Football clubs have to pay a transfer fee in order to sign a player from another club. This fee is usually decided by the following factors:
- Market value
- Contract length remaining
- Importance to the team
- If the player wants to stay or leave
The players on this list have been recruited by clubs in England by paying some of the highest transfer fees in history. So, here are the top ten most expensive signings in the history of the Premier League.
10. Kai Havertz: €80 million (Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea)
In 20/21, Chelsea recruited one of the most in-demand youngsters in Europe and smashed their transfer record in the process. The German initially struggled to adapt to life and football in England and was also affected by COVID-19 which hindered his progress.
Kai Havertz went on to score the goal that won them their second Champions League trophy and is now growing into the Premier League as one of its best attackers.
9. Nicolas Pepe: €80 million (Lille to Arsenal)
Pepe remains Arsenal’s most expensive signing to this day, and surprisingly, he has not quite lived up to the price tag consistently. He has scored 25 goals in 92 appearances for the Gunners across all competitions.
Arsenal is currently out of European football, and Pepe will have to step up his game if he is to fulfill the potential that Arsenal saw in him prior to spending such a huge amount on recruiting him.
8. Kepa Arrizabalaga: €80 million (Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea)
After Thibaut Courtois left Chelsea during the final days of the transfer window for Real Madrid, the Blues panicked and activated Kepa’s release clause to make him the most expensive keeper in the world.
The Spaniard has struggled in recent years at Chelsea and is currently second in the order behind Edouard Mendy.
7. Virgil Van Dijk: €84.65 million (Southampton to Liverpool)
Recruiting Virgil Van Dijk was without a doubt Liverpool’s best transfer decision in the last few years. The Dutchman helped Jürgen Klopp’s team to their sixth Champions League title and their first Premier League title and has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world.
The Dutchman has truly justified his status as the most expensive signing in the history of the Merseyside club.
6. Romelu Lukaku: €84.7 million (Everton to Man Utd)
After being released by Chelsea and featuring for Everton, Lukaku was picked up by Manchester United. Lukaku scored 42 goals in 96 appearances for United across all competitions, establishing a decent scoring record.
He was not favored by the fans, despite netting very crucial goals, and was later sold to Inter Milan where he truly fulfilled his potential and became a deadly striker, strengthening his game drastically.
5. Jadon Sancho: €85 million (Dortmund to Man Utd)
A transfer one year in the making, Sancho was signed by United this summer for €85 million. Had he been signed last year, he would have featured much higher on this list due to Dortmund’s demands of over 100 million for their prized asset.
Sancho will wear the number 25 shirt at Old Trafford, as he returns to Manchester once again.
4. Harry Maguire: €87 million (Leicester to Man Utd)
Harry Maguire was United’s answer to Liverpool spending a record fee for a center-back. The England international is now the captain of the club and is the most expensive central defender in the Premier League.
His signing has been justified, with the player bringing some much-needed stability to the backline under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
3. Paul Pogba: €105 million (Juventus to Man Utd)
In 2010, Pogba was a part of the Manchester United academy and was later promoted to the reserve team. He was signed by Juventus on a free transfer in 2012 and went on to become one of the most prolific youngsters at the time.
Four years later, Pogba was re-signed by Manchester United for €105 million, making him the most expensive signing in the Premier League for the next five years.
2. Romelu Lukaku: €115 million (Inter Milan to Chelsea)
Not only is Lukaku the only player to appear twice on this list, but he also holds the record for the highest total transfer fee paid for him. Lukaku started his career with Chelsea and was moved on after not managing to break into the first team.
After spending seven years away from the club, Lukaku fulfilled his desire to feature for the Blues one day by making a €115 million switch from Inter Milan to Chelsea. His outstanding performances for the Nerazzurri forced Chelsea to break their transfer record a year after they set a new one.
1. Jack Grealish: €117.5 million (Aston Villa to Man City)
The former Aston Villa captain was signed by Manchester City in 2024, for £100 million, making him the most expensive Premier League signing of all-time, and Man City’s most expensive arrival in the process.
The player had a release clause in his contract with Villa, and Manchester City decided to activate it to bring the player over. Their offer for Champions League football was ultimately too good to turn down for the midfielder, who had the choice to sign a new deal with Villa as well.
The English transfer record was broken by Jack Grealish earlier this summer, and Lukaku was signed by Chelsea afterward. Several huge transfers have been left out, but have resulted in equally great investments for clubs. Are you interested in betting on transfers? If so, check out www.mightytips.hu.
It is worth noting that the transfer fee is only the value that a club is willing to pay for a player, and is not a 100% accurate estimate of their talent or their performances on the pitch. These can only be shown by the players, and how well they can adapt.