Each year, the total amount of money spent on the most expensive transfers in Premier League history continues to increase. Indeed, Premier League clubs regularly break transfer-window spending records when top talent comes on the market.

It’s important to note, however, that the most expensive EPL transfers do not always involve the highest-paid Premier League players. Why is that? Well, many clubs have to part with a small fortune just to sign a player (not to mention the cost of agent fees and other expenses), and free agents often rake in bigger fees. As a result, the cost of the transfer, rather than the player’s individual salary, is the most significant expense.

With an influx of very costly new EPL done deals, the 2023-24 Premier League season promises to be a tough fight for both the title and a spot among the top four teams. Soccer fans should be in for a treat.

Who is the biggest transfer in Premier League history?

The most expensive transfer in Premier League history is also the most expensive Premier League transfer so far during the 2023 summer transfer window -- new Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo.

Ranking the Top 10 Most Expensive Premier League Transfers of all time

  1. Jadon Sancho

Movement: From Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United
Transfer Fee: $95.2 million (€85 million)
Year: 2021
Position: Winger
Nationality: England

English winger Jadon Sancho had been the apple of Manchester United’s eye for a long time. A lack of opportunity to join the first team led the former Manchester City academy product to move to Borussia Dortmund as a 17-year-old in 2017. In just 104 league matches (including 82 starts), Sancho recorded 83 goal involvements for his German team -- helping Dortmund valiantly challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title on multiple occasions.

Sancho gained a reputation for exceeding his expected goals and assists, which might have been inflated by playing alongside Erling Haaland for a few seasons. Indeed, he has underperformed relative to these numbers (per FBref) since his $95 million (€85 million) move to Manchester United in 2021.

Sancho will be competing against Antony, Alejandro Garnacho, and Marcus Rashford for a starting wing spot on Manchester United during the 2023-24 season.

Compared to other high-end England Premier League transfers, it’s hard to argue that Sancho has worked out very well so far.

  1. Harry Maguire

Movement: From Leicester City to Manchester United
Transfer Fee: $100 million (€87 million)
Year: 2019
Position: Center back
Nationality: England 

English defender Harry Maguire is no longer part of Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag’s long-term plans, although a rumored move to West Ham United has stalled. What does the future hold for the big English center back?

Before coming to Manchester United, Maguire was a regular starter for both Leicester City and England’s national team, which he helped lead to the 2018 World Cup semifinals. Former United manager Jose Mourinho tried but failed to sign Maguire in the summer of 2018. In 2019, the club finally got its man, and Maguire was United’s captain by the end of the 2019-20 season.

That was all before the disastrous 2021-22 season, when United’s defense was embarrassed on multiple occasions. Maguire was ridiculed for his role in that, although he has never been as bad as critics make him out to be. In fact, Maguire is great in the air and a good distributor from the back. Unfortunately, he is error-prone, and the United spotlight doesn’t seem to suit him.

In comparison to all other Premier League transfers, Maguire has been a general disappointment.

  1. Josko Gvardiol

Movement: From RB Leipzig to Manchester City
Transfer Fee:  $100.8 million (€90 million)
Year: 2023
Position: Center back
Nationality: Croatia

Manchester City has no shortage of quality defensive options, and the team only strengthened itself in the 2023 Premier League transfer window by adding Croatian superstar Josko Gvardiol. Croatian national team coach Zlatko Dalic has called Gvardiol “the best central defender in the world.”

While Dalic might be biased toward his own player, he does have a legitimate argument, since Gvardiol made the 2022 IFFHS men’s world team. His 87.78 passes per 90 minutes ranks in the 99th percentile for players at his position in Europe. This should make him a great long-term replacement for Aymeric Laporte, because Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola always wants to have a defender who can dictate a game with his passing.

  1. Antony

Movement: From Ajax to Manchester United
Transfer Fee: $108.3 million (€95 million)
Year: 2022
Position: Winger
Nationality: Brazil

Many fans know Brazilian winger Antony for his signature “fidget spinner” move. Unfortunately, the tricky winger hasn’t accomplished much other than that at Manchester United since his eye-popping $108 million move there in the summer of 2022.

Antony excelled at Ajax under current United coach Erik ten Hag, He took a starting spot away from entrenched starter David Neres and helped lead the Amsterdam-based club to consecutive Eredivisie titles.

While he has shown flashes of that Ajax performance for Manchester United (and has maintained his spot as a starter despite some impressive competition behind him), Antony needs to provide more output. His 4.66 progressive carries per 90 minutes is good, but not elite. If this is considered the strongest area of his game, then he needs to be better than he has been.

  1. Paul Pogba

Movement: From Juventus to Manchester United
Transfer Fee: $110.2 million (€105 million)
Year: 2016
Position: Central midfield
Nationality: France

Once the most expensive transfer in the soccer history, French midfielder Paul Pogba has simultaneously tantalized and disappointed during his years at Manchester United. He was a marquee signing for former United boss Jose Mourinho, but the pair frequently clashed, especially when Pogba struggled with fitness issues.

