Highest spending football clubs: The top European football clubs are among the wealthiest sports organizations in the world. Their worldwide fame helps them earn money from broadcasting rights and many other commercial contracts. Every transfer window, we see some of the giants of Europe consolidating their position by spending big on the transfer market. Below are the top 10 highest spending football clubs on transfers since the start of the 21st century (January 2023).
Top 10 highest spending football clubs in Europe
Under former owner Roman Abramovich and current owner Todd Boehly, Chelsea seems to believe that spending money can solve the problems of the club. The Blues have spent heavily in most transfer windows and seem to have an immediate success craving that cannot be dampened in the club. Chelsea is also the highest net spending club in Premier League.
Sometimes it has backfired, but it has also brought them significant success. Romelu Lukaku (113 million Euros) is Chelsea’s most expensive contract of all time. Wesley Fofana (80.4 million Euros), Kai Havertz (80 million Euros), Kepa Arrizabalaga (80 million Euros), Mykhaylo Mudryk (70 million Euros), Alvaro Morata (66 million Euros), Marc Cucurella (65.3 million Euros), and Christian Pulisic (64 million Euros) are also some of their most expensive contracts.
2: Manchester City
The Abu Dhabi United Group took over Manchester City in 2008 and transformed them into a football power through lavish spending. It seems that Man City has unlimited resources as they continue to easily reinforce their squad each summer. Jack Grealish (117.5 million Euros) is Man City most expensive signing ever.
Kevin De Bruyne (76 million Euros), Ruben Dias (71.6 million Euros), Riyad Mahrez (67.8 million Euros), Joao Cancelo (65 million Euros), Aymeric Laporte (65 million Euros), Raheem Sterling (63.7 million Euros), Rodri (62.7 million Euros) and Erling Haaland (60 million Euros) are some of the other high-value players of the Etihad Stadium owners. Man City is also one of the highest spending football clubs last 5 years.
Barcelona has recently made some surprising moves in the transfer market. Despite facing a financial crisis, they managed to spend more than most European teams last summer by using some financial leverage. With a 140 million Euro price tag, Ousmane Dembele is their most expensive contract.
The Catalan club spent 135 million Euros on Philippe Coutinho and 120 million Euros on Antoine Griezmann. Neymar is their fourth most expensive player at 88 million Euros. Frenkie de Jong (86 million Euros), Luis Suarez (81.72 million Euros), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (69.5 million Euros), Miralem Pjanic (60 million Euros), and Raphinha (60 million Euros) are also their most expensive contracts of all time.
Juventus is seen as a savvy team in the transfer market as they have made some notable free-agent signings in recent times. But just one look at Juve’s spending chart debunks this notion. Juventus is one of the highest spending clubs last 10 years in the world when it comes to transfers.
Cristiano Ronaldo (117 million euros) is the most expensive contract in the history of the Turin-based club. Gonzalo Higuain (90 million euros), Matthijs de Ligt (85.5 million euros), Dusan Vlahovic (81.6 million euros), Arthur Melo (76 million euros), and Gianluigi Buffon (52.88 million euros) are some of their other big contracts.
5: Manchester United
There’s nothing surprising here. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left, Manchester United has made many expensive and poorly advised transfers. Currently, they are doing much better under new coach Erik ten Hag and their transfer activity seems to have improved as well. But the Red Devils are also notorious for their transfer spending. With a transfer fee of 105 million euros, Paul Pogba is Man Utd most expensive signing.
Young winger Antony was signed from Ajax last summer for a transfer fee of 95 million euros. Harry Maguire (87 million Euro), Jadon Sancho (85 million Euro), Romelu Lukaku (84.7 million Euro), Angel Di Maria (75 million Euro), Casemiro (70.65 million Euro), and Bruno Fernandes (63 million Euro) are some others. These are all expensive transfers that Manchester United has made in recent times.
6. Real Madrid
Real Madrid cannot be absent from the list of the highest spending football clubs in the world. They had the ambition of building a team full of stars, not only to win numerous major accolades but also to gain many lucrative advertising contracts.
Los Blancos spent €2.154 billion in the 21st century to create these “oases”. Hazard is the most expensive with €115 million, followed by Gareth Bale (€101 million) and Ronaldo (€94 million).
The other big deals are Aurelien Tchouameni (€80 million), Zinedine Zidane (€77.5 million), James Rodriguez (€75 million), Kaka (€67 million), Luka Jovic (€63 million) and Luis Figo (€60 million).
7. Paris Saint-Germain
Until 2011, PSG was just a mediocre team until it was taken over by a wealthy Qatari owner, which quickly transformed them.
With the ambition to become a dominant force in Europe, the club continuously acquired numerous star players. Notably, the two most expensive transfers in history so far belong to PSG, Neymar (222 million euros) and Mbappe (180 million euros).
Other high-profile transfers include Achraf Hakimi (68 million euros), Edinson Cavani (64.5 million euros), Angel Di Maria (63 million euros), Mauro Icardi (50 million euros), and David Luiz (49.5 million euros).
Liverpool once spent heavily but did not achieve much significant success until Klopp took over. He turned The Kop into a major European power through his astute transfer policies and consistent playing style. Liverpool is also one of the highest spending Premier League clubs.
In the 21st century, the Anfield stadium club spent €1.759 billion. With Van Dijk transfer fee of €85 million, he is the most expensive signing of Liverpool. Followed by Darwin Nunez (€80 million), Alisson Becker (€62 million), Naby Keita (€60 million), Luis Diaz (€47 million), Christian Benteke (€46.5 million), and Fabinho (€45 million).
9. Inter Milan
Inter Milan once thrived under the former chairman Moratti in the transfer market, helping them win the 2010 treble. They won Serie A 2021 after a long drought.
In total, they spent 1.725 billion euros in the 21st century. Lukaku was their most expensive signing at 74 million euros, followed by Joao Mario from Sporting CP in 2016 for 44.78 million euros.
Other expensive deals include Achraf Hakimi (43 million euros), Hernan Crespo (40 million euros), Radja Nainggolan (38 million euros), Geoffrey Kondogbia (36 million euros), and Milan Skriniar (34 million euros).
10. Tottenham Hotspur
It turns out that Tottenham is not as successful as people still thought when they spent 1.574 billion euros in the 21st century. However, the “Spurs” did not win many accolades despite being a formidable force in England.
Tottenham’s most expensive deals are Tanguy Ndombele (60 million euros), Richarlison (58 million euros), Cristian Romero (50 million euros), Davinson Sanchez (42 million euros), and Moussa Sissoko (35 million euros).
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