Luxury Journeymen | Football’s most expensive stars

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on the verge of becoming, cumulatively, by far the most expensive footballer in world football.


Paris Saint-Germain have flexed their new financial muscle by offering AC Milan a combined €65million bid for the Swede and his teammate Thiago Silva.


Aside from it being a massive statement of intent by the Qatari-owned club, it takes Ibrahimovic’s transfer fee tally to nearly £130million – it would be just under £150million if you include the estimated value of Samuel Eto’o in the deal that took him to Barcelona from Inter Milan.


It is a huge amount of money for a very talented striker, but he has essentially become a luxury journeyman in the process.


Zlatan’s personality means he divides almost every dressing room he has been in, but there has never been any doubting his quality.


The 30-year-old is not alone in the expensive journeyman stakes; there are a number of players who have made numerous moves for large cumulative fees.


Nicolas Anelka was previously the most expensive man in football after amassing combined fees worth £86.5million during his travels from France to China, stopping in England, Spain and Turkey.


Widely regarded as a flop in England, Juan Sebastian Veron has amassed a value of around £77million from his time between clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, Parma and Lazio.


Veron’s failure to make a mark in England was baffling, as his quality was obvious when playing in Serie A, as well as when he ended his career by leading boyhood side Estudiantes to the Copa Libertadores title in 2009.


Robbie Keane is another who has been moved from pillar to post in a bid to find a comfortable home, costing teams from Wolverhampton to Milan to L.A. in the region of £73million.


It would usually take the regular travel of Anelka and Zlatan to end up being worth so much, but recent years have seen fees inflate to incredible levels and it will be no surprise to see this record broken over the next few years.


Cristiano Ronaldo has moved just twice to earn himself a cumulative transfer value of £93milllion – by the old rules, you would expect his next move to be later in his career and for a far smaller fee than what Real Madrid paid for him, but we are currently in the days of Oligarchs and Sheiks, which means anything could happen.


The deal has yet to be decided and it appears that Ibrahimovic is asking for a significant pay packet, though the team from the French capital are probably well stocked enough to meet a few massive demands.


What does it mean for the former Ajax star to have accumulated so many transfer fees and played for so many clubs?


He and, to a lesser extent, Anelka have performed at the highest level for some time but have been unable to stay with one club for a significant amount of time.


However, both have been a source of discontent in many of the teams they have played for and attitude problems have largely been down them being unable to settle.


Ibrahimovic as experienced some amazing success with his moves, but is being the most cumulatively expensive player in football history a source of pride or shame?


A tricky question, but you know what answer Zlatan is likely to give….

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Robbie Keane
Nicolas Anelka
Premier League
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo

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