The 18 Most Expensive Incoming Transfers (By League)

This list breaks down the most spent on one player, per league.

Ajax recently agreed to sell winger Hakim Ziyech to Chelsea for $43.4 million, with the 26-year-old moving to Stamford Bridge in the summer. While this number doesn’t even break the top 50 most expensive transfers of all time, it would be a blockbuster deal in most other leagues around the world. This list consists of the 18 most expensive incoming transfers across different leagues. 

#1. Ligue 1: PSG bought Neymar for $240.7 million

The most expensive transfer to date is the historic 2017 move of Neymar from Barcelona to PSG. Even with the most expensive transfer in football history, poor Ligue 1 hasn’t tasted Champions League glory in decades. Apparently money doesn’t solve all your problems.

#2. LaLiga: Atletico Madrid bought Joao Felix for $136.6 million

The wonder boy who's still trying to find his feet in Spain comes in at number two on the list. It's surprising that neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid lead LaLiga with the highest incoming transfer.

#3. Serie A: Juventus bought Cristiano Ronaldo for $121.4 million

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Other than his horrifying animatronic, Ronaldo is living large with his new Italian side that broke the bank for him.

#4. Premier League: Manchester United bought Paul Pogba for $115.5 million

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At the time of the transfer in 2016, this was the world’s most expensive transfer. Now Pogba and Manchester United are desperate to split paths as the journey hasn’t exactly panned out.

#5. Bundesliga: Bayern Munich bought Lucas Hernandez for $86.7 million

One of the most expensive defenders in the world tops the Bundesliga for most expensive transfer after Bayern acquired Hernandez from Atletico in 2019.

#6. Chinese Super League: Shanghai SIPG bought Oscar for $66.1 million

The CSL comes in as the best of the rest outside of Europe’s “Big Five” spenders. I’m sure Oscar is enjoying his money almost as much as he enjoys belting the ball into opposing players.

#7. Russian Premier League: Zenit bought Hulk, Malcom and Axel Witsel for $43.3 million

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Zenit has a three-way tie with itself for most expensive incoming transfer. If they aren’t spending money, then the club is probably finding a new way to be racist.

#8. Qatar Stars League: Al Duhail bought Shoya Nakajima for $37.9 million

Qatar might be horrible at hosting a World Cup, but the country’s league comes in with the eighth most expensive incoming transfer.

#9. Ukrainian Premier League: Shakhtar Donetsk bought Bernard for $27.1 million

The speedy Brazilian leads Ukraine as its most expensive incoming transfer. I’m sure he enjoyed arriving in Ukraine in 2013 and then having to deal with the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. Bernard now plays for Everton.

#10. Primeira Liga (Portugal): Benfica bought Raul Jimenez for $24.2 million

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Mexico’s super striker is currently on the books at Wolverhampton in the Premier League where he is the joint-ninth leading scorer with 11 goals this season. 

#11. Serie A (Brazil): Flamengo bought Gabriel Barbosa for $19.2 million

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After being loaned out from Inter Milan, Barbosa found his new home with Brazilian club Flamengo. The club decided to go forth with the decision to buy Barbosa in January 2020.

#12. Turkish Super Lig: Galatasaray bought Jardel for $18.4 million

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The now retired Jardel still holds the Turkish Super Lig record for his transfer to Galatasaray in 2000. He played for one season and finished with a tally of 34 goals.

#13. Saudi Professional League: Al-Nassr bought Ahmed Musa for $17.89 million.

Musa’s finest hour came at the 2018 World Cup with his brace during Nigeria’s 2-0 win against Iceland in the group stage. The Nigerian is still looking for similar success at the club level after spells with CSKA Moscow and Leicester City. He now plays with Al-Nassr.

#14. Eredivisie (Netherlands): Ajax bought Miralem Sulejmani for $17.88 million

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Sadly, for the Eredivisie it's a one-way street of enormous transfers departing the Netherlands. With Chelsea confirming the purchase of Ziyech, nearly all of the league’s major stars have been bought by bigger clubs.

#15. Arabian Gulf League (UAE): Al-Ahli bought Moussa Sow for $17.6 million

You are in the same boat as me if you didn’t expect the Arabian Gulf League to appear on this list. Oh, the luxuries of oil-money. Sow might not be remembered for his time in the Gulf League, but instead for his bicycle kicks.

#16. Liga MX: Chivas bought Rodolfo Pizarro for $16.23 million

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North America alert! The new Inter Miami – or whatever the club will have to be called – signing holds the record for the most expensive signing in Liga MX. 

#17. Major League Soccer: Atlanta United bought Ezequiel Barco for $15 million 

Atlanta United leads MLS when it comes to transfers. The 2018 signing holds the current record for the most expensive transfer in MLS history. As the league continues to grow and expand, that number will most likely go up.

#18. Superliga Argentina: River Plate bought Lucas Pratto for $12.65 million

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Surprisingly, with massive clubs like River Plate and Boca Juniors, Argentina comes in at number 18 for most expensive transfer. Pratto’s 2018 transfer from Sao Paulo to River Plate stands as the highest transfer in the league’s history.

Honorable Mentions:

English Championship: Wolverhampton bought Ruben Neves for $19.69 million in 2017.

Ligue 2: Monaco bought Lucas Ocampos for $14.3 million in 2012.

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