Transfer fees in the Premier League have increased rapidly over the past decade.
In the present day, the concept of a £50m deal is far from alien and it’s almost at the point where the figure is commonplace.
It’s highly likely in the near future that a Premier League transfer will eclipse the £100m mark, with Paul Pogba’s £94.5m move to Manchester United in 2016 still the division’s record.
In total, there have been 25 transfers made by Premier League clubs that have eclipsed the £50m mark and we’ve decided to have a go at ranking them.
If there’s one conclusion to take away from list, it’s that enormous transfer fees never guarantee a successful deal. The amount of flops on here is rather concerning…
All fees sourced from Transfermarkt.
25. Tanguy Ndombele to Tottenham (£54m)
Ndombele’s Spurs career looks all but over. His woeful 45-minute ‘performance’ away at Burnley this season will forever rank as one of the worst in Premier League history.
Jose Mourinho has a habit of picking squabbles with the wrong players but his lack of faith and anger towards the Frenchman – who pockets £200k-a-week – is more than justified.
24. Joao Cancelo to Man City (£58.5m)
When you sign a full-back for close to £60m, you expect them to absolutely smash it but Cancelo has spent the majority of his City career warming the bench.
The Portuguese also seems to be constantly linked with a move away from the Etihad, despite signing less than a year ago. A disastrous signing.
23. Fernando Torres to Chelsea (£52.65m)
The only team that didn’t know Torres was on the decline in 2011 was Chelsea. Instead, they splashed the cash and their investment bought them a measly 45 goals in 172 games.
The Blues didn’t learn their lesson about Spanish strikers, though…
22. Angel Di Maria to Man Utd (£67.5m)
In his 32 appearances for United, Di Maria did still manage four goals and 12 assists, which isn’t the worst return in the world.
However, the Argentine just wasn’t suited to the English game and United took a sizeable loss on their initial outlay when they sold him to Paris Saint-Germain in 2015.
21. Alvaro Morata to Chelsea (£59.4m)
After the Torres debacle, Chelsea should have been skeptical about spending close to £60m on Morata. Initially, the deal looked a good one as the Spaniard hit the ground running.
But Morata’s purple patch was over in a flash and he quickly descended into a figure of ridicule until Chelsea offloaded him to Atletico Madrid.
20. Benjamin Mendy to Man City (£51.75m)
Injuries, injuries and more injuries.
Mendy has shown signs of his quality at City, but Pep Guardiola simply cannot rely on him at all due to his fitness issues. It’s hard to see the Frenchman not ending up as a £50m flop.
19. John Stones to Man City (£50.04m)
There was a time when Stones looked every bit a City player. During the club’s triumphant 2017/18 campaign, the Englishman was a hugely influential figure at the back.
But – like Mendy – injuries have taken their toll in recent years and Stones’ stock is continually plummeting. He is still just 25, though, so there’s a reason to think the defender can resurrect his career at City.
18. Naby Keita to Liverpool (£54m)
Keita still has time on his side to make it at Liverpool, but the club’s patience must be wearing thin.
Every time the Guinean midfielder turns on the style, he appears to pick up a serious injury. Liverpool’s sizeable investment has not been worthwhile – so far.
17. Kepa Arrizabalaga to Chelsea (£72m)
After taking on Maurizio Sarri and then falling out of favour under Frank Lampard, Kepa looks to be finally getting his Chelsea career back on track.
He’s certainly not worth £72m, but on his day the Spaniard is a quality ‘keeper – and he will only get better.
16. Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal (£72m)
The talent is there, of that there can be no doubt. When he’s in full flow, there’s no full-back in the world stopping the fleet-footed Ivorian winger.
But unless he can find consistency to his game, Pepe will continue to attract the critics from both rival and Arsenal fans.
15. Christian Pulisic to Chelsea (£57.6m)
Prior to picking up a serious injury, Pulisic was on fire for Chelsea this season and even scored a hat-trick away at Burnley
The American has all the talent in the world and in a few years time, it’s highly likely he will feature in the upper echelons of this list. But for now, he simply hasn’t played enough games to fully judge him.
