Football has been a global market where players are sold and bought among various clubs for an agreed sum of money. It has become even more profitable to the benefiting clubs in recent years, hence, it is necessary to examine the most expensive Premier League transfers.
The teams in the Premier League never disappoint in making those unexpected, jaw-dropping transfers and they’ve been able to complete some of these transfers at a very high price.
The aim of this article is to classify the top ten most expensive transfers completed by Premier League teams.
Top 10 Most Expensive Premier League Transfers
1. Enzo Fernandez – €121m (To Chelsea 2022).
Fernandez arrived at Chelsea from Benfica on which the announcement was made on the deadline day of the 2023 January transfer window, much to the surprise of Chelsea fans worldwide.
Enzo had a very brilliant and successful 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar which saw his side Argentina crowned World Cup champions for the third time.
His performance at the World Cup was what attracted him to, not just Chelsea, but top clubs across Europe after winning the World Cup and Young Player of the Tournament at the age of 21.
Prior to the World Cup, he was already making a statement for himself at Benfica in the Portuguese Primeira Liga after he spent six months at the club and was named Primeira Liga’s Midfielder of the Month for two consecutive months for the short period of time he was at the league.
He was signed by Chelsea in January 2023 for a sum of €121m, below which Benfica were not willing to sell him.
2. Jack Grealish – €117.50m (To Manchester City 2021)
Jack Grealish became the most expensive British player in football after Manchester City splashed €117.50m to acquire him from Aston Villa.
He was Villa’s best player for a long period of time and was rated highly and attracted to other English clubs.
He found it difficult to hit the ground running in his first season at City and there were questions as to if he was worth the price tag which was used to get him.
Despite his very low goals scored and assists provided since he arrived at the club, Pep still uses him a lot in his starting XI.
Apparently, he’s been able to win trophies at the club which includes the iconic 2023 treble.
3. Declan Rice – €116.60m (To Arsenal 2023)
Arsenal were one of the three teams which were in the race to sign the highly talented Declan Rice.
The young Englishman shone his light while at West Ham in which he also became the vice-captain of the club at the young age of 21.
Rice has always been admired by top clubs across Europe but his demand as well as his market value skyrocketed after the vital part he played in midfield to the West Ham side that won the 2023 UEFA Europa Conference League.
Individually, Declan Rice had one of the best 2022/23 Premier League seasons as a defensive midfielder, going toe to toe with players like Rodri, Partey and Casemiro.
Arsenal wasted no time in getting his signature for €116.60m to strengthen their squad for the 2023/24 after they fell out from an opportunity to win the Premier League the previous season to Manchester City.
4. Romelu Lukaku – €113m (To Chelsea 2021)
It is 2021 and Chelsea needed a striker for the upcoming 2021/22 Premier League season.
Thomas Tuchel, the then coach of Chelsea, fancied Romelu Lukaku as his preferred number 9 which they lacked the season before. He also sought to strengthen the team that won the 2021 UEFA Champions League.
He arrived at Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan for a sum of €113m on what looked like a very smart decision by Chelsea.
The Belgian became what many consider to be a huge flop for Chelsea after the highly expectant striker could only deliver 8 goals in the league and 12 in all competitions.
Lukaku was sent back to Inter Milan, this time around, on loan.
5. Paul Pogba – €105m (To Manchester United 2016)
In 2016, Juventus were privileged to have one of the biggest talents in football Paul Pogba. The French man showcased his talents in Serie A and also under the European lights in the Champions League.
Paul Pogba who was initially a Man United academy player, made a return to the club after spending four years at Juventus for a then world record fee of €105m during the Jose Mourinho era at United.
With huge money spent comes huge expectations but Pogba’s time at Manchester United had ups and downs, a lot of criticisms, praises, blames and also had to deal with racism.
He was a Manchester United player from 2016 to 2022, spending 6 years at the club. During that period he made 233 appearances and delivered 39 goals and 51 assists.
