With the European transfer deadline fast approaching, Business Leader looks at the top 10 highest transfers in the history of English football.
Just weeks after the English transfer deadline closed, many are wondering if any big names in the Premier League could be leaving for the continent. Could a late Paul Pogba deal to Real Madrid make the list?
Angel di Maria
Details: When Argentinian winger di Maria made his move from Real Madrid to Manchester United in the summer of 2014, it was for a British record fee. He arrived with much fanfare and promise to a United team that was looking to bounce back from an abject season – however – he would only last a season before he was shipped out again to French champions, PSG for £44m.
Despite glimpses of his world-class ability, he never found his place in Louis van Gaal’s team, and by the end of the season, had been rated as one of the worst transfers in the history of English football.
Success or failure?: A mixture of his own inability to adapt and being played out of position led to di Maria being an abject failure for the Red Devils.
Details: Following Thibaut Courtois’ acrimonious exit from Chelsea to Real Madrid, the London-based club needed someone to step in to replace the Belgian stopper. Chelsea then turned to Athletic Bilbao’s young keeper Kepa to fill the void. Having joined on August 8th last year on a seven-year deal, he has had an eventful first season – from saving a penalty against Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL semi-final, to refusing to be subbed in the resulting final, to then saving two penalties in the Europa League semi final, meaning that they made it to the final.
Success or failure?: Ending the season as a Europa League champion is definitely successful – and despite the drama in the EFL final, Kepa has certainly been a success.
Details: On 1 August 2019, it was announced that Pépé had joined Arsenal in a club-record fee of £71.6m, eclipsing the previous record paid for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Upon signing for Arsenal, he was handed the number 19 shirt. On 25 August 2019, Nicolas Pepe became the first footballer to dribble past Virgil Van Dijk in 65 matches, in a game that ended in a 3-1 victory for Liverpool.
Success or failure?: Having only made the move on August 1st, it is to early to tell – however, he has impressed the Arsenal fans with his cameo appearances so far this season.
Details: Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez is no stranger to controversy having been a proven cheat, racist and general deviant to authorities and defenders alike. However, when Barcelona came looking for a new striker, they turned to Liverpool’s number nine. And who could blame him? Suarez won a single League Cup at Anfield and was given the opportunity to play alongside Lionel Messi. Since his transfer in 2014, he was won 13 trophies.
Success or failure?: Morally questionable, but his talent isn’t – huge success.
Virgil van Dijk
Details: Dutch centre back moved from Southampton to Liverpool in January 2018 and has immediately risen to become the most revered defender in world football. A cornerstone of the club’s and his nation’s success over the last 18 months, van Dijk has proven true value for money.
Success or failure?: Success, with only more to come.
Details: Despite being only 26 years’ old, Lukaku is already Belgium’s all-time top goalscorer. Having impressed at Everton, he earnt a move to Manchester United to lead their front line as part of a much-hoped return to glory for the club. Following his move in July 2017, he was expected to fill the shoes of the recently departed Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who later returned).
Success or failure?: Despite the fact that he has scored goals and proven difficult for defences, he hasn’t driven the club in the way the aforementioned Rooney and Ibrahimovic did. The jury is still out on Lukaku, however, he may be on the move again soon.
Details: Harry Maguire is a true inspiration to lower league footballers who are looking to make their way up the football pyramid. Starting his career at his hometown club of Sheffield United in 2011, he went on to move on to bigger clubs, from Hull City, to Leicester, to making his England debut, to securing a world record transfer fee for a defender. ‘Slabhead’ as he is affectionately known
Success or failure?: As he only recently moved to United, it is too early to tell. However, he has already made an impression on the Red Devils faithful – though it is not hard considering who they have to choose from for centre backs.
Value: £80m & £88m
Details: Arguably the greatest player of all time (or Leo Messi, depending on which side of the argument you are on) has secured two large transfers. After leading Manchester United to leagues and Champions League trophies, Ronaldo sought a move to his boyhood club Real Madrid, and in the summer of 2008, he made the transfer for £80m. For nine years, he lit up La Liga and Champions League and also won four more Ballon D’Ors. Then, last season he made the move to Juventus, and even though being in his mid-30s, he is still as prolific as always.
Success or failure?: Greatest of all time.
Details: Despite an understated start to his career at Southampton in the mid-2000s, Bale got a move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. Having proved himself as an able left-back, Bale then made the move to a more forward position, and his career exploded into action. After a few seasons of leading the North London club towards to summit of the Premier League, Bale secured a move to Real Madrid. Four Champions Leagues later and nine other major honours, Bale was rumoured to be on the move this summer. A move to China fell through at the last minute.
Success or failure?: If you speak to Madrid’s notoriously disrespectful fans, they would probably say he is a failure. However, major trophies, 78 goals in 157 games, and incredible match-winning moments – I’d say he’s been a massive success.
Details: Another Premier League icon who sought his dream move to the Bernabeu, Hazard is arguably Chelsea’s greatest ever player. After winning all the is possible to win for the Blues, he moved to Madrid to take on the near-impossible task of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo.
Success or failure?: Having only just made the move, it is too early to tell. But, as a player who is used to carrying club and country on his shoulders at time, he is the ideal candidate to try and carry on the legacy of CR7.
Details: As divisive as he is talented – World Cup winner Paul Pogba has never been too far away from the headlines. From his acrimonious exit as a Manchester United youth player, all the way to his 2016 return for a then world-record fee of £90m, Pogba has always been an incredibly gifted footballer, but many are now wondering if he can give more than he currently does. However, at the World Cup, he proved himself a true leader, and at United, during the club’s worst period, he has yet to drive the team onto greater things despite his best efforts.
Success or failure?: In my opinion, “A success but…” – as he is the most talented and able player at Machester United, yet at times he goes missing when needed the most. Pogba’s form and attitude this year could be the difference between a good or bad year for his team – he is that important.
Details: The only Premier League transfer (so far) that has made it over the £100m marker – and surely a precedent of transfer windows to come. After lighting up the league with great goals and Brazilian brilliance, Coutinho made the move to Barcelona in order to win the Champions League. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Barcelona’s notoriously tough crowd never really took to Coutinho, and this summer made a loan move to German giants Bayern Munich.
Success or failure?: Failure for all involved. However, he is still immensely talented and at now at one of the world’s leading clubs, he could still turn his career around.