Most Expensive Football Transfers

By  Football Pulp - 17 May 2016

As a football fan, you will agree that the transfer of players between clubs is perhaps the most exciting thing to happen during the summer football break. Since there are only about two months left for the transfer window to start again, we've decided to reignite this excitement a bit by sharing with you the top 10 most expensive player transfers in football history. But first, let us give you some details regarding how the transfer system works and how it came into being.

How the transfer system works?

In professional football, a transfer is the action where a player switches from one club to another. This usually happens when the two clubs agree to a fee which is paid as compensation to the player's existing club by his future club. When the deal is completed, the player's old contract is immediately terminated and he negotiates a new deal with his new club.

Its history

The concept of transfer first came into existence in England in the year 1885, when the Football Association (FA) introduced a player registration system. It allowed clubs to sign a player for only one year, after which it depended on the player whether he wanted to remain with the same club or join another club.

However, after the formation of the Football League, it decided to remodel the registration system to limit the ability of rich football clubs to lure players from other clubs. Now once a player was registered with a club, he could not be registered with another club, even in subsequent seasons, without the permission of the club he was registered with. The freedom of contract didn't exist at that time. The clubs soon realized that they could demand and earn a transfer fee from any club in consideration for agreeing to release or transfer a player's registration.

The top 10 transfers

So, now we come to the part where we share the list that we've compiled of the top 10 most expensive transfers. However, be it known that many of the figures mentioned may not be 100% accurate, as there have been plenty of instances where clubs have not revealed the exact figure of how much a transfer actually cost.

  1. Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United) = £89 million


Paul Pogba joined the ranks of Manchester United from Juventus for a reported £89 million last summer. The French dominant midfielder returned to Old Trafford in one of the most anticipated transfers of the era.

Real Madrid announced on the last day of 2013's summer transfer window that they have acquired Tottenham's soccer star Gareth Bale for an undisclosed fee. However, sources confirmed that the transfer fee paid to Tottenham was around £86 million, therefore, officially breaking the all time transfer record of the most expensive transfer.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United to Real Madrid) = £80 million


After six really successful seasons with Manchester United, where he won plenty of trophies and personal accolades including the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Ballon d'OR, Cristiano Ronaldo left the club to join Real Madrid. It was the most expensive transfer deal in football history at the time and remained so for 5 more years. The Los Blancos had been rebuilding their team of Galacticos, and the buying of Cristiano Ronaldo affirmed this philosophy. The transfer is considered one of the most emotional moments in football history as Ronaldo, at age 24, was already considered as a Manchester United legend.

  1. Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli to Juventus) = £75.3 million


Juventus just landed their main men in the form of Gonzalo Higuain for a record breaking Italian transfer. Higuain has been sensational last season and was on the radar of many top clubs. The interest was there from England, Germany and Spain but Higuain preferred to stay in Italy with the Italian Champions Juventus. The 29 year old will be sensational for Juventus and is expected to play a key role in the development and success of the club.

  1. Luis Suarez (Liverpool to Barcelona) = £75 million


Despite the controversy surrounding Luis Suarez for allegedly biting Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup fixture and being banned by FIFA for four months, Luis Suarez made a move from Liverpool to FC Barcelona for a fee of £75 million, which is Barcelona's club record fee. This was due to the striker's good performance in the Premier League, for Liverpool, as well as for his national team, Uruguay, during the World Cup finals. He went on to become an important part of Barcelona's squad, which went on to win UEFA Champions League, Liga BBVA, and Copa Del Rey.

  1. Neymar (Santos to Barcelona) = £71.5 million


Although, the initial figure revealed was less than £20 million, it was later revealed that it was a misinformation and was part of a fraud being played to avoid paying millions to Neymar's third-party owners and the tax departments. The actual figure, later revealed by Barcelona, was a whopping £71.5 million, making Neymar the fourth most expensive transfer in football history.

  1. James Rodriguez (Monaco to Real Madrid) = £63 million


The golden boy, James Rodriguez, joined Real Madrid from Monaco for a fee of £63 million, making him the fifth most expensive soccer transfer. The attacking-midfielder played a marvelous role in Columbia's climb to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, being the highest scorer of the tournament. His age, talents and wonderful form made him a target of all the elite clubs, but Real Madrid was the one to coax him to its squad.

  1. Angel di Maria (Real Madrid to Manchester United) = £59.7 million

Di Maria

Angel di Maria was an important part of the squad that went on to win the La Decima. He was also the man of the match in the UEFA Champions League Final and his wonderful form continued in the World Cup. However, his role in the Real Madrid squad seemed less enticing after Real Madrid acquired James Rodriguez. Finally, on the last day of the transfer window, Real Madrid announced the departure of di Maria for a fee of £59.7 million, making him the sixth most expensive transfer in football history.

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan to Barcelona) = £59 million


After Real Madrid broke soccer transfers record for the purchase of Kaka and then of Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona had to give some sort of response and change things a bit in an effort to keep up with its bitter rival. They also had to dispose-off Eto' who was quite past his prime. Therefore, they reached a deal with Inter Milan where they traded Eto' for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and paid an additional fee of £59 million.

  1. Kaka (AC Milan to Real Madrid) = £56 million


After two fruitless years of not securing any trophy, and with Barcelona's domination apparent, Real Madrid decided to rebuild its squad, and for that they acquired the services of Kaka, who was one of the elite players at the time. Real Madrid paid £56 million to AC Milan, making him the most expensive football transfer at the time. He currently ranks on number eight as the most expensive football transfer.



So that's it. We hope you've enjoyed our list of the top 10 most expensive soccer transfers in football history. Do let us know whether you liked our efforts or not in the comments section below.

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