His transfers from Boca Juniors to Barcelona for £3m, and then to Napoli for £5m, both broke the record in 1982 and 1984 respectively. The third became Ronaldo with his record-breaking move from PSV Eindhoven to Barcelona in 1996 for £13.2m, although Alan Shearer's transfer to Newcastle broke the record the same summer. A year later Inter Milan paid £19.5m for Ronaldo and again he became the player with the highest transfer fee.

In the space of 61 days in 1992,[137] three transfers broke the record,[135] all by Italian clubs: Jean-Pierre Papin transferred from Marseille to A.C. Milan, becoming the first ever £10m player.[137] Almost immediately, rivals Juventus topped that with the signing of Gianluca Vialli for a fee of £12m from Sampdoria. Milan then completed the signing of Gianluigi Lentini for a fee of £13m which stood as the record for three years.

The 1996 transfer of Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle United, for a fee of £15m,[138] kickstarted a year-by-year succession of record breaking transfers: Ronaldo moved the following year to Inter Milan from FC Barcelona for a fee of £17m,[139] which was followed in 1998 by the shock transfer of his fellow countryman Denílson from São Paulo to Real Betis for a fee of approximately £21m.[135][137][140]

In 1999 and 2000, Italian clubs returned to their record-breaking ways, with Christian Vieri transferring from Lazio to Inter Milan for £28m,[141] while Hernán Crespo's transfer from Parma to Lazio ensured he became the first player to cost more than £30m.[135][142] The transfer prompted the BBC to ask "has the world gone mad"?[143] It took two weeks for the record to be broken when Luís Figo made a controversial £37m move from Barcelona to rivals Real Madrid.[135][144] A year later, Real increased the record again with a signing of Zinedine Zidane for £48 million (150 billion lire).[145]

Zidane's record stood for 8 years, the longest since the 1940s. Real Madrid continued with the Galácticos policy by buying Kaká from Milan for €67 million (£56 million),[146] which was the world record in pound sterling. However, both world record in euro and in pound sterling were broke by Real themselves when signing Cristiano Ronaldo for £80m (€94m) from Manchester United in the same transfer window,[135][147] 4 years later Real Madrid broke the record again after completed the signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. Although Real initially insisted that the transfer cost €91.59 million, slightly less than the Ronaldo fee, the deal was widely reported to be around €100 million (around £85.1 million).[148][149] Documents leaked in 2016 by Football Leaks revealed that installments brought the final Bale fee up to a total of €100,759,418.[135][150] In 2016, Manchester United eventually took the record away from Real Madrid, signing French midfielder Paul Pogba for €105 million (£89 million), [151] four years after having released him to Juventus for training compensation.

A year after the Pogba transfer, however, there was a major jump in the record fee. Paris St. Germain matched the €222 million buyout fee of Barcelona's Neymar, converted to a reported £198 million[4][5] or £200 million[2][7] by different sources. This was the first time that the record fee was paid by a French club.

Historical progression[edit]

Comparison of fees in different nations is complicated by varying exchange rates. This table uses British Pound Sterling prior to 1999 and Euro for transfers since then.

[173][174]

