The history of the most expensive defender in the world

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Manchester United have made Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the history of football.

The Red Devils paid Leicester £80 million for the centre-back, surpassing both the amount Juventus paid for Matthijs de Ligt and Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk.

As good as Maguire is, to think that he’s the most expensive defender ever is pretty crazy.

After all, just five years ago he was signing for Hull City for a mere £2.5 million.

Maguire ended up getting relegated with Hull but United have now paid 32 times the amount the Tigers paid back in the summer of 2014.

It just sums up how crazy the football transfer market is right now.

Another way of identifying just how inflated the market has got is by looking at the history of the world’s most expensive defender.

England v Spain - UEFA Nations League A

And using figures from transfrmarket.com, we’ve done just that.

Going all the way back to the first ever transfer fee paid for a defender - Henk Tijm back in 1961 - we’ve followed the record all the way up to yesterday when Maguire signed for Man Utd.

Let’s take a look:

  • Harry Maguire | Man Utd | £78.30m | 2019
  • Matthijs de Ligt | Juventus | £76.95m | 2019
  • Virgil van Dijk | Liverpool | £76.19m | 2018
  • Benjamin Mendy | Man City | £51.75m | 2017
  • John Stones | Man City | £50.04m | 2016
  • David Luiz | PSG | £44.55m | 2014
  • Rio Ferdinand | Man Utd | £41.40m | 2002
  • Lilian Thuram | Juventus | £37.35m | 2001
  • Rio Ferdinand | Leeds | £23.40m | 2000
  • Walter Samuel | Roma | £18.72m | 2000
  • Jaap Stam | Man Utd | £15.30m | 1998
  • Roberto Rios | Athletic Bilbao | £10.80m | 1997
  • Vincent Candela | Roma | £8.64m | 1997
  • Aldair | Roma | £8.10m | 1990
  • Ronald Koeman | Barcelona | £5.11m | 1989
  • Miquel Soler | Barcelona | £2.70m | 1988
  • Richard Gough | Rangers | £2.25m | 1987
  • Mark Lawrenson | Liverpool | £1.67m | 1981
  • Kenny Sansom | Arsenal | £1.04m | 1980
  • Franz Beckenbauer | NY Cosmos | £810k | 1977
  • Uwe Kliemann | Hertha Berlin | £387k | 1974
  • David Nish | Derby | £249k | N/A
  • Dick Schneider | Feyenoord | £245k | 1970
  • Karl-Heinz Schnellinger | Roma | £225k | 1963
  • Heinz Schneiter | Lausanne-Sport | £78k | 1962
  • Henk Tijm | Ajax | £51k | 1961
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Where next?

In 20 years, the record fee for a defender has increased by £63m.

Will transfer fees continue to rise at such an incredible rate? If they do, we can expect a defender to leave for £143m in 2039.

Or will the market begin to settle? 

Time will tell...

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