First, read the headline again because every time we do these lists we get people pointing out that these are not the five biggest sales. Because they’re not; they’re the five last record sales. Got it?
Paul Merson – £5m (to Middlesbrough in July 1997)
Nicolas Anelka – £22.3m (to Real Madrid in August 1999)
Marc Overmars – £25m (to Barcelona in July 2000)
Cesc Fabregas – £25.4m (to Barcelona in August 2011)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – £35m (to Liverpool in August 2017)
Conclusion: Arsenal really are rotten at selling players. And it’s unlikely that run will change with Nicolas Pepe proving a very hard sell.
Dwight Yorke – £12.6m (to Manchester United in August 1998)
James Milner – £18m, plus a Stephen Ireland (to Manchester City in August 2010)
Stewart Downing – £20m (to Liverpool in July 2011)
Christian Benteke – £32.5m (to Liverpool in July 2015)
Jack Grealish – £100m (to Man City, August 2021)
Grealish’s benchmark looks likely to be passed only when Man Utd panic and spend £150million on John McGinn.
Lewis Grabban – £3m (to Norwich in June 2014)
Tommy Elphick – £3.2m (to Aston Villa in June 2016)
Matt Ritchie – £12m (to Newcastle in July 2016)
Tyrone Mings – £20m rising to £25m (to Aston Villa in July 2019)
Nathan Ake – £40m (to Manchester City in August 2020)
That’s quite an acceleration through the gears for middling centre-halves.
Ezri Konsa – £12m (to Aston Villa in July 2019)
Chris Mepham – £12.2m (to Bournemouth in January 2019)
Neal Maupay – £20m (to Brighton in August 2019)
Said Benrahma – £20m plus add-ons (to West Ham in January 2021)
Ollie Watkins – £28m rising to £33m (to Aston Villa in September 2020)
Brentford have absolutely nailed this transfer malarkey. Ivan Toney next?
Adam Virgo – £1.8m (to Celtic in July 2005)
Liam Bridcutt – £2.5m (to Sunderland in January 2014)
Leonardo Ulloa – £8m (to Leicester in July 2014)
Anthony Knockaert – £10.5m (to Fulham in July 2020)
Ben White – £50m (to Arsenal in July 2021)
Yves Bissouma has gone for less thanks to an expiring contract so it’s hard to see when this gets broken.
Juan Mata – £37.1m (to Manchester United in January 2014)
David Luiz – £40m (to PSG in June 2014)
Oscar – £52m (to Shanghai SIPG in January 2017)
Diego Costa – £57.1m (to Atletico Madrid in January 2018)
Eden Hazard – £88m (to Real Madrid in June 2019)
Five players signed for a combined £138m and sold – each for a profit – at a cumulative £274.2m. They will not repeat the trick with Romelu Lukaku.
Chris Armstrong – £4.5m (to Tottenham in July 1995)
Andy Johnson – £8.6m (to Everton in May 2006)
Wilfried Zaha – £15m (to Manchester United in January 2013)
Yannick Bolasie – £25m (to Everton in August 2016)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – £45m (to Manchester United in July 2019)
Palace saw Man Utd coming when they sold a full-back who can’t attack for almost £50million. And they made a patsy of the Red Devils when giving them barely half of their money back for Zaha.
Francis Jeffers – £8.25m (to Arsenal in June 2001)
Wayne Rooney – £27m (to Manchester United in September 2004)
Marouane Fellaini – £27.5m (to Manchester United in September 2013)
John Stones – £47.5m (to Manchester City in August 2016)
Romelu Lukaku – £75m (to Manchester United in July 2017)
Richarlison won’t break this record and neither will Dominic Calvert-Lewin any time soon. Though Everton need the money.
Geoff Horsfield – £2.25m (to Birmingham in July 2000)
Steve Finnan – £3.5m (to Liverpool in June 2003)
Louis Saha – £12.83m (to Manchester United in January 2004)
Mousa Dembele – £15m (to Tottenham in August 2012)
Ryan Sessegnon – £25m, plus a Josh Onomah (to Tottenham in August 2019)
Astonishing that their last Premier League relegation was so embarrassing that nobody paid serious money for the protagonists.
Eric Cantona – £1.2m (to Manchester United in November 1992)
David Batty – £2.75m (to Blackburn in October 1993)
Gary Speed – £3.5m (to Everton in July 1995)
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – £12m (to Atletico Madrid in August 1999)
Rio Ferdinand – £30m (to Manchester United in July 2002)
This is about to get blown out of the water by Raphinha…unless Kalvin Phillips gets there first.
