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Barcelona most expensive signings ever

Fri 30 September 2022 | 16:30

Eager to know who the most expensive signings in Barcelona history are? Want to know how they fared throughout their careers at the Catalan club? Then follow us below as we take a deeper look at the footballing careers of those on the list of Barcelona most expensive transfers ever.

Football has changed a lot since its early days and money speaks first when it comes to more domestic and continental success. That is why top clubs in Europe spend ridiculous amounts of money to acquire new players in order to be able to compete with their rivals and keep up with the recent trend of signing world-class footballers. While clubs such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are currently infamous for their lavish spending style, they are not the only clubs that spend unimaginable amounts of money to bring in new players every season.

That is because other top clubs in Europe, such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona know how to spend their hard-earned cash as well. Just like how City and United compete to sign the most expensive players in the Premier League, there is a rather hidden agenda behind the arrivals in the Spanish top-flight as well, since both Barcelona and Real Madrid try their best to bring in the best players in the world.

Of course Real Madrid have adopted a rather different transfer policy in recent times and Barcelona are the only club in La Liga to spend millions of Euros every season with the aim of signing world-class footballers. But who are on the list of

Barcelona most expensive signings ever

? How much have the Catalan giants paid in order to sign these costly players?

Surely you too are eager to know who the most expensive signings in Barcelona history and how they have fared at the Spanish club. So read on as we provide detailed information about the careers of these costly arrivals and get to see if they actually turned out to be successful signings, or if they flopped hard and left Barca with quite a lot of debt.

Barcelona most expensive transfers ever

From their most recent arrival Ferran Torres, to huge successes such as Luis Suarez and Neymar and utter disappointments such as Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, there are some big names on the list of Barcelona most expensive signings ever. So without further ado, here is everything you need to know about these costly arrivals and their respective careers so far.

Malcom

  • Transfer fee: €41M

Barcelona

are somehow known for making a mess of their big transfers solely because many of their most expensive arrivals turned out to be unused flops. One such example was the Brazilian Malcom, who joined Barca from

Bordeaux

for a massive fee of €41 million in the summer of 2018. Malcom was an up and coming winger with a lot of potential, who was just gaining continental attention for his incredible pace and footwork at the French club.

He had initially joined Bordeaux from Corinthians for €5 million in 2016 and was on his way towards becoming a world-class forward when Barca came knocking on the Ligue 1 side’s door with a bag full of cash. After joining the Spanish side for such a hefty fee, Malcom quickly earned his place amongst the

most expensive signings in Barcelona history

and attracted a lot more attention than what he was used to. Simply being at such a club is stressful enough for any player, let alone being one of their most expensive arrivals.

A lot of pressure was on the young winger to deliver the best performance of his life, as the club’s supporters expected him to prove his worth early on in his career at Barca. Surely the incredibly versatile winger wanted to live up to the billing at his then new club as well, which is why he put in all his efforts in order to deliver in the single season that he spent at Barcelona.

However, it seems that he simply pushed too hard and injured himself in the process, which led to him spending most of the 2018-19 season on the bench instead of wreaking havoc on the pitch. The former Bordeaux winger went on to make a total of 24 appearances for Barca in the 2018-19 campaign, scoring 4 goals and providing 2 assists in the process.

Despite being one of the Barcelona most expensive signings ever, Malcom did not get to earn the love and respect of his club’s supporters, which is why he was offloaded come next season as he joined Zenit St. Petersburg for €40 million in 2019. Considering how Barca’s other flops were handled, at least Malcom earned Barca back almost all of the money they had spent on signing him in the first place.

Ferran Torres

  • Transfer fee: €55M

Ferran Torres was added to the list of

Barcelona most expensive signings ever

when he arrived at the club from

Manchester City

in the 2022 January transfer window. The Spaniard cost his new club a whopping fee of €55 million, which is a lot more than what many footballers in the world cost. Despite being only 22 years old, Torres has already played for three of the greatest clubs in the world, which are Valencia, Manchester City and now Barcelona.

He rose up the ranks at

Valencia

’s youth academy and went on to join their senior side in the winter of 2018. He spent a year and a half at the Spanish side, before joining the Cityzens for a little over €33 million in 2020. Pep Guardiola had high hopes for the winger as he considered him to be his future project for the right flank of his Manchester City squad.

Even though Torres was not the Spanish manager’s first choice for the right-wing at Man City, he still managed to make 43 appearances for the Premier League side across all competitions, scoring 16 goals and providing 4 assists in the process. These stats helped him to become a more experienced and sophisticated winger, which led him to realize that he needs more game time in order to further boost his stats and gain more experience as a young and promising winger.

That is why he joined Barca without hesitation when the Catalan giants came knocking on Man City’s door. One thing that boggles Barca supporters’ minds, is the fact that the club are continuing to bring in new players, despite strictly claiming that they were unable to keep Leo Messi at Barca solely because of financial reasons. Whatever secrets there are, it does not hide the fact that Ferran Torres is one of Barca’s most expensive signings of all time and he seems to be on the right path towards living up to the billing.

The Spanish winger made 18 appearances in the league last season and managed to score four goals while providing 4 assists in the process as well. Even though he proved to be a prolific addition to Barcelona’s squad in the previous season, Torres has failed to impress as much as he did during his debut season. As we are getting closer to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, we shall see if Torres can change the tides in his favor by making good use of his chances during international friendlies.

