Top 5 biggest spenders in the transfer market since 2003

European giants feel the pinch after the Covid-19 pandemic. Clubs that are supported by the wealth of their silk stocking owners have been happy to let their purse strings loosen.

The result is that the transfer market has become inflated. A player would have to be paid close to EUR100million a decade ago. This is what a club would pay to sign a player in the transfer market.

We’ve already seen two deals worth more than EUR100 million in this transfer window. Manchester City signed Jack Grealish, a Jack Grealish signee from Aston Villa, for EUR117.5million. Chelsea has announced that Romelu Lukaku, Inter Milan’s new signing, has been signed by them.

Nearly all the big teams that managed to navigate the Covid-19 crisis successfully have had to break the bank this summer in order to sign players. Let’s now take a look at who has been the largest spender in the transfer market since 2003.

#5 Manchester United – EUR1.82 Billion

Manchester United has spent big despite the criticisms of the Glazers for taking club profits and not investing in the club’s success. The problem is that there was no plan for their spending in the Sir Alex Ferguson era until Solskjaer assumed the role.

The club continued to sign players who weren’t right for the club, and this period was fraught with costly flops.

Manchester United broke the bank to sign players such as Romelu Lukaku (84.7 million), Angel Di Maria (72.5 million) and Henrikh Mikhtaryan (42 million). Although all three players are excellent, their stints at Manchester United were not impressive.

Paul Pogba was also purchased by the team for EUR105 million. Jadon Sancho was signed for EUR85 million this summer. Harry Maguire was signed at a cost of EUR87 million.

Although Pogba, Maguire and Maguire have proven their worth, the Red Devils are hoping that Sancho will live up to that promise.

Bruno Fernandes (EUR63million), Anthony Martial(EUR60million) and Fred (559 million) are other big-money signings. Manchester United has become more cautious with their transfer market transactions in recent years.

#4 Real Madrid – EUR1.91 Billion


Real Madrid’s Galactico Project has certainly impacted the club’s finances. The club has decided to adopt a more shrewd approach to the transfer market, after the obsession with Galactico has ended.

Los Blancos have had a long history of attracting top talent from around the globe. They have been able to cash in many times. Their most expensive player is Eden Hazard. He was signed by the club in 2019 for EUR115million.

Gareth Bale signed in 2013 for EUR101 million, and Cristiano Ronaldo for EUR94 million. Multiple times, Real Madrid has broken the world transfer record. It all started in 2001, when Zinedine Zidane was signed by Real Madrid.

Other high-end arrivals from 2003 include James Rodriguez (EUR74million), Kaka (EUR67million), Luka Jovic(EUR64million), Luis Figo (1EUR60 million), and Eder Militao (2EUR50 million).

#3 Barcelona – EUR1.98 billion

The profligacy that has plagued football’s world recently is exemplified by Barcelona. They’ve had to let go Lionel Messi, despite his desire to remain at the club.

Barcelona has spent recklessly in transfer window. They have almost thrown away all of the Neymar’s sales proceeds. Philippe Coutinho was and Ousmane Debele were each purchased by the Catalans for EUR135million. Both players have not done enough to justify their high prices.

To sign Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid’s star footballer, they spent EUR120 million. Neymar Jr. (EUR88.2million), Frenkie de Jong (EUR86million), Luis Suarez, (EUR81.72million) and Zlatan Ibraovic (EUR69.5million) are other big-money signings.

Miralem Pjanic (EUR60million), Malcom (EUR41million) and Andre Gomes (37% million) are some of their other big-money flops.

#2 Manchester City – EUR2.24 Billion

Pep Guardiola deserves a lot for making Manchester City a juggernaut. His coaching skills have not been the only reason for this success. Pep has had the support of the City Football Group in his efforts to obtain the personnel he requires to succeed.

City broke their transfer record to sign Jack Grealish, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, for EUR117 million. The reigning Premier League champions made the most of the money they had. They have benefited from the education they received and recruited well.

Kevin De Bruyne, their second-most expensive signing at EUR76 millions, is Kevin De Bruyne. Other notable City signings include Ruben Dias (EUR68M), Riyad Maharez (EUR67M), Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and Raheem Sterling.

Manchester City has spent more than EUR50million on players like Rodri and Benjamin Mendy, John Stones or Kyle Walker, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva, and Kyle Walker.

#1 Chelsea – EUR2.34 Billion


It’s true. Since 2003, when Roman Abramovich purchased the club, no other club has spent more money on the transfer window than Chelsea. Over the past 20 years, the Blues have been one the most successful Premier League teams and their financial strength has contributed greatly to that success.

Chelsea has taken the trial-and-error route. While some of their big-money signings have been successful, others have failed. Chelsea broke their transfer record by signing Romelu Liukaku from Inter Milan, a staggering EUR115 million.

They broke their transfer record last summer when they signed Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen, a deal worth EUR80 million. Kepa Arizzabalaga may still find redemption, but for now he’s a costly flop after arriving at the club with a deal worth EUR80million.

Alvaro Morata ($66 million), Christian Pulisic ($EUR64 million), Fernando Torres (58.5 million), Jorginho (58.5 million), Timo Werner EUR53 million, Ben Chilwell EUR50.02 million and Jorginho EUR57 million are other notable signings. They have also signed 19 players, each for amounts between EUR30 million to EUR50 million

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