Top 10 Biggest Transfers in Football

Transfer the thing that makes the footballing world merry go round that and they happen all the time. Players, coaches,  staff, ownership come and go, that's what keeps things fresh. But every once in a while, a transfer happens which ends up shaking the very foundation  of the sport. 

Although there are a lot of Transfers to go through and "Top 10" is a very subjective term , we are going to have a look at 10 such transfers that potentially fit the bill.

As the great Fabrizio Romano says, HERE WE GO !!

1) David Beckahm to LA Galaxy

David Beckham - One of the top transfers in Football.
David Beckham (Credits-MLS)

Although at that time, on the face of it, this looked like yet another superstar at the fag end of their career going to an obscure league for one last big payday but David Beckham to LA Galaxy  ended up legitimize the league and he now even has  his own team thanks to a clause in his contract.

Though he did return to Europe for a final swansong with PSG. He really paved the way for future marquee stars like Zlatan and nowadays young rising stars from south America like Thiago Almada and Almiron to take MLS as a footballing destination  to reckon with.

2) Tevez and Mascerhano to West Ham

Tevez & Mascerhano - One of the top transfers in football.
Tevez(Left) Mascerhano(Right) (Credits- Premier League)

This was by no doubt one of the most controversial transfers in the history of the Premier League. It highlighted the perils of 3rd party ownership of player rights which is common in South America. Though the only issue was that 3rd party ownership is kind of frowned upon in the PL as well as Blades fan, but that's a different story in itself for another day.

3)  Giuseppe Savoldi to Napoli

Giuseppe Savoldi - One of the top transfers in Football.
Giuseppe Savoldi (Credits- Napoli Official)

The former Napoli, Atalanta and Italy striker might not be the first of  names you hear about when discussion about great players comes up. But in an Era of crazy transfer fees and insane wages in the currently inflated transfer market, his transfer was the one which started it all. In 1975, he was signed by Napoli for a then world record two billion Lira (£1.2 million), becoming football's first million pound player.

4) Neymar to PSG

Neymar - One of the top transfers in Football history.
Neymar (Credits-PSG)

Now speaking of crazy transfers, this is a transfer which many refer to as the transfer that broke Football and is responsible for setting precedence to the crazy transfer fees and insane wages we see thrown around at even the slightest hint of promise in a football player. 

This happened thanks to PSG triggering the buyout. Clause of €222 million making it the most expensive transfer of history  and in turn starting a chain of events where Barcelona themselves spent an absurd amount to replace Neymar by signing Coutinhio. The  €100 million mark which once held a lot of significance when a player was transferred  for such a massive sum, lost much of its shock value.

5) Freddy Adu to DC United

Freddy Adu - One of the top transfers in Football.
Freddy Adu (Credits - DC United)

Now this technically doesn't count as a transfer between clubs since it was a draft but a 14 year old being signed and played  professionally at any level especially after having a record of more than a goal. A game for the U.S U-17 side at 13  is absolutely bonkers. 

He was being earmarked as the next Pele but this a cautionary tale about how young Football prodigies are commercialized and thrown into the spotlight right from the get go when they haven't even fundamentally developed and unfortunately in hindsight, Adu is now it's poster boy.

6) Buffon to Juventus 2001

Buffon - One of the top transfers in Football.
Buffon (Credits - Parma Official and Juventus Official)

Traditionally, the more glamours positions mainly that being of strikers have gone for big bucks or every decade or two a defensive monster like Rio Ferdinand and keepers generally being an afterthought. 

But Gigi Buffon broke those conceptions by joining The Old Lady in 2001, for the world record fee for a goalkeeper of €52.9 million at that time and being a constant between the sticks for Juve for 19 years across 2 spells showing that betting big on a goalkeeper can reap fruitful long term rewards.

7) Jay-Jay Okocha to Bolton

Jay-Jay Okocha - One of the top transfers in Football.
Jay-Jay Okocha (Credits - Bolton Wanderers Official)

A super star so good they named him twice arrived at the Reebok Arena from PSG on a free. This transfer seemed more absurd than the AI scripted transfer in my FIFA saves at that time. The move on the surface had no crazy wages or transfer fees involved, a team  that was infact relegation threatened . 

This may not be a transfer you might find on any other list, but his time at Bolton showed that it wasn't purely commercial and all about money or glory and there were still footballers out there who played to enjoy the game and entertain fans. One of the most memorable cult heroes in the Premier League history all thanks to this transfer even though a superstar of his stature could have had the pick of his clubs and went anywhere he wanted to.

8) Oscar to Shanghai Port

Oscar - One of the top transfers in Football.
Oscar (Credits - Shanghai Port)

Though, there have been players who have moved to obscure league at the twilight of their career to get the bag one last time, Oscar had set the precedence for players who wanted to cash out on in their peak. He signed for Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG for an Asian transfer record of £60 million in January 2017. 

There to this day trading a shot at European Glory for guaranteed cash even though he has stated that he is happy with the decision repeatedly stated by him. I hope so considering Oscar was reported to have signed a four-year contract with a weekly salary of £400,000 which he wouldn't have had a guarantee to earn at any point in his career even though he had the talent and potential to do so.

9) Diego Maradona to Napoli

Diego Maradona - One of the top transfers in Football.
Diego Maradona (Credits - Napoli Official)

You know a player has left a legacy worth being remembered  when the stadium of a club is named after said player and his shirt Number being retired by the club. Maradona was transferred to Napoli in Italy's Serie A on 5th July 1984 for another world record fee, £6.9 million at that time.

He was the star man who managed to break the hegemony of the more northern and located clubs like Milan, Juve Roma leading them to two league tiltes in 87 and 90 an Italian Supercup in 90 and UEFA Cup in 89.

10) Cristiano Ronaldo to Al-Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo - Top transfers in Football history.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Credits Al-Nassr Official)

The face of the Saudi Pro League project and  the eventual outcome of the precedence of the Oscar transfer to China, Ronaldo received the highest football salary in history, worth €200 million per year including commercials , sponsorships. 

He was reportedly paid a signing-on bonus in the region of €100 million. But the biggest effect of his transfers that it has put the Saudi league on the global map and the general public beginning to take notice and along with that setting the trend for other big stars like Benzema, Kanter, Neves to follow suit.

Cover Credits - The Athletic

Leave a Reply