6. Antony – €95m (To Manchester United 2022)
Manchester United went all out for the Brazilian youngster, Antony for €95m from Ajax.
Well-known for his dazzling skills, Antony was signed by Manchester United to provide more options at the right-wing position.
Although the goals were not as many as people expected them to be, the little he scored turned out to be crucial goals in big games.
7. Harry Maguire – €87m (To Manchester United 2019)
Harry Maguire became the most expensive defender in world football in 2019 when Manchester United got him from Leicester City for €87m. His outstanding defensive display while at Leicester City was what attracted Man United to signing him.
The main reason Maguire was signed was to provide a player with leadership quality into the Man United dressing room and so, the Englishman walked into the Man United team and was immediately handed the captain hand band.
Years later and it turned out to be another disappointing signing with Maguire making costly mistakes in the team’s defense.
8. Jadon Sancho – €85m (To Manchester United 2021)
Man United’s spending spree continued after they signed Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund for €85m.
Sancho had been a priority for the Red Devils for a long time and finally got his signature in the summer of 2021.
In his debut season, Sancho dropped one of the most disappointing debut seasons in the Premier League, scoring 4 goals and providing 3 assists in 37 games in all competitions.
9. Romelu Lukaku – €84.7m (To Manchester United 2017)
Lukaku appears for the second time in this list, this time around, signed by Manchester United.
Lukaku as a striker scored 25 goals in the league for Everton at the age of 24. Prior to that season, he scored 28 goals in two seasons. This got Manchester United interested in the young lad and went all out to get him at the club.
Lukaku stayed at Man United for 2 seasons and scored 28 Premier League goals and 42 in all competitions.
10. Virgil Van Dijk – €84.65m (To Liverpool 2017)
Liverpool signed Virgil Van Dijk for €84.65m in the summer of 2017 which made him the most expensive defender in football, before that record was broken by Maguire to Man United.
Many Liverpool fans described the price tag as “too much” and slandered the club for spending such an amount for a defender from Southampton. Van Dijk performed above their expectations and turned out to be worth every penny that was spent to get him.
From making back-to-back Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019 to finishing second in the 2019 Ballon d’Or rankings and also winning multiple trophies at the club with the integral part he played in defence, he proved why he was bought for such an amount.
Summary of the Most Expensive Premier League Transfers
The table below shows the top ten most expensive Premier League transfers.
|SN||Players||Age||Season||New Club||Old Club||Fee|
|2.||Jack Grealish||25||2021/22||Man City||Aston Villa||€117.5m|
|3.||Declan Rice||24||2023/24||Arsenal||West Ham||€116.6m|
|4.||Romelu Lukaku||28||2021/22||Chelsea||Inter Milan||€113m|
|5.||Paul Pogba||23||2016/17||Man United||Juventus||€105m|
|7.||Harry Maguire||26||2019/20||Man United||Leicester City||€87m|
|8.||Jadon Sancho||27||2021/22||Man United||Borussia Dortmund||€85m|
|9.||Romelu Lukaku||24||2017/18||Man United||Everton||€84.7m|
|10.||Virgil Van Dijk||26||2017/18||Liverpool||Southampton||€84.65m|
From the table above, we can denote that Manchester United have spent a whole lot on new players. Five of the players here we’re been gotten by the Old Trafford giants as they always continue to flex their financial capabilities.
Romelu Lukaku is the only player to appear more than once on the list with big-money purchases from Manchester United and Chelsea.
It is also important to note that all of these players were acquired in their 20s as their football abilities and market value begin to depreciate afterwards.
So much has been spent by different clubs in getting the required players to play at their various clubs.
In the world of football, the richer clubs have the upper hand as they get to secure top-class players that can stay at the very top for a long period of time.
With only the big six teams on the list, which team outside the big six do you think will be the first to get a player for a huge sum of money to be on this list?