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Top 10 biggest transfers in football history

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Transfers are one of the most unique things in football that make the game so unpredictable and interesting. The summer and winter transfer windows every season brings an incredible number of openings and opportunities for players to want to look for career improvement somewhere else or try to rekindle their careers again. Every single window bifold a lot of drama, twists and turns with it, and players sometimes complete unexpected moves that no one saw coming. It is the ultimate chance for a team to reshape their squad and infuse more artillery in the weapon cabinet to go all guns blazing from the next respective season.

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With the summer transfer window for 2022 just around the corner, we here look at some of the biggest transfers that ever happened in the football world. 

Complete list of biggest football transfers in the history of football

S.N Football Player Transfer Amount Transferred From-To
1 Neymar Jr 222 million euros FC Barcelona to PSG
2 Kylian Mbappe 180 million euros AS Monaco to PSG
3 Phillipe Coutinho 145 million euros Liverpool to FC Barcelona
4 Joao Felix 126 million euros Benfica to Atletico Madrid
5 Antoine Greizmann 120 million euros Atletico Madrid to FC Barcelona
6 Romelu Lukaku 115 million euros Inter Milan to Chelsea
7 Jack Grealish 117 million euros Aston Villa to Manchester City
8 Paul Pogba 105 million euros Juventus to Manchester United
9 Ousmane Dembele 105 million euros Borussia Dortmund to FC Barcelona
10 Gareth Bale 100.8 million euros Tottenham Hotspurs to Real Madrid

The Biggest Football Transfers: Neymar Jr – 222 million euros

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Image Source: Paris Saint Germain

It was the summer of 2017 and FC Barcelona produced the biggest comeback ever against Paris Saint-Germain in the UCL round of 16 in the 2016-17 campaign. They came back from a 4-0 deficit away from home to win 6-1 at the Camp Nou. The player who was at the center stage of this comeback was none other than the then 25-year-old Brazilian winger Neymar. Neymar joined Barcelona in 2013 from Santos, showcased his brilliance, and went on to win everything with the Spanish giants. However, it was in 2017 that questions regarding Neymar’s future at Barcelona started to arise. Several media outlets had reported that the Brazilian wanted to leave Barcelona to become an even bigger star than he already was. He wanted to play without Lionel Messi and win the UCL at a new club on his own.

FC Barcelona was however busy trying to sign Marco Verratti from PSG at that moment. But to everyone’s surprise, it was PSG who triggered Neymar’s release clause of 222 million euros and lured him away to the French capital from Spain. Till the time of writing, Neymar has not been able to win the UCL ever again, coming the closest in the 2019-20 season but eventually losing out to Bayern Munich in the final. Once deemed to be the next football superstar, Neymar has certainly not reached the heights in his career that everyone thought he would since leaving FC Barcelona. The deal has not been a huge success but still remains as the biggest transfer ever made making Neymar the highest-paid player. 

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The Biggest Football Transfers: Kylian Mbappe – 180 million euros

Biggest football transfers - KreedOn
Image Source: Get French Football News

In the 2016-17 season, an 18-year-old French teenager took AS Monaco to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and also won the Ligue 1 title by beating PSG. That teenager is now the biggest sensation in world football namely Kylian Mbappe. Monaco was sure after the stellar campaign that bigger clubs would come looking to sign Mbappe and it was a great opportunity for them to cash in on him.

On the conquest to win the UCL, in came PSG and signed Kylian Mbappe for a whopping 180 million euros transfer fees. Since then Mbappe has just gone on to become a better version of himself and at 23 years of age, it is quite sure that he will become much much better. PSG has still not achieved a UCL title but Mbappe has won a World Cup with France since then and smashed a lot of records. With his contract getting over in 2022, there were a lot of speculations about him leaving PSG to join Real Madrid. But Mbappe has brought an end to all these by signing a new contract with Paris till 2025 making him the highest-paid player in the world. There is still time to judge the success of this move if he can win a UCL with them in the coming years. 

The Biggest Football Transfers: Phillipe Coutinho – 145 million euros

Phillipe Coutinho - KreedOn
Image Source: The Guardian

In the January transfer window of 2018, Phillipe Coutinho made a permanent move from Liverpool to FC Barcelona when he was in the prime of his career. Tearing it up in the Premier League with Liverpool, the Merseyside giants were unwilling to let him leave at first but then reluctantly subsided to the player’s will and let him go, conjuring about 145 million euros for the Brazilian. Coutinho came into the Barca side to replace Neymar but horribly failed to do so. Not being an actual left-winger, the Brazilian was often found clueless on the pitch failing to figure out what exactly he should do. Coutinho genuinely looked like a shadow of his brilliant self at Liverpool, failing to adjust to the new style of play in La Liga.

He came here to win the UCL but it was actually funny that his former side, Liverpool went on to win the UCL in 2019 before Coutinho could, defeating Barcelona in the semi-finals in the process as well. However, after bad performances and injury issues, he was loaned out to Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 season where he won the UCL as well as the treble. Bayern thrashed Barcelona 8-2 during this campaign in the UCL and well bizarrely enough Coutinho scored twice and assisted once against his parent club. He was brought back next season with some hope but injuries kept him sidelined for most of the part. In the 2021-22 season, he was loaned back to the Premier League, this time to Aston Villa where Coutinho has regained some of his previous forms. This move has finally been made permanent and needless to say Coutinho’ Barcelona stint was a total flop. 

