Arsenal and Chelsea have dipped into the transfer market and spent nine-figure sums on new talent this summer. Despite the Saudi Pro League’s big-money spending, the Premier League continues to set the bar for transfer fees in world football.
Transfers of more than £100m for top-tier players are becoming the norm. There appears to be no going back and as the top 10 most expensive Premier League player transfers of all-time list shows, the fees have been rising for some time.
Antony – Ajax to Man United – £86m
Manchester United paid an initial £82m for right-winger Antony in the summer of 2022, with £4m also going to Ajax in add-ons. The winger arrived to help manager Erik ten Hag settle in and provide some familiarity to him.
Antony has split the opinions of Manchester United supporters since arriving. In 46 matches, Antony scored eight goals and assisted three. Supporters are hoping for more from the Brazilian in 2023-24.
Mykhailo Mudryk – Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea – £88.5m
Mykhailo Mudryk was on the verge of joining Arsenal until Chelsea usurped their London rivals. Chelsea’s ability to swoop in with more money has become a trend. The Ukrainian winger has not played well at Stamford Bridge since making his big-money move from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Mudryk has made just 19 appearances for the Blues, tallying two assists and zero goals. The forward played just 800 total minutes for Chelsea for an average of 42.11 minutes per match.
Kai Havertz – Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea – £90m
Chelsea fans will always remember Kai Havertz for his match-winning goal against Manchester City in the 2021 UEFA Champions League final. Havertz arrived at Stamford Bridge with a lot of expectations, but he never scored the goals the Blues needed.
Havertz tallied 32 goals and 15 assists in 139 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions. In the summer of 2023, Chelsea gladly sold Havertz to cross-town rivals Arsenal for £65m. Havertz’s best season at Stamford Bridge was in 2021-22 when he scored eight league goals.
Romelu Lukaku – Everton to Man United – £90m
Romelu Lukaku was a beast at Everton, scoring 87 goals in 166 matches in all competitions. Everton would love to have that version of Lukaku at the club right now. In 2017, Manchester United shelled out £90m to acquire the goalscorer and alleviate all their scoring issues.
The Belgian scored 16 Premier League goals in his first season for the Red Devils and followed it up with 12 more. With high expectations at Old Trafford, the supporters quickly turned against Lukaku. In 2019, he left for Inter Milan and revitalised his career for a short time.
Paul Pogba – Juventus to Man United – £93.25m
Manchester United paid an incredible £93.25m for a player that left Old Trafford for free in 2012. Paul Pogba made a name for himself at Juventus thanks to being surrounded in midfield by some fantastic players, including Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, and Claudio Marchisio. Unfortunately, there were no players of that calibre playing for Manchester United when Pogba returned.
At Old Trafford, tasked with being a team leader, Pogba struggled and spent a lot of time on the sidelines injured. There were glimpses of promise. He tallied 10 league assists in 2017-18 and 13 goals a season later.
Both were career highs with the Red Devils. Man United also won the Europa League and League Cup with Pogba in the team. But after a bright start, it was all downhill from there.
Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan to Chelsea – £97.5m
Lukaku appears on this list twice thanks to two teams with more money than sense. From 2011 to 2014, Lukaku was on Chelsea’s books. Unable to break into the first team, he was sold to Everton before moving to United.
After two highly successful seasons with Inter Milan, which included a second-place finish in the Europa League and winning Serie A, Chelsea paid just under £100m for the striker.
After a strong start at Stamford Bridge, Lukaku burnt out spectacularly. He fell out with Thomas Tuchel midway through the season and was sent on loan back to Inter the following season. Lukaku’s return yielded just eight goals in 26 Premier League matches.
Jack Grealish – Aston Villa to Man City – £100m
Jack Grealish joined Aston Villa in 2002 at the age of six years old. Twelve years later, he made his debut for the Aston Villa first team. The attacking midfielder went on to make 213 appearances for the Villains, scoring 32 goals and assisting 43.
Manchester City spent £100m for Grealish in 2021. After a rocky start to life at the Etihad Stadium, Grealish settled in, helping Man City win the Premier League in 2021-22 and 2022-23. He also contributed to the Cityzens winning the UEFA Champions League final in 2023.
Although Grealish has struggled to score goals and tally assists, eight goals and 10 assists in the Premier League, he still helped the club pick up silverware, with his mazy runs and clever passing.
Declan Rice – West Ham to Arsenal – £105m
Fresh off helping West Ham win the Conference League, Arsenal spent £105m to sign midfielder Declan Rice in the summer of 2023. Rice, a former Chelsea youth team player, played 245 matches for the Hammers, scoring 15 times and assisting 13 goals. Rice started his Arsenal career on the right foot by winning the FA Community Shield, defeating Manchester City on penalties.
Enzo Fernandez – Benfica to Chelsea – £106m
After a mere 29 appearances, four goals, and seven assists playing for Benfica, Chelsea paid £106m to sign midfielder Enzo Fernandez. Since arriving at Stamford Bridge, Fernandez has been on the winning side just four times out of 24 matches. The midfielder failed to score a goal in his opening 24 appearances for the Blues but tallied two assists.
Moises Caicedo – Brighton to Chelsea – £115m
Chelsea again shelled out a nine-figure sum on a midfielder in the summer of 2023 by outbidding Liverpool for Caicedo. Brighton had initially agreed to sell Moises Caicedo to Liverpool before Chelsea swooped in with an improved bid to sign the Ecuadorian. Caicedo became another of Chelsea’s big-money, young players with plenty of potential.