Football Features

Ranked: The 10 players with the highest combined transfer fees

By James Amey

Published: 14:27, 17 July 2023

Some big name players stay at one club for the majority of their careers, but there are some players that don’t like to stay in once place too long. 

For every Francesco Totti there is a Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for every Paolo Maldini there’s an Angel Di Maria. Players, whether by design or by no choice of their own, find themselves on the end of big money transfers to many different sides during their career.

There will be always those players who are in demand and those who it hasn’t quite worked out for at their new clubs, where another transfer is the only answer. So with that in mind, we’ve looked at the players that have accumulated the most transfer fees during their careers.

Here’s the top 10.

10. Zlatan Ibramhimovic

Number of transfers: 9

Combined transfer fees: £145m

The man, the myth, the Lion. Zlatan moved nine times during his career, trying his hand at seven different leagues, winning trophies and scoring countless goals wherever he went, including a Puskas award winning strike in 2013 for Sweden against England.

9. Angel Di Maria

Number of transfers: 6

Combined transfer fees: £147.2m

Despite recently re-joining Benfica on a free transfer 13 years after leaving the club, Angel Di Maria’s big money moves to Real Madrid, Man Utd and PSG means that clubs have splashed a combined £147.2m on the Argentine winger during his career, with some deals being more successful than others…

8. Antoine Griezmann 

Number of transfers: 3

Combined transfer fees: £153m

In one of the worst transfer deals of all-time, Antoine Griezmann left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019 for £107m before re-joining the club initially on loan in August 2021. He recently made his return permanent, after the Frenchman struggled in Catalonia, scoring 35 goals in 102 appearances for Barca.

7. Ousmane Dembele

Number of transfers: 2

Combined transfer fees: £153m

After setting the world alight at Borussia Dortmund alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Barcelona decided to pay big money for the Frenchman to replace the outgoing Neymar in 2017. Having struggled with injuries and playing time at Camp Nou, the 26-year-old never really re-found his Dortmund form, but having signed a new deal until 2024, he will be hopefull of turning it around.

6. Alvaro Morata  

Number of transfers: 4

Combined transfer fees: £160.8m

Having played for Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus and Atletico Madrid, it is no surprise that Alvaro Morata has racked up transfer fees during his career. The Blues paid a then club record for the Spaniard back in 2017 (a reported £60m), but it never really worked out, with Morata deciding to return to LaLiga with Atletico, before then again returning to Juventus in 2020.

5. Kylian Mbappe

Number of transfers: 1

Combined transfer fees: £165.7m

Despite being the only player on this list to only move clubs once, Kylian Mbappe’s £165.7m transfer from Monaco to PSG sneaks him into the top five. If rumours are to be believed, then the 24-year-old may be on the move again soon, but whether it will be for a fee this summer or for free at the end of the campaign, is yet to be seen.

4. Philippe Coutinho

Number of transfers: 4

Combined transfer fees: £167.9m

Liverpool’s decision to sell the Brazilian to Barcelona in 2018 turned out to be one of their better ones, as it allowed Jurgen Klopp the money to re-build his side and eventually bring home the Premier League title with the squad that he wanted. The playmaker struggled in Catalonia, before eventually re-joining the Premier League after a successful loan spell at Aston Villa.

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3. Cristiano Ronaldo

Number of transfers: 5

Combined transfer fees: £210.1m

Being the only player to move for more than £80 million on multiple occasions, it is no surprise that one of the best players to ever play the game makes the top three. After winning 16 trophies and scoring 451 goals, Cristiano Ronaldo left as Real Madrid’ all-time top goalscorer, more than repaying the £80 million Los Blancos splashed out on the Portuguese star from Manchester United in 2009. Even better than that, the Spanish side made a £9m profit when he moved to Juventus in 2018.

2. Neymar

Number of transfers: 2

Combined transfer fees: £248.8m

Neymar became the world’s most expensive player when he decided to leave Barcelona and break up the MSN trio back in 2017, with PSG paying a reported £198 million for the Brazilian. That combined with the £50.8m Santos received from Barcelona puts Brazil’s all-time joint top goalscorer second in the list.

1. Romelu Lukaku

Number of transfers: 5

Combined transfer fees: £291m

With Romelu Lukaku expected to leave Stamford Bridge in the coming weeks, the Belgian looks set to become the first player in football history to pass £300m in accumulative initial transfer fees. The Blues will almost certainly make a loss on the £97.5m they spent to bring Big Rom back to the club in 2021, as the forward looks set to move for £25m+ for the fifth time in his career. 

Highest combined transfer fee XI