The last five times every Premier League club broke transfer record, including Chelsea and Spurs disasters

Matt Stead
Ipswich player Omari Hutchinson, Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice and Paul Pogba of Manchester United
This way for some club-record shenanigans

Every Premier League club has broken their transfer record at least once since Manchester United last did. Declan Rice is fighting against the Arsenal tide.

 

Arsenal

Mesut Ozil – £42.5m (Real Madrid, September 2013)
Alexandre Lacazette – £46.5m (Lyon, July 2017)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £55.5m (Borussia Dortmund, January 2018)
Nicolas Pepe – £72m (Lille, August 2019)
Declan Rice – £100m plus £5m add-0ns (West Ham, July 2023)

Three of those players subsequently had their contracts terminated early, while Lacazette was at least allowed to see out his Arsenal deal before leaving on a free transfer when it expired. All the best, Dec.

 

Aston Villa

Darren Bent – £18m (Sunderland, January 2011)
Wesley Moraes – £22m (Club Brugge, June 2019)
Ollie Watkins – £28m, rising to £33m (Brentford, September 2020)
Emi Buendia – £30m, rising to £38m (Norwich, June 2021)
Moussa Diaby – £43.2m, rising to £51.9m (Bayer Leverkusen, July 2023)

Add-ons make things a little murky – Watkins has surely achieved his while Buendia has not – but the total value of the package to bring in Diaby was in a different market to where Villa usually deal and Champions League money has not quite changed that yet because of pesky PSR rules.

 

Bournemouth

Tyrone Mings – £8m (Ipswich, June 2015)
Benik Afobe – £10m (Wolves, January 2016)
Jordon Ibe – £15m (Liverpool, July 2016)
Nathan Ake – £20m (Chelsea, June 2017)
Jefferson Lerma – £25m (Levante, August 2018)

That is a neat snapshot of Bournemouth’s entire existence as a Premier League-adjacent entity, including that period during which they seemed wholly determined to feed the myth of Michael Edwards.

 

Brentford

Kristoffer Ajer – £13.5m (Celtic, July 2021)
Keane Lewis-Potter – £16m, rising to £20m (Hull, July 2022)
Kevin Schade – £22m (Freiburg, July 2023)
Nathan Collins – £23m (Wolves, July 2023)
Igor Thiago – £30m (Club Brugge, February 2024)

The previous two record signings bumped off this Brentford list by more recent deals were Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney; the hope is that Igor Thiago can have anything close to their success.

 

Brighton

Jose Izquierdo – £13.5m (Club Brugge, August 2017)
Jurgen Locadia – £14m (PSV, January 2018)
Alireza Jahanbakhsh – £17m (AZ Alkmaar, July 2018)
Adam Webster – £20m (Bristol City, August 2019)
Joao Pedro – £30m (Watford, May 2023)

Brilliant as Brighton are, their transfer strength has been in identifying rough diamonds from faraway lands to polish and move on for considerable profit rather than spending big. Pedro had a fine enough first season and there are high hopes for Yankuba Minteh, whose deal to join from Newcastle at least matched the Brazilian’s fee.

 

Chelsea

Alvaro Morata – £58m (Real Madrid, July 2017)
Kepa Arrizabalaga – £71m (Athletic Bilbao, August 2018)
Kai Havertz – £75.8m (Leverkusen, September 2020)
Romelu Lukaku – £97.5m (Inter Milan, August 2021)
Enzo Fernandez – £106.8m (Benfica, February 2023)

There is a genuine case to say Fernandez is legitimately already the best of those Chelsea signings, which reflects well on no-one. But Todd Boehly has continued that proud tradition of general waste, with £100m Moises Caicedo finally approaching his best form as the other half of a potentially sensational midfield.

 

Crystal Palace

Dwight Gayle – £4.5m (Peterborough, July 2013)
James McArthur – £7m (Wigan, September 2014)
Yohan Cabaye – £10m (PSG, July 2015)
Andros Townsend – £13m (Newcastle, July 2016)
Christian Benteke – £27m (Liverpool, August 2016)

A ludicrous fact: not a single one of those signings was made by Roy Hodgson (nine transfer windows in charge). Crystal Palace presumably still regret giving Alan Pardew (four transfer windows in charge) quite so much pocket money.

 

Everton

Yakubu Aiyegbini – £11.3m (Middlesbrough, August 2007)
Marouane Fellaini – £15m (Standard Liege, September 2008)
Romelu Lukaku – £28m (Chelsea, July 2014)
Jordan Pickford – £30m (Sunderland, June 2017)
Gylfi Sigurdsson – £45m (Swansea, August 2017)

Not sure what to say about that. It would probably make the best five-a-side team of any club on this list. Would love to see Lukaku at Powerleague.

 

Fulham

Steed Malbranque – £4.5m (Lyon, July 2001)
Edwin van der Sar – £7m (Juventus, August 2001)
Steve Marlet – £11.5m (Lyon, August 2001)
Konstantinos Mitroglou – £12m (Olympiakos, January 2014)
Jean Michael Seri – £25m (Nice, July 2018)

Fulham do like to use their regular Premier League promotions, or in the case of Mitroglou imminent relegations, to open new transfer doors.

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Ipswich

Steve Sedgley – £1m (Tottenham, June 1994)
Marcus Stewart – £2.5m (Huddersfield, February 2000)
Hermann Hreidarsson – £4.5m (Wimbledon, August 2000)
Matteo Sereni – £4.8m (Sampdoria, August 2001)
Omari Hutchinson – £20m, rising to £22.5m (July 2024)

Not ashamed to say that looking at the record transfer progression of clubs who have spent the last couple of decades outside the top flight – particularly those who once were in the Premier League – might be the most fun one can have within the boundaries of written law.

