Who are the biggest spenders in world football over the last 5 years?

Welcome to Paris - Neymar Jr

The transfer window is one of the most exciting times to be a football supporter.

Equally, it is one of the most frustrating. Starstudded players are linked with a move but a large chunk fail to materialise, that's if the initial reports were even true in the first place.

We see transfer records broken year after year and it doesn't look as though we'll get any respite. 

Newcastle and Aston Villa both broke their records last summer, for example, and Leeds United look well set to break theirs this year.

Having received an estimated £200m from achieving promotion, who can blame them? 

However, is that not what the problem with football is? If a side like Leeds can easily bid £25m for Ben White, a player who has never set foot in the top-flight, you have to wonder whether there really is any hope? 

That was probably lost when PSG paid an absurd sum of money of £200m for Neymar.


Three years later and we haven't seen anyone top that but we've still seen some meteoric deals take place across Europe.

Is the standard of football getting better? It's hard to tell. What is for certain, however, is that the game we all know and love is more about money than ever. 

That being said, it's not always spent or gained in the most sensible of ways. 

Braithwaite signs for Barcelona

You only need to look at a list of the biggest spenders in world football from the last 20 years to realise where it's all gone wrong. For starters, Everton are ahead of Bayern Munich, a team who have reached this year's Champions League final. 

The market place really is baffling.

Here's the list, courtesy of Transfermarkt, in all its glory. 

20. Tottenham - £425.79m

Spurs just about sneak onto their list and after reaching the Champions League final last summer, their lack of spending is rather impressive in comparison to some of the names on the list. That being said, it's also a damning indictment of Daniel Levy's unwillingness to spend.  

19. Bayern Munich - £428.18m

This is quite incredible. Bayern are an absolute powerhouse in Europe and have swept aside a host of teams on this list with relative ease in this season's Champions League. It seems like they have the perfect model evolving in Munich - they don't need to spend to be the best.

Bayern Munich squad

18. Sevilla - £433.40m 

The Spanish side are quite happy to go about their business and their record in Europe is mightily impressive. They may not flourish in the Champions League but the Europa League is their jam. They are in yet another final this term.

17. Arsenal - £486.85m

The Gunners have spent more than their north London rivals in recent years which isn't ideal when you consider that they've finished behind them for a number of campaigns. The arrival of Nicolas Pepe for £72m has been scrutinised but at least they won the FA Cup in 2019/20.

Arsenal attackers with the FA Cup

16. Borussia Dortmund - £487.29m

Dortmund have spent more than Bayern over the last five years but still haven't managed to usurp their main title contenders. Perhaps they need to be a bit wiser in the market going forward.

15. Napoli - £492.56m

Napoli may have been robbed of Pepe last summer but they're still pretty fierce in the transfer window. They haven't been able to pip Juventus to the post in Serie A but are looking to spend even more to get closer this summer. Victor Osimhen has already arrived for a fee of £45m.


14. Everton - £502.26m

This is truly baffling. The Toffees have gone through manager after manager in this time frame and finished 12th in the Premier League this season. They have spent more than Arsenal and Spurs but have an awful lot less to show it. Questions should be asked of Farhad Moshiri and Marcel Brands.

13. Roma - £515.64m

The conquerors of Barcelona in 2018, Roma have spent a fair bit of cash for a side who have finished sixth and fifth in Serie A in the last two years. Like Everton, they don't have much to show for spending.

12. Liverpool - £527.29m

This is incredible. Liverpool are now arguably the best team in world football and yet they are just 12th on the list. They may have shipped out considerable fees to sign players like Alisson and Virgil van Dijk but this is a glowing appraisal of the work Michael Edwards and Jurgen Klopp have done in the market.

Liverpool title win

11. AC Milan - £563.48m

Compare this to Liverpool's spend and it's truly embarrassing. Try as they might, Milan haven't been able to replicate their early 2000s dominance. They haven't finished in the top four of the Italian top-flight since 2012/13.

10. AS Monaco - £574.48m

Monaco have spent a fortune in the last five years but they actually have a positive net transfer spend, primarily from selling players like Thomas Lemar and of course, Kylian Mbappe. They finished 17th in 2018/19 and could only follow that up with a ninth-place finish in 2019/20.

9. Real Madrid - £610.43m

The dominant force in Europe over the last five years, Madrid haven't actually spent a great deal compared to their main competitors in the last five years. Their biggest deal in recent times has been Eden Hazard.

Eden Hazard

8. Inter - £677.29m

The Serie A giants have signed a whopping 313 players in the last five years, the most of anyone on this list of 20. That's a jaw-dropping number but it's only now that we're starting to see their work in the market pay off. They will face Sevilla in the Europa League final.

7. Atletico Madrid - £712.45m

Diego Simeone's men have signed 202 fewer new players during the time frame in question but have somehow managed to spend more. Their biggest fee was spent on Joao Felix, a talent who cost them £113m. Crazy stuff.

Joao Felix

6. Chelsea - £747.54m

Even with a transfer embargo last season, Chelsea sit sixth on this list. If they conclude a deal to bring Kai Havertz this summer then they will surely soar even further up this list. 

5. Manchester United - £752.49m

It's no great surprise to see United so far up this list. Ed Woodward has spent an absurd amount on just 70 players and have few honours to show for it. United haven't won a trophy since 2017 and have finished in the top four just twice in five seasons.

4. PSG - £774.54m

One of the powerhouses of modern football, PSG are owned by the considerably wealthy Qatari Sports Investment cooperation. They have pumped a stupid amount of money into the Parisians and possess the record for the two most expensive transfers of all time - Neymar and Mbappe.

Mbappe celebrates with the PSG players

3. Manchester City - £958.41m 

Another massive club to be owned by the Middle East, City's spending power has been absurdly impressive in the last five years. They have spent nearly £200m more than PSG but the Champions League still eludes them. 

2. Barcelona - £961.52m

This is crazy. Barcelona were spanked 8-2 by Bayern Munich last week despite spending over £530m more than them. Josep Maria Bartomeu desperately needs to sort out the club's recruitment if they ever want to become a force again.

Barca dejected

1. Juventus - £975.89m

People may make fun of the fact that Juventus look towards free transfers all the time, but the fact of the matter is, that they're not afraid to spend obscene sums of money either. They have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for £99.2m, Gonzalo Higuain for £75.3m and Arthur Melo for £66m in the last couple of years.

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