The following list of “expensive” La Liga signings is mostly comprised of lower-cost deals. Why is that? Well, let’s just say cash isn’t exactly flush in that league these days, particularly among the smaller-market teams.

Most La Liga transfer news involving the 2023 La Liga transfer window has focused on the potential Kylian Mbappe move to Real Madrid, which won’t happen until 2024.

Who has the La Liga transfer record in 2023?

English midfielder Jude Bellingham’s move to Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund for an initial $112.2 million (€103 million) fee is the most expensive La Liga new signing for 2023.

Ranking the 10 Biggest La Liga Transfers in 2023-24 Season

  1. Cyle Larin

Movement: Club Brugge to Mallorca
Transfer Fee: $8.1 million (€7.5 million)
Position: Striker
Nationality: Canada 

Canadian striker Cyle Larin has had a nomadic journey in recent seasons. After netting 43 goals in 87 MLS games, he joined countryman Atiba Hutchinson on Turkish powerhouse Besiktas and immediately scored four goals in four games to conclude the 2017-18 season. A tepid return followed in 2018-19, and Larin underwhelmed on loan to Belgium’s Zulte Waregem.

Larin then exploded for 23 total goals with Besiktas during the 2020-21 season -- leading the Black Eagles to the Turkish championship. In 2022 he moved to Belgium’s Club Brugge and struggled to get into the starting XI, but he was reborn on a loan stint at Valladolid in La Liga.

After Valladolid was relegated to the Segunda division, Mallorca came calling and forked over more than $8 million for Larin’s services.

  1. Artem Dovbyk

Movement: From Dnipro-1 to Girona
Transfer Fee: $8.4 million (€7.75 million)
Position: Striker
Nationality: Ukraine 

Ukrainian striker Artem Dovbyk will join countryman Victor Tsyhankov at Girona on what will be a dynamic attacking team in the 2023-24 season. Doybyk came off the bench in the club’s first match against Real Sociedad and scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw.

Dovbyk scored 24 league goals with Dnipro in 2022-23 and now looks to add to an already talented Girona forward line. 

  1. Luis Suarez

Movement: From Marseille to UD Almeria
Transfer Fee: $8.7 million (€8 million)
Position: Striker
Nationality: Colombia 

No, we’re not talking about that Luis Suarez. This one, a Colombian striker, was originally a lost soul in Watford’s loan army. He never actually played for the English club and instead went out on loan to four separate teams. He finally took off with Zaragoza of the Segunda Division in 2019-20, scoring 19 league goals.

That performance earned Suarez a move to Granada, and after two decent seasons, he transferred to UCL French club Marseille. He made his UCL debut, but struggled to get playing time and was loaned to La Liga newcomers Almeria for the second half of the 2022-23 season.

Almeria activated the obligatory buyout clause for Suarez when it avoided relegation, and he started in the club’s first game of the 2023-24 La Liga season.

  1. Sergi Darder

Movement: From Espanyol to Mallorca
Transfer Fee: $8.7 million (€8 million)
Position: Central Midfield
Nationality: Spain 

Spanish midfielder Sergi Darder turned 29 in 2023, but he was once a talented youth player who capped for the Spanish U17, U18, and U21 teams. He moved from Malaga to French UCL’s Lyon for $13 million (€12 million) in 2015 and was in an out of the first team for three seasons.

Darder was loaned to Espanyol and eventually stayed with that Barcelona-based club, even playing a season for the team after its relegation to the Segunda division. He thrived in Espanyol’s first year back up in 2021-22, notching a combined 12 goal involvements to help the team finish in the middle of the standings.

Espanyol was relegated the following season, but it was hardly Darder’s fault. His shot-creating actions for midfielders ranked in the 95th percentile among players in men’s Big 5 leagues (per FBref). He transferred to Mallorca in the summer.

  1. Alexander Sorloth

Movement: From RB Leipzig to Villarreal
Transfer Fee: $10.9 million (€10 million)
Position: Striker
Nationality: Norway

Alexander Sorloth, a 27-year-old Norwegian striker, seems to have his best seasons at random. In 2017-18, he got hot with 15 goals in 29 games for Denmark’s Midtjylland. That led the Premier League’s Crystal Palace to come calling. After a few lost seasons, he heated up again while on loan to Trabzonspor, where he scored 33 times across all competitions and helped lead his Turkish team to a surprising second-place finish.

