Over the last two decades, football clubs have been spending huge sums of money to get their preferred players on board. At the same time, with the increased TV revenues and new sponsorship deals, clubs are earning more money than ever before.
As a by-product of this, an average footballer’s value has increased by leaps and bounds. Although a seismic shift can be observed since the start of the 21st century, clubs have really dug dip into their pockets since the start of the last decade.
As football clubs keep on spending, we take a look at the most expensive transfers each season from 2010-11 to 2019-20.
2010-11: Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea for €58.5m)
Spanish legend Fernando Torres made a then-British record by joining Chelsea from Liverpool for €58.5 million in January 2011. The renowned goal poacher joined the London giants after donning the Liverpool shirt for four-and-a-half seasons.
Despite winning three trophies, including one UEFA Champions League title and one UEFA Europa League crown, Torres’ time at Stamford Bridge can be considered flop as the Spaniard made very little impact in changing Chelsea’s fortunes on the field.
In 170 odd appearances for the Blues, the gifted centre-forward, who is now retired, found the back of the net 45 times only. After plying his trade for three-and-a-half-seasons at Chelsea, Torres joined AC Milan on a two-year loan in August 2014.
2011-12: Javier Pastore (Palermo to Paris Saint-Germain for €42m)
Javier Pastore’s €42 million move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain from Palermo was the most expensive transfer back in the 20111-12 season. The gifted Argentine was named the Serie A Young Footballer of the Season the year before he made his move to the French capital.
The elegant, creative and visionary playmaker appeared for more than 260 matches for Les Parisiens, winning five Ligue 1 titles in the process. Pastore also inherited PSG’s famous number 10 shirt from the departing Zlatan Ibrahimovich ahead of the 2016-17 season, before leaving for AS Roma for a reported fee of €24.7 million in 2018.
2012-13: Thiago Silva (AC Milan to Paris Saint Germain for €42m)
Brazilian international Thiago Silva joined the Ligue 1 giants a year later after Javier Pastore’s arrival for a reported fee of €42 million from AC Milan, thereby becoming the season’s most expensive transfer. Silva established himself as one of the best defenders in the world after leading the Rossoneri to the Serie A title in the 2010-11 season.
Since his arrival at the French capital, Silva has been one of the most trusted troops in the PSG set-up, making 310 appearances across all competitions, winning multiple accolades both individually and collectively. After serving the club for almost eight years, the 35-year-old defender is all set to leave PSG as a free agent this summer.
2013-14: Gareth Bale (Tottenham to Real Madrid for €101m)
Gareth Bale completed his dream move to Real Madrid back in 2013 in a then-world-record transfer fee of €101 million. The Wales international was the recipient of the 2011-12 PFA Player of the Year award after flourishing in a winger’s role at White Hart Lane, before joining the Spanish giants.
Widely regarded as one of the most potent attacking forces of all time, Bale, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema dominated the European continent like nobody else. The holy trinity of Bale, Benzema and Cristiano (BBC) helped Madrid in winning the Champions League four times in only five seasons.
2014-15: Luis Suarez (Liverpool to Barcelona for €81.7m)
Barcelona lured Luis Suarez away from Anfield in the summer of 2014 for a reported transfer fee of €81.7 million – the most expensive transfer of the season. The Uruguayan, who was serving a four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in a 2014 World Cup match, completed his move to the Catalan giants but had to wait till October to make his debut for his new employers.
Since then, the gifted striker has scored a combined total of 195 goals across all competitions for Barcelona and has been a great servant of the club with his exploits in front of goal. With Suarez in the middle and Neymar and Lionel Messi in both wings, Barcelona were unstoppable at tmes.
2015-16: Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg to Manchester City €76m)
Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne was the season’s most expensive transfer after returning to the Premier League, following his move to Manchester City from German side Wolfsburg for €76 million back in 2015. Since then, the former Chelsea player has been a great hit at the Etihad and has come a long way to become one of the best in the business.
In 200 odd appearances for City so far, De Bruyne has found the back of the net on 54 occasions and set up 87 more. Manchester City’s creator-in-chief was also named the Premier League Playmaker of the Season back in the 2017-18 season after providing 16 assists.
2016-17: Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United €105m)
In the summer of 2016, Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United in a Premier League record transfer fee of €105 million after plying his trade at Juventus for four seasons. The Manchester United academy graduate made a name for himself in Italy with his all-round attributes in the middle of the park.
Pogba, who can fit in a variety of roles in midfield, has made 155 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils so far. Although the superstar is yet to maximize his potential at Old Trafford, Pogba is still rated amongst one of the most dynamic midfielders in the world.
2017-18 Neymar Jr (Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain €222m)
Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222 million move back in 2017. The flamboyant attacker collected multiple accolades both individually and collectively during his four-year spell at the Catalan club, before moving to the French capital three years back.
In 80 appearances for the French giants so far, Neymar has 69 goals and 39 assists to his name. However, the Brazilian’s stock has decreased drastically since his big-money move to PSG due to several off-field issues. He has been linked with a return to Barcelona next season.
2018-19: Kylian Mbappe (AS Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain €145m)
Paris Saint-Germain signed Kylian Mbappe from Monaco permanenetly for a reported transfer fee of €145 million back in 2018 – the most expensive transfer of the season. The highly-rated youngster joined Les Parisiens on loan the season before after helping Monaco to the Ligue 1 title.
Widely tipped as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor, Mbappe has managed to justify his huge price tag by scoring 90 times in only 120 appearances across all competitions for PSG. Since his move to the French capital, Mbappe has looked all set to dominate world football in the upcoming years.
2019-20: Joao Felix (Benfica to Atletico Madrid €126m)
Spanish giants Atletico Madrid went big in the summer of 2019 to rope in Joao Felix from Benfica for €126 million. The talented prodigy joined Los Rojiblancos on the back of a breakthrough season with the Portuguese side, for whom he scored 20 goals in only 40 appearances. He was expected to replace Antoine Griezmann, who left Atletico for Barcelona in the same transfer window.
Regarded as one of the most promising young players at this time, Felix is yet to hit top gear for Diego Simeone’s side. The 28-year-old has somewhat struggled to fit in a more technically sound league in Spain, scoring only six times in 26 appearances.