The Biggest Football Transfers: Joao Felix – 126 million euros

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Image Source: Eurosport

After selling Antoine Greizmann to FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid cooped up the young Portuguese star, Joao Felix from Benfica in 2019 to bolster their attack. The Roji Blancos paid a staggering amount of 126 million euros for the forward. Still 22 years old, the youngster is extremely talented and has already won a La Liga title in the 2020-21 season with Atletico. He has also penned a new seven-year contract with his club and we can hope more success is going to follow the Portuguese there. 

The Biggest Football Transfers: Antoine Greizmann – 120 million euros

biggest football Transfers - KreedOn
Image Source: Everything Barca

After the Phillipe Coutinho transfer did not work out, FC Barcelona signed French international Antoine Greizmann for 120 million euros from Atletico Madrid in 2019. When Greizmann joined the club, eyebrows were raised as to how exactly he would fit into the squad. Rightly so, Greizmann’s goal contributions were really less in number in his first season with the club. But however, the amount of effort and work rate he put into the game when he was on the pitch was extraordinary. The next season his contributions improved and so did his partnership with Leo Messi but in the 2021-22 season, Greizmann was loaned back to Atletico Madrid where he has failed to register any significant impact as well. This move cannot be justified as a success from any angle and the 31-year-old’s future is still uncertain. 

READ | Do you know who won the maximum golden boots?

Jack Grealish – 117 million euros

Jack Grealish - KreedOn
Image Source: Sky Sports

From earning them a promotion from the Championship to the Premier League and then helping them stay up as well in the next season, Jack Grealish played a monumental part in Aston Villa’s current progress as a club. Overshadowed by the struggles of the team, the English international established himself strongly in front of the world in the 2020-21 season. Grealish was one of the best players in the Premier League that season and helped Aston Villa to a respectable mid-table finish.

With his future insecure, Villa signed their captain to a new deal setting up a release clause of 117 million euros. But in the summer of 2021, Manchester City triggered the clause to make Jack Grealish’s transfer the league’s highest ever. Since his move to Manchester, Grealish has already won the Premier League but has failed to cement his place in the starting eleven. His debut campaign has not been as great as he would have hoped for and he would definitely look to change it in the coming 2022-23 season. 

Romelu Lukaku – 115 million euros

Romelu Lukaku - KreedOn
Image Source: Eurosport

After a stunning campaign with Inter Milan in Serie A and winning the Scudetto, Romelu Lukaku was linked with a move back to his former club, Chelsea in the Premier League. The deal was finalized and Chelsea paid 115 million euros to secure his signing but since then everything has gone downhill for the Belgian. He has struggled to find form and feet under Tomas Tuchel while controversies have also not left Lukaku alone. The transfer has definitely not been a success and he has already been tipped with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2022.

Paul Pogba – 105 million euros

Paul Pogba - KreedOn
Image Source: Caughtoffside

Manchester United let their own player, Paul Pogba leave the club for free in 2012 to Juventus while again paying a sum of 105 million euros to bring him back to the club in 2016. He is again set to leave in 2022 for free. This whole saga has been bizarre and Pogba’s Manchester United return is anything but a success. The midfielder won only two trophies with the Red Devils and put up a lot of inconsistent performances throughout his stay at the club. He was regularly dropped from squads after falling out with Jose Mourinho. Injuries also curtailed his playing time and the whole love-hate relationship between Pogba and Man United is finally over. 

Ousmane Dembele – 105 million euros

Ousmane Dembele - KreedOn
Image Source: The Pride of London

The first player FC Barcelona brought in to fill the big shoes Neymar left was the French youngster, Ousmane Dembele. The Borussia Dortmund winger had an incredible season in Bundesliga showcasing his talent which persuaded Barca to pay 105 million euros in 2017 to secure his signature. Since then what has happened between Barcelona and Dembele is not really a happy relationship. Still only 25, the Frenchman is a really talented player and he has shown it for the club on the pitch whenever he has played.

But injuries, injuries, and more injuries have seen him miss more games than play for the club during his tenure. He has been lively every time he has got the chance but soon after a massive injury threat has ruined Dembele’s rest of the season. Even though Xavi counts on him and wants him to stay, being out of contract this summer, Dembele might very well leave Barcelona for free. 

READ | List of FIFA World Cup Winners Name

Gareth Bale – 100.8 million euros

Gareth Bale - KreedOn
Image Source: Football Espana

After taking the Premier League by storm in the 2012-13 season, Gareth Bale earned himself a move from Tottenham Hotspurs to Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 for 100.8 million euros, the record transfer fee at that moment. Since Bale’s transfer to the Spanish capital, his whole career has been a big what could have been. The Welshman had a brilliant first couple of seasons under Carlo Ancelotti winning the UCL and Copa Del Rey. But then injuries started to curtail his playing career. Even with his injury problems, when he was in form Bale had been ever-prolific for the Los Blancos winning three consecutive UCL titles along with the heroics in the 2018 UCL final.

Bale has been one of the best Real Madrid players over the last decade still not as loved by the fans as the other ones. Falling out with manager Zinedine Zidane saw him being loaned out back to Spurs in the 2020-21 season. At the end of the 2021-22 season, Gareth Bale has played his last game for Real Madrid while a new card is on the move for the Wales international. 

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Niladri Chakraborty
Niladri Chakraborty
A creative mind and a free soul, Niladri Chakraborty is an extremely passionate football enthusiast. He bleeds for Liverpool FC and currently pursuing a MBA degree in Sports Management, with a dream to work for the club he loves in the future. Keen about football analytics and scouting, Niladri's love for writing made him join KreedOn to express his thoughts. He is also a movie buff, loves music and loves reading about spirituality, psychology and world history to boost his knowledge, which remain the most favorite topics for him beside football.


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