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Football transfer fever - the top 10 most expensive transfers in history

With the Football Association transfer window open once again, we look back at the most expensive transfers in history, and reveal what the players would be worth today.
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Once described by Joey Barton as like ‘Christmas Eve for football fans’ the transfer window is an annual event eagerly anticipated by fans.

It’s a costly exercise securing a star player set to take your club to the top, with billions spent by clubs to compete at the top level.

But how much is spent? And in today’s terms, what does it actually equate to? 

The finance experts at money.co.uk reveal the 10 most expensive transfers ever – and what that really looks like in today’s money.

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The 10 most expensive football transfers in history

10. Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard (1)
  • Club transfer: Chelsea - Real Madrid

  • Cost: £90M

  • Transfer Year: 2019

  • Transfer value today: £92.2M

After seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, the Belgian star was snapped up by Real Madrid making him the world’s most expensive 28-year-old at the time. 

9. Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale
  • Club transfer: Tottenham - Real Madrid

  • Cost: £90.9M

  • Transfer Year: 2013

  • Transfer value today: £106.8M

The Wales star secured a £300,000 per week, six-year deal after sealing the move – which broke the world transfer record at the time. 

8. Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba
  • Club transfer: Juventus - Manchester United

  • Cost: £94.5M

  • Transfer Year: 2016

  • Transfer value today: £106.6M

Jose Mourinho broke records with this wallet-splitting deal which saw the French midfielder head back to United - the club he left four years before. 

7. Cristiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo
  • Club transfer: Real Madrid - Juventus

  • Cost: £105.3M

  • Transfer Year: 2018

  • Transfer value today: £110.6M

This top scoring superstar was snapped up in 2018 for the highest fee ever paid for a player over 30 years old. 

6. Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezman
  • Club transfer: Atletico Madrid - Barcelona

  • Cost: £108M

  • Transfer Year: 2019

  • Transfer value today: 110.7M

Only 28-year-old at the time, this world cup winner signed an eye-popping five-year deal with Barcelona back in 2019. 

5. Ousmane Dembele

Ousmane Dembele
  • Club transfer: Borussia Dortmund - Barcelona

  • Cost: £112.5M

  • Transfer Year: 2017

  • Transfer value today: £121.4M

In one of the most expensive deals of all time, the France international signed a five-year contract at the Nou Camp.

4.  Joao Felix

Joao Felix
  • Clubs: Benfica - Atletico Madrid

  • Cost: £113.4M

  • Transfer Year: 2019

  • Transfer value today: £116.2M

The Spanish club secured talented Felix for a huge sum – the fourth highest ever paid.

3. Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe
  • Club transfer: Monaco - PSG

  • Cost: £121.5M

  • Transfer Year: 2017

  • Transfer value today: £131.1M

When superstar Mbappe signed for league rivals, Paris Saint-Germain, it made him the second most expensive player ever at the time. 

2. Phillippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho
  • Club transfer: Liverpool- Barcelona

  • Cost: £130.5M

  • Transfer Year: 2018

  • Transfer value today: £137.1M

The Brazil international agreed a five-and-a-half-year deal worth £12.1m a season – but it certainly came at a price. 

1. Neymar

Neymar de Silva
  • Club transfer: Barcelona- PSG

  • Cost: £199.8M

  • Transfer Year: 2017

  • Transfer value today: £215.6M

The most expensive player of all time? That’s Neymar, with a mind-blowing transfer deal worth nearly £200m. 

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Methodology

We used historical transfer figures from the CIS Football Observatory to source the most expensive transfers in football history, and an inflation calculator to consider what that would be in today’s money.

About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press such as The Express, Travel Daily, and The Daily Star.

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.

About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press.

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.