 

Leicester

Nampalys Mendy – £13m (Nice, July 2016)
Ahmed Musa – £16m (CSKA Moscow, July 2016)
Islam Slimani – £29.7m (Sporting, September 2016)
Ayoze Perez – £30m (Newcastle, July 2019)
Youri Tielemans – £40m (Monaco, July 2019)

They indulged in the summer after winning the Premier League title and during their first summer with Brendan Rodgers in charge. That’s what the smell of trophies and mince will do to you.

 

Liverpool

Fernando Torres – £20.2m (Atletico Madrid, July 2007)
Luis Suarez – £22.7m (Ajax, January 2011)
Andy Carroll – £35m (Newcastle, January 2011)
Mo Salah – £36.9m (Roma, June 2017)
Virgil van Dijk – £75m (Southampton, January 2018)

It is probably safe to suggest that Darwin Nunez has not activated enough add-ons to become Liverpool’s record signing just yet. That initial £64m fee paid to Benfica can rise as high as £85m, but not any time soon.

 

Manchester City

Aymeric Laporte – £57.2m (Athletic Bilbao, January 2018)
Riyad Mahrez – £60m (Leicester, July 2018)
Rodri – £62.8m (Atletico Madrid, July 2019)
Ruben Dias – £64.3m (Benfica, September 2020)
Jack Grealish – £100m (Aston Villa, August 2021)

As masters of the £50m transfer and really anything in that general ballpark, it seemed as though Pep Guardiola had rather unfairly cracked the art of the £100m move. Grealish overcame the usual season one struggles to contribute to a Treble in his second campaign before unlocking the lesser-seen difficult third Pep year.

 

Manchester United

Rio Ferdinand – £29.3m (Leeds, July 2002)
Dimitar Berbatov – £30.8m (Tottenham, September 2008)
Juan Mata – £37.1m (Chelsea, January 2014)
Angel di Maria – £59.7m (Real Madrid, August 2014)
Paul Pogba – £89.3m (Juventus, August 2016)

Fair play to Manchester United for accepting that their last two club-record signings were either immediately or eventually so catastrophic it would be foolish to try again. They have the longest-standing current Premier League transfer record.

 

Newcastle

Alan Shearer – £15m (Blackburn, July 1996)
Michael Owen – £16m (Real Madrid, August 2005)
Miguel Almiron – £20m (Atlanta United, January 2019)
Joelinton – £40m (Hoffenheim, July 2019)
Alexander Isak – £58m, rising to £63m (August 2022)

The bad news: Faustino Asprilla has finally been dislodged from this list. There is no good news. Apart from maybe apparent serendipitous Saudi interest in Almiron.

 

Nottingham Forest

Joao Carvalho – £13.2m (Benfica, June 2018)
Taiwo Awoniyi – £17.2m (Union Berlin, June 2022)
Emmanuel Dennis – £20m (Watford, August 2022)
Morgan Gibbs-White – £25m, rising to £42.5m (Wolves, August 2022)
Ibrahim Sangare – £30m (PSV, August 2023)

Another one difficult to accurately decipher without access to what are undoubtedly hilarious financial accounts, as while Elliot Anderson’s £35m fee obviously outstrips Sangare’s, both have either been eclipsed by Gibbs-White’s add-ons or probably will be soon enough.

 

Southampton

Sofiane Boufal – £16m (Lille, August 2016)
Mario Lemina – £18.1m (Juventus, August 2017)
Guido Carillo – £19m (Monaco, January 2018)
Danny Ings – £20m (Liverpool, July 2019)
Kamaldeen Sulemana – £22m, rising to £24.6m (Stade Rennais, January 2023)

The club famed for providing a conveyor belt of talent for Liverpool finally snapped their underwhelming transfer record streak by signing a player from them, if only to scrub very possibly the worst deal of all from this entire list: Carillo started seven games and did basically nothing before having his contract terminated a year before expiration. Sulemana has not been considerably better, mind.

 

Tottenham

Roberto Soldado – £26m (Valencia, August 2013)
Erik Lamela – £29m (Roma, August 2013)
Moussa Sissoko – £30m (Newcastle, September 2016)
Davinson Sanchez – £42m (Ajax, August 2017)
Tanguy Ndombele – £53.7m (Lyon, July 2019)

Again, Richarlison (£50m rising to £60m) is theoretically capable of usurping Ndombele, but that would make this collection only slightly less damning.

 

West Ham

Andre Ayew – £20.7m (Swansea, August 2016)
Marko Arnautovic – £25m (Stoke, August 2017)
Felipe Anderson – £36m (Lazio, July 2018)
Sebastien Haller – £45m (Eintracht Frankfurt, July 2019)
Lucas Paqueta – £51m (Lyon, August 2022)

One or both of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano probably belong here somewhere, but we’ve no idea of their actual fees. West Ham paid £20m in compensation to Sheffield United and £5.5m in Premier League fines over the third-party ownership fiasco with Tevez and that alone would qualify.

 

Wolves

Adama Traore – £18m (Middlesbrough, August 2018)
Raul Jimenez – £30m (Benfica, June 2019)
Fabio Silva – £35.6m (Porto, September 2020)
Matheus Nunes – £38m, rising to £42.2m (Sporting, August 2022)
Matheus Cunha – £44m (Atletico Madrid, July 2023)

Jorge Mendes is a sod.

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