Sorloth struggled to earn playing time at RB Leipzig and was hardly prolific in his first season on loan to Real Sociedad. He picked it up in his second campaign, scoring 16 goals across all competitions to help the Basque squad finish in Spain’s top four.

Sorloth is on the move again, joining La Liga’s Villarreal, where he will play alongside talented Spanish forward Gerard Moreno to form a potentially dynamic attack.

  1. Djibril Sow

Movement: From Eintracht Frankfurt to Sevilla
Transfer Fee: $10.9 million (€10 million)
Position: Central Midfield
Nationality: Switzerland 

Swiss midfielder Djibril Sow has left Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt to join UCL’s Sevilla for $10.9 million. A regular starter in central midfield for his German team, Sow was part of Frankfurt’s surprising 2021-22 UEFA Europa League title team.

Sow has also excelled for the Swiss national team, often playing alongside Granit Xhaka in a midfield pivot. He started Sevilla’s opening game of the 2023-24 La Liga season and will compete with Oliver Torres and Joan Jordan for spots in the club’s midfield.

  1. Loic Bade

Movement: From Stade Rennes to Sevilla
Transfer Fee: $13 million (€12 million)
Position: Center back
Nationality: France

French center back Loic Bade never really got a chance at Rennes after a $20 million move in from Lens in 2021. He made just 14 league appearances in his debut campaign with Rennes and was loaned to the Premier League’s Nottingham Forest for the 2022-23 season. However, that loan was terminated after Bade failed to make even a single appearance for the club.

Bade was suddenly reborn while on loan to Sevilla. He started in the 2023 Europa League final victory over Roma and publicly proclaimed to the club’s sporting director “Please, please sign me.” Sevilla sporting director Monchi responded with: “It’s already done, we have already signed you.”

  1. Arda Guler

Movement: From Fenerbahce to Real Madrid
Transfer Fee: $21.8 million (€20 million)
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Nationality: Turkey

Turkish attacking midfielder Arda Guler has only 40 career professional appearances (16 starts), but that was enough to trigger an arms race for his signature. Ultimately, Real Madrid won that race and triggered Guler’s $19 million release clause at Fenerbahce (Madrid ended up paying $21.8 million).

Guler was in contention for a starting spot on the wing for Madrid, since a forward line position opened up with the departure of club legend Karim Benzema. However, Guler suffered an unfortunate preseason knee injury that will see him miss a substantial period of time.

  1. Antoine Griezmann

Movement: From Barcelona to Atletico Madrid
Transfer Fee: $21.8 million (€20 million)
Position: Forward
Nationality: France

French forward Antoine Griezmann’s return to Atletico Madrid is one of the most bizarre La Liga transfers in recent history. Griezmann originally transferred from Madrid to Barcelona in the summer of 2019 for an astonishing $134 million (€120 million) fee. After two underwhelming seasons, he was back on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann’s return has a conditional $44 million (€40 million) permanent transfer clause that’s contingent on the total amount of minutes he plays. Because of this, Atletico limited him to bench cameos of no longer than 40 minutes per match. After what was going on became obvious, Madrid and Barcelona agreed on a reduced transfer fee for Griezmann.

  1. Jude Bellingham

Movement: From Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid
Transfer Fee: $112.2 million (€103 million)
Position: Central Midfield
Nationality: England 

Yes, you are reading the number correctly. As of this writing, English midfielder Jude Bellingham’s transfer to Real Madrid has cost more money than the combined total of this list’s nine other transfers.

In case you didn’t realize it, Bellingham is really good. Manchester City and Liverpool were both heavily interested in his signature, but the Englishman always had his mind set on Madrid. The Spanish juggernaut forked over an initial fee of $112 million that can rise potentially to $146 million (€133.9) million if certain incentives are hit.

Bellingham is the most expensive La Liga summer transfer for the 2023-24 season and his fee likely will not be surpassed unless Real Madrid comes knocking for a certain French superstar.

Related: Top 10 most expensive La Liga transfers in history

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