Ramsdale features twice among Europe’s most expensive keepers since Alisson

Ian Watson
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa, Liverpool's Alisson, and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale, then of Sheffield United.

Clubs seem reluctant to pay big money for keepers, though this list demonstrates that there’s no guarantee from spending big money. Half are hits (two are Aaron Ramsdale), half are misses. 

Here are the 10 most expensive stoppers since Liverpool paid £68.5million for Alisson in July 2018. Which turned out rather well


1) Kepa (Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea) £71.6million 
Alisson lasted barely three weeks as the world’s most expensive keeper before Chelsea chucked an even bigger sum at Athletic Bilbao. It looked a panicked move, which it ought not to have been because it was clear for months that they would need a new keeper. But they were made to pay the then 23-year-old’s release clause to prise him from Spain – which they soon regretted. The most memorable contribution from his first season was refusing to come off in the Carabao Cup final, and he spent much of his second term on Frank Lampard’s bench. Eventually, Chelsea signed Edouard Mendy, but they could do with replacing both this summer.


2) Thibaut Cortois (Chelsea to Real Madrid) £35million 
Chelsea chucked so much at Kepa as a consequence of Courtois getting his move to Real Madrid. And, boy, did he have to work for it. The Belgium keeper, then about to enter the final year of his contract, made clear his wish to join Real before, during and after the 2018 World Cup, but he skipped the first days of pre-season training just to make sure he was being heard. Mr Tickle in mitts got off to a ropey start in Madrid but soon came good. Very f***ing good.


3) Jasper Cillessen (Barcelona to Valencia) £31.4million
Neto (Barcelona to Valencia) £27million

We have to group these deals together, despite Barca and Valencia’s best efforts not to. The Spanish clubs swapped keepers barely 24 hours apart, with Neto gone on the last day of the financial year in 2019 before Cillessen, who’d spent his Barca career as a stand-in, arrived on the first day of the next, each for a rather surprisingly large fee. *turns to camera


4) Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United to Arsenal) £30million
Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal finally agreed to pay £30million – £6million in add-ons – for a keeper relegated in each of the previous two seasons with Sheffield United and Bournemouth. Ramsdale was signed to compete with Bernd Leno, who was swiftly shuffled aside for the then-23-year-old. It seems to have worked out just fine for everyone, with Ramsdale generally an authoritative figure in Mikel Arteta’s goal, while Leno has got the new start he needed at Fulham.


5) Edouard Mendy (Rennes to Chelsea) £22million 20/21
Once Frank Lampard had finally written off Kepa, Chelsea had little option but to move for a goalkeeper, so they signed Senegal stopper Mendy from Rennes in September 2020. Inside a year, he was a European Champion – under Thomas Tuchel – and an AFCON winner. But things went south for Mendy as they did for Tuchel. He made a number of errors, resulting in being dropped for Tuchel’s last game. Mendy never regained his place for Kepa and looks set to be one of several players shipped to Saudi.

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy gets ready to save a shot
6) Pau Lopez (Real Betis to Roma) £21million
The Spanish stopper moved to Rome in July 2019 with one international cap to his name – but it did not go well. “I had lost passion and love for football. I no longer had joy in training,” said Lopez once safely away from Roma, rescued by Marseille, who gave the Italian side half their investment back after a try-before-you-buy loan spell.


7) Emi Martinez (Arsenal to Aston Villa) £20million
There are various figures flying around over the final amount paid by Villa for the Argentina keeper. Even at the maximum £20million, Martinez was a freaking steal. He used Arsenal’s rejection as fuel to go on to become of the Premier League’s best and a World Cup winner. If Villa were to sell now, they might get three times their investment.


8) Juan Musso (Udinese to Atalanta) £17.4million
After impressing during three years at Udinese, Musso was signed by Atalanta for the 2021/22 season. His first season was a relative success but the twice-capped Argentina keeper ended the last campaign on the bench, watching while Marco Sportiello took his place. It is expected next season that Marco Carnesecchi will return from a loan spell at Cremonese to take the gloves, with Musso set to be on the move again.


9) Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth to Sheffield United) £18.5million
Sheffield United re-signed Ramsdale in 2020 for a whopping fee having sold him to Bournemouth three and a half years earlier for just £800,000. The Blades suffered the same fate as the Cherries with Ramsdale in their net, but the Stoke-born stopper had already shown enough to earn an England call-up. And Blades turned a decent profit inside a year.


10) Emil Audero (Juventus to Sampdoria) £17million
Indonesian-born Audero came through the ranks at Juventus but after only a single Serie A appearance, he was loaned to Samp in 2018 with the option to buy for 20million euros. Samp didn’t take long to decide to make it a permanent arrangement and Audero has been in their sticks ever since. Samp finished rock-bottom last season amid financial woes but Audero’s reputation remains intact, with Juve, Lazio and Inter all linked with the 26-year-old, though Samp might be lucky to get back half the amount they paid.

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