Emile Heskey – £11m (to Liverpool in March 2000)
N’Golo Kante – £30m (to Chelsea in July 2016)
Danny Drinkwater – £35m (to Chelsea in August 2017)
Riyad Mahrez – £60m (to Manchester City in July 2018)
Harry Maguire – £85m (to Manchester United in August 2019)
Leicester really did make that lark of buying low, selling high and once every year while being upwardly mobile look quite simple.
Robbie Fowler – £12m (to Leeds in November 2001)
Xabi Alonso – £30m (to Real Madrid in August 2009)
Fernando Torres – £50m (to Chelsea in January 2011)
Luis Suarez – £65m (to Barcelona in July 2014)
Philippe Coutinho – £142m (to Barcelona in January 2018)
Liverpool more than doubled their money on Torres, almost tripled it on both Alonso and Suarez, made a fortune on academy product Fowler and did some silly maths with Coutinho. They, too, are quite good at this.
Shaun Wright-Phillips – £21m (to Chelsea in July 2005)
Alvaro Negredo – £23.8m (to Valencia in July 2015)
Danilo – £34.1m (to Juventus in August 2019)
Leroy Sane – £40.9m (to Bayern Munich in July 2020)
Ferran Torres – £46.7m (to Barcelona in January 2021)
Both Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling are likely to sneak in (or out) just under that price.
Mark Hughes – £2m (to Barcelona in May 1986)
Paul Ince – £7.5m (to Inter in June 1995)
Jaap Stam – £15.3m (to Lazio in August 2001)
David Beckham – £24.5m (to Real Madrid in June 2003)
Cristiano Ronaldo – £80m (to Real Madrid in June 2009)
It is genuinely intriguing to wonder who will break this Manchester United record and finally dislodge Sparky.
Paul Gascoigne – £2.2m (to Tottenham in July 1988)
Andy Cole – £6m, plus a Keith Gillespie (to Manchester United in January 1995)
Dietmar Hamann – £8m (to Liverpool in June 1999)
Jonathan Woodgate – £13.4m (to Real Madrid in August 2004)
Andy Carroll – £35m (to Liverpool in January 2011)
They need never sell anybody again.
Teddy Sheringham – £2.1m (to Tottenham, July 1992)
Roy Keane – £3.75m (to Manchester United, July 1993)
Stan Collymore – £8.5m (to Liverpool, July 1995)
Oliver Burke – £13m (to RB Leipzig, August 2016)
Britt Assombalonga – £15m (to Middlesbrough in July 2017)
Some absolute legends and then some absolute chumps. Which list will Brennan Johnson join when he inevitably moves?
Dean Richards – £8.1m (to Tottenham in September 2001)
Gareth Bale – £10m (to Tottenham in May 2007)
Luke Shaw – £27m (to Manchester United in June 2014)
Sadio Mane – £34m (to Liverpool in June 2016)
Virgil van Dijk – £75m (to Liverpool in January 2018)
The last four names on that list could at certain points after leaving St Mary’s justifiably claim to be the best in Europe in their position or, in Van Dijk’s case, any position.
Chris Waddle – £4.5m (to Marseille in July 1989)
Paul Gascoigne – £5.5m (to Lazio in June 1992)
Michael Carrick – £18.6m (to Manchester United in July 2006)
Dimitar Berbatov – £30.75m (to Manchester United in September 2008)
Gareth Bale – £85.3m (to Real Madrid in September 2013)
Those last two entries reek of Daniel Levy. And Chrissy Waddle hangs on in there.
Tony Cottee – £2.2m (to Everton in August 1988)
David Unsworth – £3m (to Aston Villa in June 1998)
John Hartson – £7.5m (to Wimbledon in January 1999)
Rio Ferdinand – £18m (to Leeds in November 2000)
Dimitri Payet – £25m (to Marseille in January 2017)
Five years on and the Hammers are steadfast on Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen, which is either admirably stubborn or stupid.
Robbie Keane – £6m (to Coventry in August 1999)
Matt Jarvis – £10.75m (to West Ham in August 2012)
Steven Fletcher – £14m (to Sunderland in August 2012)
Helder Costa – £16m (to Leeds in July 2020)
Diogo Jota – £41m (to Liverpool in September 2020)
That’s a mark that could only be passed by somebody going hard for Ruben Neves and at £70m that would have to be very hard indeed.