Year Player Selling club Buying club Fee (£) Fee (€) Fee (UK£, after adjusted inflation) Percentage change from last record (+ %)
1893 Scotland Willie Groves England West Bromwich Albion England Aston Villa 100[133] 10,003 N/A
1903 England Ben Green England Barnsley England Small Heath 500[152] 48,421 400
1904 Scotland Andy McCombie England Sunderland England Newcastle United 700[153] 68,018 40
1905 England Alf Common England Sunderland England Middlesbrough 1,000[154] 96,843 42
1913 England Daniel Shea England West Ham United England Blackburn Rovers 2,000[155] 177,483 100
1913 England Tommy Barber England Bolton Wanderers England Aston Villa 2,000[156] 177,483 0
1914 England Percy Dawson Scotland Heart of Midlothian England Blackburn Rovers 2,500[157] 216,374 25
1920 England David Jack England Plymouth Argyle England Bolton Wanderers 3,500[158] 126,787 40
1922 England Syd Puddefoot England West Ham United Scotland Falkirk 5,000[159] 246,231 43
1922 England Warney Cresswell England South Shields England Sunderland 5,500[160] 270,854 8
1925 England Bob Kelly England Burnley England Sunderland 6,500[161] 334,339 18
1928 England David Jack England Bolton Wanderers England Arsenal 10,890[162] 591,734 68
1932 Argentina Bernabé Ferreyra Argentina Tigre Argentina River Plate 23,000[162] 1,439,897 111
1949 England Johnny Morris England Manchester United England Derby County 24,000[161] 764,707 4
1949 England Eddie Quigley England Sheffield Wednesday England Preston North End 26,500[161] 844,363 10
1950 Wales Trevor Ford England Aston Villa England Sunderland 30,000[161] 927,018 13
1951 England Jackie Sewell England Notts County England Sheffield Wednesday 34,500[161] 977,275 15
1952 Sweden Hans Jeppson Italy Atalanta Italy Napoli 52,000[162] 1,349,363 51
1954 Uruguay Juan Schiaffino Uruguay Peñarol Italy Milan 72,000[162] 1,777,783 38
1957 Argentina Enrique Omar Sivori Argentina River Plate Italy Juventus 93,000[162] 2,022,112 29
1961 Spain Luis Suárez Spain Barcelona Italy Internazionale 152,000[162] 3,051,347 63
1963 Italy Angelo Sormani Italy Mantova Italy Roma 250,000[162] 4,721,133 64
1967 Denmark Harald Nielsen Italy Bologna Italy Internazionale 300,000[163] 4,910,674 20
1968 Italy Pietro Anastasi Italy Varese Italy Juventus 500,000[162] 7,820,235 67
1973 Netherlands Johan Cruyff Netherlands Ajax Spain Barcelona 922,000[162] 10,055,731 84
1975 Italy Giuseppe Savoldi Italy Bologna Italy Napoli 1,200,000[162] 9,077,920 30
1976 Italy Paolo Rossi Italy Juventus Italy Vicenza 1,750,000[162] 11,359,184 46
1982 Argentina Diego Maradona Argentina Boca Juniors Spain Barcelona 3,000,000[162] 9,548,044 71
1984 Argentina Diego Maradona Spain Barcelona Italy Napoli 5,000,000[162] 14,493,244 67
1987 Netherlands Ruud Gullit Netherlands PSV Eindhoven Italy Milan 6,000,000[162] 15,220,148 20
1990 Italy Roberto Baggio Italy Fiorentina Italy Juventus 8,000,000[162] 16,397,930 33
1992 France Jean-Pierre Papin France Marseille Italy Milan 10,000,000[162] 18,662,944 25
1992 Italy Gianluca Vialli Italy Sampdoria Italy Juventus 12,000,000[162] 22,395,532 20
1992 Italy Gianluigi Lentini Italy Torino Italy Milan 13,000,000[162] 24,261,827 8
1996 Brazil Ronaldo Netherlands PSV Eindhoven Spain Barcelona 13,200,000[162] 22,344,943 2
1996 England Alan Shearer England Blackburn Rovers England Newcastle United 15,000,000[164] 25,391,980 14
1997 Brazil Ronaldo Spain Barcelona Italy Internazionale 19,500,000[162] 32,005,465 30
1998 Brazil Denílson Brazil São Paulo Spain Real Betis 21,500,000[165][166] 34,118,507 10
1999 Italy Christian Vieri Italy Lazio Italy Internazionale 32,000,000[167] 49,000,000 50,166,554 49
2000 Argentina Hernán Crespo Italy Parma Italy Lazio 35,500,000[167] 55,000,000 53,886,592 11
2000 Portugal Luís Figo Spain Barcelona Spain Real Madrid 37,000,000[167] 62,000,000 56,163,490 4
2001 France Zinedine Zidane Italy Juventus Spain Real Madrid 46,600,000[167][42] 77,500,000 68,608,983 26
2009 Brazil Kaká Italy Milan Spain Real Madrid 56,000,000 [168] 67,000,000 67,740,849 20
2009 Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo England Manchester United Spain Real Madrid 80,000,000 [169][170] 94,000,000 96,772,641 43
2013 Wales Gareth Bale England Tottenham Hotspur Spain Real Madrid 86,000,000[171][172] 100,800,000 88,890,498 8
2016 France Paul Pogba Italy Juventus England Manchester United 89,000,000[175][176] 105,000,000 89,000,000 3
2017 Brazil Neymar Spain Barcelona France Paris Saint-Germain 198,000,000[2][7][4][5] 222,000,000[2][7][4][5] 198,000,000 125

Number of records by country[edit]

Country Player records Record selling Record buying
England England 14 17 16
Italy Italy 8 14 18
Argentina Argentina 5 3 1
Brazil Brazil 5 1 0
France France 3 1 1
Scotland Scotland 2 1 1
Netherlands Netherlands 2 3 0
Wales Wales 2 0 0
Portugal Portugal 2 0 0
Spain Spain 1 5 9
Uruguay Uruguay 1 1 0
Denmark Denmark 1 0 0
Sweden Sweden 1 0 0

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

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