It’s hard to argue against the importance of having a great goalkeeper as rarely do we see a team win the Premier League without a top ‘keeper between the sticks.
However, this idea hasn’t really translated into the transfer market yet. As the most expensive goalkeepers of all time are still not going for the sort of money that outfield players are.
This is starting to change a little though, as a few keepers from last summer moved clubs for big money, so we’ll see if that continues in the future. Here are the most expensive goalkeepers in Premier League history….
Petr Cech, £10.9m – Chelsea to ArsenalIn 2015 Petr Cech was in a difficult position as he was still a great goalkeeper, but he lost his place as Chelsea’s first choice keeper. As Thibaut Courtois was beginning to become one of the best between the posts in world football. This meant that Cech had to leave to find first team football and the Blues club had to say goodbye to a club legend.
This was great news for Arsenal though as they had been unable to ever find a replacement for Jens Lehmann and none of the goal keepers they brought in could ever find any consistency. So bringing in Cech was a no brainer for the Gunners, as he was still a top keeper.
Now we’re a few years on and understandably Cech is not quite the goalkeeper he was. He’s still a solid choice for Arsenal though, and definitely not the Gunners biggest problem right now. However the London club will probably be looking for a replacement soon, but for the past few years he has certainly been a vast improvement over the other goalies they’ve had between the sticks since Lehmann.
Claudio Bravo, £17m – Barcelona to Manchester CityThe actual price of the deal for Bravo is a little contentious as the initial fee was around £13.6 million, but with incentives it can rise up to £17 million. Either way he takes the same place on this list.
When Pep Guardiola came into Manchester City a lot of people were worried about Joe Harts future at the club. As Guardiola’s tactics usually involved a goalkeeper who was good with the ball at his feet and could set the tempo with his passing. This didn’t play into the Englishman’s strengths. So it was no surprise when City signed Claudio Bravo and sent Hart out on loan.
This turned into one of the few mistakes that Guardiola has made since joining Manchester City. As Bravo never managed to adapt to the Premier League as unlike in La Liga, every team in England were really quick to close him down when he had the ball. Also, he was out of his depth physically when balls came into the box. The club bought another keeper (more on him later) after Bravo’s first season and the Chilean has had to settle with being a backup ever since.
David De Gea, £18.9m – Atletico Madrid to Manchester United
A lot of people say that David De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world right now and it’s not hard to see why as Manchester United have had a flurry of injuries in the centre back positions this season, yet they still boast the second best defensive record in the Premier League. The Spain international has been able to save his team a lot by making saves that you don’t expect a keeper to make, which is the difference between a good goalkeeper and a world class one.
It wasn’t always like that for De Gea though, as he really struggled to adapt to the English game when he joined United in 2011. He was constantly getting bullied by defenders when coming for crosses which lowered his confidence. It’s crazy to think now, but he genuinely had to compete with Anders Lindegaard to be the first choice keeper for Manchester United at one point. This obviously didn’t last forever though, as when he finally managed to adapt he went from strength to strength to become the player we see now.
The £18.9 million price tag seemed a waste of money after De Gea’s rough start, but now it looks like an absolute bargain. They may struggle to keep him long term however as he’s constantly being linked with Real Madrid. It’s unclear if he’d ever make that move, but if someone does sign him, then it will cost them triple or maybe even quadruple the amount that United bought him for.
Jordan Pickford, £30m – Sunderland to Everton
Who would have thought that out of all the big teams in the Premier League, Everton would have the second most expensive goalkeeper in the league’s history. This is the product of players constantly increasing in price every year as Pickford is a very recent signing for the Toffees, only joining them in the 2017 summer transfer window.
Pickford was one of the few bright sparks in a disappointing 2016/17 season with Sunderland as they were relegated from the Premier League. It was impressive that he was still able to shine as they finished rock bottom of the table and it does make you question how many less points they would’ve gotten without him.
These performances and the fact that he’s only 24 (23 when he signed) prompted Everton to spend big as they perhaps see him as their keeper for years to come. He has had a solid first season on Merseyside which he’ll hope gives him a chance to be England’s number one this summer in the World Cup. If he does become England’s first choice keeper and keeps up his performance levels then Everton could have a hard time holding onto him.
Ederson Moraes, £35m – Benfica to Manchester City
No surprise at all that Manchester City were the ones to spend more than anyone on a goalkeeper. In the 2017 summer transfer market City brought in Ederson for £35 million, making him not just the most expensive goalkeeper in England, but in the world too (in sterling at least as Gianluigi Buffon is still the most expensive in Euros as the exchange rate is different now).
As mentioned earlier in the list Pep Guardiola likes goalkeepers who are willing to take the ball to feet and distribute it. After Bravo didn’t work most managers would’ve bit the bullet and reinstated Joe Hart as the number one goalkeeper. However Guardiola believes in his philosophy and he powered forward by signing Ederson, who is a keeper that has the attributes he wants.
After this season you have to say it’s worked as Ederson has been brilliant at Manchester City during their title winning campaign. He has wonderful distribution of the ball and he also brings a calmness and physicality that Bravo lacked. £35 million is a lot of money, but he’s been worth every penny so far.