With the summer transfer window starting to get into full swing and rumours of mega money moves dominating the headlines, we thought it would be the perfect time to check out the five most expensive transfer deals of all time …
5. Paul Pogba – Juventus to Manchester United – £89m – 2016
Having left United to join Juventus in 2012 having become frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities, French midfielder Paul Pogba re-joined Manchester United in 2016 in a stunning £89m deal that smashed the world transfer record.
Having come through the United academy after he initially joined in 2009, it took a move to Italy for Pogba to truly flourish. Given his opportunity in Turin, Pogba won four consecutive Series A titles, featuring in the division’s Team of the Year on three occasions. His performances were enough to persuade Jose Mourinho to break the transfer record, previously held by Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid, to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford.
His debut season saw more silverware delivered in the form of the League Cup and Europa League, but his two seasons back in the Premier League have seen flashes of brilliance mixed with inconsistency, with his manager often criticised for the way he utilises the Frenchman. Having starred during this summer’s World Cup, including scoring in the final as France lifted the trophy, hopes have been raised that Pogba, now 25, can add consistency to his undoubted potential.
4. Ousmane Dembele – Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona – £96.8m – 2017
Signed to fill the void left by a player featuring later in this list, Barcelona paid an eye-watering £96.8m to bring 20-year-old Ousmane Dembele to the club from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
The deal capped a meteoric rise for Dembele, and a substantial profit for Dortmund, who only signed the winger from French club Rennes the previous summer for around £13m. Having been crowned France’s Young Player of the Year in 2015/16, his solitary season in German football saw him score 10 goals and produce 21 assists as Dortmund lifted the German Cup.
Injuries and competition for places saw him struggle to establish himself in his debut season at the Nou Camp, but having been a part of France’s World Cup winning squad, Dembele will return to Spain hoping to cement his place at the La Liga champions.
3. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool to Barcelona – £106m – 2018
After seeing three bids rejected in the 2017 summer transfer window, Barcelona finally got their man in January 2018 for an initial fee of £106m that could potentially rise to £142m. Having forged a reputation as one of the Premier League’s finest players during a five-year spell at Liverpool, Barcelona targeted the diminutive Brazilian as they looked for a long-term replacement for club legend Andres Iniesta.
Inheriting the number 14 shirt made famous at the Nom Camp by the legendary Johan Cruyff, Coutinho’s first half season at the club saw him score eight goals and provide five assists in 16 starts as Barcelona claimed a La Liga and Copa Del Rey double.
2. Kylian Mbappe – Monaco to PSG – £120m – 2018
It seems extraordinary that Kylian Mbappe, just 19-years-old, features so highly in this list but Mbappe is no ordinary talent. Having burst onto the scene in 2016/17 as part of Leonardo Jardim’s attacking young Monaco side which reached the Champions League semi-finals, Mbappe joined PSG on an initial season-long loan deal which has been made permanent for £120m.
Part of a dangerous frontline featuring Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Mbappe scored 21 goals in his debut season in Paris as PSG claimed a domestic treble. He took that form into this summer’s World Cup scoring four goals, including becoming just the second teenager after Pele in 1958 to score in the final, as France lifted the trophy. Later crowned the tournament’s best young player, the sky is the limit for a player many are tipping as a future Ballon D’or winner.
1. Neymar – Barcelona to PSG – £198m – 2017
The deal that perhaps changed transfer fee’s forever, PSG smashed the world transfer-record by activating the release clause, set at 222m euros, to sign Brazilian superstar Neymar from Barcelona.
Having spent four years as chief support act to Lionel Messi, Neymar decided to step out of the shadow of the world’s best player and take on a new challenge in France. A foot injury prematurely ended his season, having started his Ligue 1 career with 19 goals in just 20 appearances. The Qatari backed Parisian’s have dominated the domestic scene since their takeover in 2011, but the signing of Neymar was designed with the ultimate prize in mind, the Champions League.
Europe’s premier prize has alluded the club’s project so far but with the addition of Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe, PSG will be hoping their expensively assembled squad can deliver in the coming seasons.