The last year has seen quite a few major players move between clubs – and some quite fabulous amounts changing hands in the process. While none of them were as big as the one paid by Paris Saint Germain for Brazilian football legend Neymar, they were big enough to go down in history. In total, the top 10 most expensive player transfers cost clubs around £750 million (almost €850 million or $954 million). Here are the top 5 football transfers of the year 2018 that have left the biggest holes in some clubs’ budgets.
5. Kepa Arrizabalaga
The transfer of Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga Revuelta from Bilbao to Premier League club Chelsea broke a world record last year: with a release clause of €80 million / £71.6 million, he became the most expensive goalkeeper ever. His debut at Chelsea was grand: he kept six clean sheets in the team’s 12-match unbeaten run in the Premier League in his first season, a performance not even bookies like Betway would have dared to list odds for.
4. Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk made his professional debut with FC Groningen before moving to Scottish team Celtic in 2013. After two seasons with the Scottish team, he moved to the Premier League, joining Southampton at first, and leaving for Liverpool last year. He is considered one of the best defenders in the world, and it shows: his move to Liverpool set the club back €84.5 million / £75 million.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
Signing Ronaldo was a record for Juventus: he is the most expensive player ever to join the team (and any other Italian club, for that matter). The transfer broke another record, too: the €100 million transfer fee was the highest sum ever paid for a player over 30 years of age. Considering his more than 700 career goals, this fabulous fee seems justified, right?
2. Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho Correira has seen his “price” go up exponentially throughout his career. When Inter signed him in 2008, it played just €4 million for the talented youngster. When joining Premier League side Liverpool in 2013, the club paid £8.5 million to have him. His five years in England did wonders for him, though – he flourished while there, earning the nickname “The Magician” thanks to his vision, passing and dribbling skills. When he signed with Barcelona last January, the Catalan team had to pay a reported €142 million to have him, making him the second most expensive player in 2018 and the third most expensive in the world.
1. Kylian Mbappé
Mbappé spent the 2017-2018 season on loan at Paris Saint Germain, proving his worth in the field – and at the World Cup, showing the world how good he really is. PSG made his contract permanent last year, paying a reported fee of €180 million to have him. This made him the most expensive teenage player ever (he was 19 at the time), the second most expensive player in the world (after Neymar) and perhaps the next football legend we’ll get to cheer for in the field.