When Neymar left the Spanish club Barcelona to continue playing with the French club Paris Saint Germain, his transfer set the bar very high when it comes to the money that changed hands. The Parisian club paid the all-time world record transfer fee for the player – €222 million euros. While the last few years have seen many high-profile player transfers that broke smaller records, none of them came even close to the above-mentioned transaction. This doesn’t mean that they were not expensive, though.
Having the best possible lineup is important for every club. The players’ talent and ability to work together has a huge influence on who will win the Champions League or the clubs’ respective local leagues. To have the best possible lineups, many clubs don’t shy away from spending serious amounts on attracting talented players to their side. This year, these were the most expensive ones (so far).
João Cancelo to Manchester City (€65 million)
Cancelo made his debut at Benfica in 2012, spending two years with the B team and being promoted to the first team in 2014. He only played one league game with the squad, though: after a season on loan at Valencia, the club made it permanent in 2015. Three years and another loan spell later, Cancelo left La Liga for Serie A, joining the ranks of Juventus in 2018. His stay in Italy was short, though – a season later, he signed a six-year deal with Premier League champion Manchester City, in a transfer worth £27.4 million plus Danilo.
Cancelo is the most expensive right-back ever transferred, and the fifth most expensive footballer of 2019.
Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan (€80 million)
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku made his senior debut at Anderlecht in 2009. After just two seasons with the club, he left Belgium for the Premier League, playing for teams like Chelsea, Everton, and Manchester United. This year was his last at Old Trafford, though – in August, he joined Serie A team Inter Milan in a transfer worth €80, making his debut both as a player and a goalscorer on August 26.
Harry Maguire to Manchester United (€87 million)
Maguire’s transfer to Old Trafford also broke a world record: he is currently the most expensive defender in football history. He made his senior debut as Sheffield in 2011, then played for the likes of Hull, Wigan, and Leicester for the next eight seasons. This summer, United reportedly made a £70 million offer for the player, then an improved one of £80 million that finally convinced Maguire (and Leicester) to proceed with the transfer.
Maguire showed his worth in his first match at Old Trafford – he received the “Man of the Match” award in a home victory against Chelsea.
Eden Hazard to Real Madrid (€100 million)
Eden Hazard is considered one of the best active footballers in the world today. A Belgian native, he went pro with French side Lille in 2007, becoming a prolific goalscorer for the team. Then, he heard the call of the Premier League, joining Chelsea in 2012 and staying there for seven seasons. During this time, he won everything from the Premier League Player of the Season to the FIFA World Cup Silver Ball. This summer, the time has come for him to move on: La Liga side Real Madrid signed him in a transfer contract worth €100 million, the same amount Juventus paid for Cristiano Ronaldo one year before.
Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona (€120 million)
The most expensive player this year is Frenchman Antoine Griezmann who left Real Madrid for Barcelona in a transfer worth €120 million. Despite being born in France, Griezmann made his debut at the Spanish side Real Sociedad. After five seasons and 180 league games there, he joined the ranks of Real Madrid – incidentally, also for 180 league games in five seasons. Griezmann was presented at Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s home stadium, this July.