The 25 clubs with the biggest transfer net spent this decade

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As we go from the 2010s to 2020s, spending in football shows no signs of slowing down.

A little more than three years ago, fans thought it was crazy that Manchester United were spending £86 million on Paul Pogba. At the time, it was a world-record transfer fee.

A year later, that record was obliterated when Paris Saint-Germain secured the services of Neymar for £200 million.

You’d imagine that fee would be eclipsed if Kylian Mbappe was to ever leave PSG in the coming years.

But spending a lot of money doesn’t always breed success.

To prove that, we’ve identified the 25 clubs with the greatest net spend this decade and tried to work out whether it’s been money well spent or not.

All data has been collected from transfermarkt.co.uk.

25 | Shanghai SIPG | Net spend: £175m

The Chinese side have made numerous high-profile signings in recent years with Oscar, Hulk and Marko Arnautovic all making the move from Europe.

They claimed the title in 2012 and 2018.

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24 | Leicester | Net spend: £186m

Assembling a squad capable of challenging for a Champions League place comes at a price. This summer, the Foxes spent almost £100m on Youri Tielemans, Ayoze Perez and Dennis Praet.

In the summer of 2018, they signed the likes of James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu.

It’s been money well spent, though, and they have a Premier League trophy to show for their troubles.

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23 | RB Leipzig | Net spend: £191m

This is a bit of a false position for RB Leipzig because they have numerous quality players in their squad that they signed relatively cheaply and will, one day, sell for a lot more.

Dayot Upamecano arrived for less than £10m, Timo Werner for not too much more and Emil Forsberg for a little more than £2 million.

All three would command a huge fee in today’s market.

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22 | Stoke | Net spend: £191m

Oh dear. Stoke now find themselves in the Championship after some relatively expensive flops.

Giannelli Imbula (£18.3m), Xherdan Shaqiri (12m), Joe Allen (£13m), Said Berahino (£12m), Kevin Wimmer (£18m), Badou Ndiaye (£14m) and Benik Afobe (£12m) are just some examples of their poor record in the transfer market.

They're currently in the relegation zone in the Championship.

Stoke City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship

21 | Napoli | Net spend: £195m

Napoli have actually spent more than £600m this decade - although they’ve also received more than £400m.

The Italian side spent in excess of £100m last summer with Hirving Lozano and Konstantinos Manolas the main arrivals.

Their most expensive recruit this decade was Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid ahead of the 2013/14 campaign, who signed for £35m.

SSC Napoli v KRC Genk: Group E - UEFA Champions League

20 | Bournemouth | Net spend: £198m

Bournemouth are considered one of the smallest clubs in the Premier League and are often praised for punching above their weight.

But they like to splash the cash.

Jefferson Lerma (£25m), Nathan Ake (£20m) and Dominic Solanke (£20m) are their three most expensive signings to date.

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19 | Guangzhou Evergrand Taobao | Net spend: £208m

Another Chinese Super League side to make the top 25.

Guangzhou’s signings of Paulinho, Jackson Martinez and Talisca have set them back £276m this decade, while they’ve recouped £88m.

Melbourne Victory v Guangzhou Evergrande - AFC Champions League Group F

18 | Aston Villa | Net spend: £212m

Aston Villa have attempted to secure their Premier League survival with the signings of Wesley, Tyrone Mings and Douglas Luis.

At the start of the decade, they also spent more than £20m on Darren Bent.

Aston Villa v Liverpool FC - Carabao Cup: Quarter Final

17 | Zenit St. Petersburg | Net spend: £217m

The Russian side have made three main signings this decade - Malcom, Hulk and Axel Witsel - who all cost £36m.

It's seen them win four Russian Premier League titles this decade.

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16 | Brighton | Net spend: £220m

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises in the list.

Brighton didn’t become a Premier League side until the 2017/18 season and yet they’ve somehow got a net spend of £220m.

Their three most expensive signings came last summer in the form of Neal Maupay, Adam Webster and Leandro Trossard.

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15 | Wolves | Net spend: £234m

Wolves have something to show for their money - a place in the Europa League knockout stages.

Raul Jimenez (£35m) is by far the club’s most expensive signing of the decade and he’s proven to be money very well spent.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

14 | Everton | Net spend: £252m

Everton haven’t had much joy in the last decade despite spending almost £600m!

Gylfi Sigurdsson was the costliest at £45m, while Richarlison and Romelu Lukaku both commanded fees in excess of £30m.

The Toffees have recovered more than £350m in player sales, though.

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13 | West Ham | Net spend: £256m

Similarly to Everton, West Ham haven’t had too much joy from their hefty net spend.

They spent £36m on Sebastien Haller in the summer but the striker hasn’t exactly hit the ground running.

Southampton FC v West Ham United - Premier League

12 | Liverpool | Net spend: £297m

It’s pretty impressive that the European champions are only 12th in this list.

