Football: 10 Most Expensive Transfers

May 31, 2010 by Sal

Spanish champions Barcelona started off the summer transfer battle, as they completed the transfer of Valencia’s attacker David Villa about a month before the start of the World Cup.

The Catalan side didn’t hesitate to pay Valencia £34.2m for the services of the Spanish international, over-paying on most occasions for players to add to their substitutes list. Same way they didn’t hesitate to pay €24m in 2007 for Thierry Henry to sign a four-year deal for a reported £4.6m per season. Henry was seen as a disappointment by some as his age seemed to have caught up and lost his starting position in the team to the younger Pedro Rodriguez. Knowing that his future lies away from the Camp Nou, Barcelona forward Thierry Henry will ask the club for a free transfer to his next club, according to AS. His next move is strongly rumored to be to either the New York Red Bulls of the MLS or the Premier League’s West Ham, second to Becks.

Pre-1999, only three major transfers ever took the headlines. They were Alan Shearer’s transfer in 1996 from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle United for £15m, Ronaldo’s transfer in 1997 from Barcelona to Internazionale for £19.5 and Denilson’s transfer in 1998 from Sao Paulo to Real Betis for £21.5m.

Post-1999, European football experienced a transfer bubble fuelled by rapidly rising television rights sales between 1999 and 2002, that eventually extended to our current days. The three most expensive transfers since that time were all made by Spanish clubs in 2009, two by Real Madrid and one by Barcelona.  Real landed Kaka from AC Milan in a £56m deal, breaking the record that they had held since 2001, when they signed Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for £45.62m. While the previous record last nearly eight years, that one stood for only a few weeks, as Real blew it with the highly-anticipated signing of Christiano Ronaldo for £80m.

The following table shows the top 13 highest transfer fees ever paid in GBP. All the transfer fees over £25 million have involved clubs in England, Italy or Spain on both sides of the deal.

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