Everyone can see Pogba’s talent and IQ -- he dominated both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup tournaments for France and was a three-time Serie A Best XI while at Juventus. His best season at United came right after Mourinho was fired, when he led a fun but non-elite team under manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

The French midfielder has since returned to Juventus but missed most of last season with a knee injury. Pogba played a total of only 161 minutes during the 2022-23 season.

  1. Romelu Lukaku

Movement: From Inter Milan to Chelsea
Transfer Fee: $126.5 million (€113 million)
Year: 2021
Position: Striker
Nationality: Belgium

Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku secured his first big-money move to Chelsea as a teenager, joining for $25 million (€20 million) after having scored 33 goals for Anderlecht by the time he turned 18. He was never given a chance with Chelsea’s first team and ultimately joined West Brom and Everton on loan before becoming a permanent member of Everton’s roster in 2014.

Lukaku took off at Everton and made a major move to Manchester United in 2017 after spurning reported interest from Chelsea. Two uneventful years followed before he went to Inter Milan and exploded -- winning Serie A MVP honors for the 2020-21 season. Lukaku was looking for a fairytale return to the Premier League, and a cash-strapped Inter Milan obliged, sending him back to Chelsea for $126 million. A promotional video touting his return to the Blues summed it up in two words: “He’s home.”

How did Lukaku’s transfer to Chelsea work out? Let’s just say he was loaned back to Inter after one season and now Juventus and Tottenham are improbably fighting for his signature, albeit at a substantially reduced price.

  1. Declan Rice

Movement: From West Ham to Arsenal
Transfer Fee: $127 million (€116.6 million)
Year: 2023
Position: Central Midfielder
Nationality: England

English midfielder Declan Rice once said that it could be tough for him to practice with the national team, knowing all of his teammates were competing in the Champions League while he was in and out of relegation battles. His sensational $127 million move to Arsenal means he’ll no longer have that concern.

The former West Ham captain will likely play alongside Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard for Arsenal’s next-generation midfield. Will Rice be able to provide enough defensive cover? Last season, he ranked in the 95th percentile for interceptions with 1.78 per 90 minutes. Will he still be able to contribute to the attack?

  1. Jack Grealish

Movement: From Aston Villa to Manchester City
Transfer Fee: $132 million (€117.5 million)
Year: 2021
Position: Winger
Nationality: England

Birmingham native Jack Gealish was a local hero for his boyhood club, Aston Villa, and helped guide that team back up from the Championship into the Premier League. During the team’s 2018-19 promotion campaign, Grealish was sucker-punched by a rival Birmingham City fan early in a match yet still managed to score the winner in a thrilling 1-0 affair.

Once Villa returned to the top flight, Grealish was sensational, carrying his team up the standings all the  way to a surprising 55 points in 2020-21. He was always going to leave for a lot of money, and his eventual $132 million transfer was a Premier League record at the time.

Two years later, Grealish was a regular starter for a Manchester City team that won the treble.

  1. Enzo Fernandez

Movement: From Benfica to Chelsea
Transfer Fee: $135.5 million (€121 million)
Year: 2023
Position: Central Midfield
Nationality: Argentina 

Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez had one of the quickest transfer-value rises in soccer history. Benfica had shrewdly purchased the midfielder from River Plate for $50 million (€44.25 million) during the 2022 summer transfer window. After excelling for Benfica both domestically and in the Champions League (Benfica won a UCL group that included both PSG and Juventus), Fernandez helped guide Argentina to World Cup glory.

Just six months after his original transfer, Fernandez was sold to Chelsea in a dramatic January transfer day bender for a Premier League record $135.5 million – the most expensive Premier League January transfer. He was the lone bright spot in a moribund Blues 2022-23 season and excelled in the 2023-24 opener against Liverpool.

Ironically, Liverpool had the chance to sign Fernandez for just $17 million (€15 million) back in 2022. Oops.

  1. Moises Caicedo

Movement: From Brighton to Chelsea
Transfer Fee: $146 million (€133 million)
Year: 2023
Position: Central Midfield
Nationality: Ecuador

Three of the top five entries on this list are Chelsea signings, including Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo. He recently secured a stunning move to Chelsea that will see him join Enzo Fernandez in one of the most dynamic midfields in soccer.

What makes Caicedo so good? He combined for over four tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes while completing 89 percent of his passes (95th percentile) -- both exceptional figures. Although he won’t offer a lot of offense, Caicedo can be both a metronome and destroyer simultaneously.

Time will tell how Chelsea’s shiny young midfield comes together. Regardless, Caicedo’s deal is the new barometer for all other Premier League record transfers. Will any future Premier League summer transfers break this record?

Related: The 10 Biggest Premier League transfers in 2023-24 season

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