The Reds have actually spent more than £900m this decade but they’ve received almost £650m in player sales.

Virgil van Dijk set the club back £75m, while Alisson and Naby Keita make up the top three most expensive players the club have signed.

They still don’t have a Premier League title to show for it - although that might change at the start of next decade…

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11 | Bayern Munich | Net spend: £328m

It’s been a decade of near dominance for Bayern Munich in Germany, while they also claimed the 2012/13 Champions League.

In the transfer market, they splashed an eye-watering £72m on Lucas Hernandez ahead of this season.

Their next most expensive signing was Corentin Tolisso, who they brought for £37m.

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10 | Inter Milan | Net spend: £333m

Inter spent £74m on Romelu Lukaku last summer, the club’s most expensive signing in their history.

Joao Mario, Radja Nainggolan and Geoffrey Kondogbia have all arrived at the San Siro for hefty fees down the years.

They achieved a Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia treble at the start of the decade but it hasn't been the greatest 10 years for I Nerazzurri.

FC Internazionale v SPAL - Serie A

9 | Real Madrid | Net spend: £397m

You’d expect Real Madrid to have a net spent of more than £397m in the last decade. They have, however, spent more than £1bn on the likes of Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Los Blancos have also cashed in £650m - helped by the sale of Ronaldo to Juventus.

They’ve got four Champions League trophies to show for it this decade.

Club Brugge KV v Real Madrid: Group A - UEFA Champions League

8 | Arsenal | Net spend: £413m

It hasn’t been a great decade for the Gunners. To think that their net spend is greater than Real Madrid’s when the Spanish side have four European Cups to their name since 2010 and Arsenal have three FA Cups.

Their expenditure has come from splashing £72m on Nicolas Pepe, £57m on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and £47m on Alexandre Lacazette.

West Ham United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

7 | Juventus | Net spend: £421m

Juventus are one of the biggest spenders this decade, having paid out £1.17bn in transfer fees.

Ronaldo was obviously the most expensive, while Gonzalo Higuain cost the Old Lady £81m and Matthijs de Ligt set them back £75m.

The Italian club have also picked up some bargains with Paul Pogba, Aaron Ramsey and Andrea Pirlo all signing for free transfer.

It was another decade without a Champions League win, though.

UC Sampdoria v Juventus - Serie A

6 | Chelsea | Net spend: £422m

Just the £1.2bn spent by Chelsea since 2010, with only Barcelona and Manchester City spending more (more on them later).

They did, however, receive more than £800m in transfer fees!

They smashed the world-record fee for a goalkeeper by spending £72m on Kepa Arrizabalaga but were unable to buy players last summer due to a transfer ban. Now that’s been overturned, expect the Blues to spend big come 2020.

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5 | AC Milan | Net spend: £436m

This makes for grim reading for Milan fans.

In the last six seasons, the Italian clubs have finished eighth, tenth, seventh, sixth, sixth and fifth.

That’s despite spending big on the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Lucas Paqueta and Andre Silva.

So big, in fact, that they had to withdraw from this season’s Europa League due to financial irregularities.

AC Milan v SPAL - Serie A

4 | Barcelona | Net spend: £562m

Barca spent £1.23bn in the 2010s on superstars Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar.

It’s seen them lift seven La Liga titles and the Champions League twice.

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona  - La Liga

3 | Manchester United | Net spend: £847m

It seems a long time ago now, but United have actually won two Premier League titles this decade.

The most expensive player? Pogba, obviously. Followed by Harry Maguire and Romelu Lukaku.

There have been some pretty expensive flops with Angel di Maria costing £60m and Fred not looking like a £52m purchase.

Manchester United v Colchester United - Carabao Cup: Quarter Final

2 | Paris Saint-Germain | Net spend: £847m

Neymar for £200m and Mbappe for £165m make a large part of PSG’s spending this decade.

In total, they spent £1.17bn but are still searching for their first ever Champions League triumph.

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1 | Manchester City | Net spend: £1.1bn

Who else?

City have spent a crazy £1.39bn this decade with a net spend of more than £1bn.

Their most expensive signings have been Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

Like PSG, all that spending hasn’t been enough to win them the Champions League - although they have picked up a ridiculous 198 points in their two previous Premier League seasons.

Oxford United v Manchester City - Carabao Cup: Quarter Final

While it’s no surprise to see the likes of Barca, PSG and Man City at the top of the net spend list, there are certainly a few shocks.

Milan being fifth is certainly a worry with the Italian club having very little to show for it.

Then there’s Liverpool in 12th, who have assembled one of the best squads in the world for a relatively modest net spend.

But the biggest shock is probably seeing Stoke coming in at 22nd despite the fact that they’re currently in the relegation zone in the Championship.

You’d think another relegation could hit the club very hard considering the amount they’ve spent in the last 10 years.

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