14. Jorginho to Chelsea (£51.3m)
A misunderstood player at times and Lampard appears to have helped rebuild his Chelsea career in 2019/20.
Perhaps not a £50m player, but Jorginho has been a decent signing nonetheless.
13. Romelu Lukaku to Man Utd (£76.23m)
Things just didn’t work out for Lukaku at Old Trafford, but his form at Inter is a stark reminder that he’s one of the world’s top strikers.
Even amidst all the criticism, the Belgian scored 42 goals in 96 games for United. He probably should have been given more time at the club.
12. Rodri to Man City (£63m)
He’s not quite Guardiola’s new Sergio Busquets yet, but Rodri has looked the real deal in spurts for City during his debut season.
Once the Spaniard is fully settled in Manchester, you feel he will take the Premier League by storm.
11. Fred to Man Utd (£53.1m)
Twelve months ago, Fred would have been near the bottom of this list. But in 2019/20, the Brazilian has looked every bit a £50m signing.
It looks all but certain the silky, press resistant midfielder will be named United’s Player of the Season. What a turnaround!
10. Anthony Martial to Man Utd (£54m)
When he’s at the peak of his powers, there are few Premier League forwards better than Martial. For that reason alone, he makes the top 10.
He’s also scored 64 goals in 208 games for the Red Devils, which is a very healthy return considering he’s spent much of his United career on the wing. If he can find consistency, he’ll creep further up this list in the coming years.
9. Riyad Mahrez to Man City (£61.02m)
Mahrez’s signing from Leicester looked an unnecessary one from City, but the Algerian has come into his own at the Etihad over the last 12 months.
He’s been far and away the club’s best winger in 2019/20 and his price tag has been more than merited.
8. Paul Pogba to Man Utd (£94.5m)
The man who attracts criticism like no other. Pogba can do no right in the eyes of many, but there’s no denying he’s United’s most talented player.
The Frenchman has also been brilliant for the Red Devils on the whole since returning in 2016. Just don’t tell Graeme Souness we put him eighth…
7. Harry Maguire to Man Utd (£78.3m)
After a shaky start to life at United, Maguire is beginning to look worth his enormous fee – the highest for a defender in the history of football.
The captain’s armband has galvanised the Englishman and the Red Devils appear to have a world-class centre-back in their ranks once again.
6. Aymeric Laporte to Man City (£58.5m)
The one defensive acquisition made by City in recent years that will make every rival team – even Liverpool – jealous.
Laporte is the best centre-back to don the sky blue shirt since Vincent Kompany and his importance to Guardiola’s team was ruthlessly highlighted this season when he was condemned to the treatment table.
5. Raheem Sterling to Man City (£57.33m)
The past few months have been tricky for Sterling, but he’s evolved from a raw talent into one of the best forwards in world football at City.
A risky signing for the price at the time, but one that has well and truly paid dividends for Guardiola’s team.
4. Alisson Becker to Liverpool (£56.25m)
Following Loris Karius’ suspect display in the 2018 Champions League final, Liverpool spent big to sign Alisson from Roma.
As soon as he stepped out on the hallowed turf of Anfield, Liverpool fans knew their goalkeeper woes were over. Without the Brazilian, Jurgen Klopp’s team just wouldn’t be the same.
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal (£57.38m)
What a signing. Aubameyang has deserved better than Arsenal, let’s be honest and the fact he’s virtually been a one-man band in north London is why he’s just ahead of Sterling and Alisson.
The Gabonese striker has scored 61 goals in his 97 games for the Gunners, making that £57m transfer fee look like mere pennies.
2. Kevin De Bruyne to Man City (£68.4m)
Remember when Phil Thompson questioned the fee City paid for De Bruyne on live TV? Those were the days. In an era of spending for City, the Belgian is far and away their best acquisition.
De Bruyne is currently the best midfielder in world football and he’s one of the big favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year this season.
1. Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool (£76.19m)
The signing that changed everything for Liverpool. It’s rare to label a £70m+ signing as a ‘bargain’, but that’s exactly what Van Dijk is.
The list as a whole isn’t much to write home about, with a number of the player failing to live up to expectation.
But the top five is incredibly strong, especially when the genius that is De Bruyne can’t take top spot!
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