Miralem Pjanic

  • Transfer fee: €60M

Next on the list of

Barcelona most expensive signings ever

is someone whose arrival was never welcome at the Spanish club. Pjanic arrived at the club from Juventus on a swap deal that saw Arthur move in the opposite direction to join Juventus in 2020. This deal was seen as a failure for the La Liga side as they lost one of their future prospects in the hopes of signing a veteran who could help them turn the tides in their favor.

After Xavi and Iniesta’s departure from Barcelona, the Catalan giants struggled to showcase any kind of strength in the middle of the park, which was why they were desperate to finally get a grip over the midfield by signing a seasoned midfielder. Pjanic was already considered to be one of the best in the business as he had played for clubs such as Olympique

Lyon

, AS Roma and Juventus, before joining the Blaugrana for a massive fee of €60 million, which actually put him on the list of FC Barcelona highest transfer fee paid ever as well.

Having initially started his career at FC

Metz

way back in 2007, the Bosnia-Herzegovina international gained prominence as a talented central midfielder in the French top-flight and gained global recognition for his impressive performance in the Serie A. But his move to Barcelona was probably the worst decision he could make. The 30-year-old never lived up to the expectations as he could not even perform at an acceptable level.

He made a total of 30 appearances for the Spanish giants and spent the rest of the season on the bench, which led to his further demise. The former

Juventus

midfielder paid a hefty price for being on the list of Barcelona most expensive signings ever. That is why he is currently spending his time on loan at Besiktas, whom he joined in September 2021.  He will return to Barca in the summer and everyone is eager to see if Xavi can bring out the best in the 31-year-old midfielder.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

  • Transfer fee: €69.5M

Is there anyone in world football who does not know who Zlatan Ibrahimovic is? If someone did not know who the Sweden wonder-striker was, they would have been fooled by the fact that his current market value is €4 million. But we all know that his market value is only reflecting his age. The seasoned center-forward has truly aged like fine wine as he is still considered to be one of the most formidable and prolific strikers in the world at 40.

The Swedish center-forward has played for numerous clubs throughout his career, including several world-class teams across Europe. He rose up the ranks at Malmo’s youth academy and went on to gain global attention for his phenomenal performance at Ajax in early 2000s. He made his first big-money move in 2004, when he joined Juventus from Ajax for €16 million. Having spent two years with the Bianconeri, Ibrahimovic joined

Inter

for €24 million and went on to enjoy quite an illustrious career with the Nerazzurri.

That is exactly why Barcelona called Inter to sign the prolific center-forward for an eye-watering fee of €69.5 million in the summer of 2009. Ibrahimovic was on top of the list of Barcelona most expensive signings ever, which is why a lot of responsibility fell on his shoulders. Of course Zlatan was not a flop like many other Barca signings, since he managed to score 22 goals and provide 13 assists in the process of 46 appearances across all competition, which helped Pep Guardiola and Barcelona secure five trophies in the single season that he spent with the Catalan giants.

The issue with Zlatan’s rather short time at Barcelona was not about the stats and his performance. It was actually related to the former Sweden international’s mentality not being similar to his manager and his club’s work ethic and characteristics. That was why one of

Barca’s most expensive signings of all time

was sent out on loan to

AC Milan

in the summer of 2010. The Italian side were quick to make his move permanent a year later in 2011, as they signed one of the greatest strikers of all time for €24 million.  

Luis Suarez

  • Transfer fee: €81M

Who could forget the days we were all excited to finally watch

Real Madrid

’s BBC trio take on Barcelona’s MSN trio, which consisted of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar? Football was something different back then. Even though it might sound like we are talking about two or even three decades ago, these days were actually back in 2014, when Luis Suarez found his place on the list of Barcelona most expensive signings ever after joining the Spanish side for a massive fee of €81 million.

The Uruguayan striker was the last piece of the puzzle as his arrival completed the deadly MSN trio, which went on to dominate and humiliate the opposition defenders every week. Suarez was already considered to be one of the greatest strikers in the world when he joined Barcelona from Liverpool. But joining Barca was the reason behind him being immortalized in the footballing halls of fame, as he went on to conquer the world with the Blaugrana.

Being on the list of

Barcelona most expensive transfers ever

, the former

Ajax

striker went on to make a total of 283 appearances for the La Liga side, scoring 195 goals and providing 113 assists in the process. These truly phenomenal stats will not be repeated that easily, which is why it is a pity Barca let go of such a prolific goal-scorer and vital player that easily.

They actually let go of Suarez for a mere €7 million as the Uruguay international joined their league rivals Atletico Madrid in 2020 and went on to win the league title with Diego Simeone and his men.

Frenkie de Jong

  • Transfer fee: €86M

Next on the list of Barcelona most expensive signings ever is Frenkie de Jong, who joined the Blaugrana from Ajax for a massive fee of €86 million back in 2019. The young midfielder is considered to be one of the brightest talents of his generation, which is all thanks to his brilliant performance at both Ajax and Barcelona.

The Dutch midfielder started his career at Ajax after spending some time on loan at Willem II. He joined the Dutch club’s senior side in 2016 and went on to be a part of the club’s historic squad, which created wonders for football fans in the 2019-20 Champions League. Alongside the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, de Jong showcased his true potential, which is exactly why Barcelona paid such a hefty fee to sign him early on in his career.

Even though the 24-year-old missed the opportunity to play for the La Liga side during their golden age, he has still managed to earn the appreciation and respect of the club’s supporters throughout the years. As one of Barca’s most expensive signings of all time, the former Ajax man has made more than 125 appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring 13 goals and providing 15 assists in the process.

His current market value is estimated to be around €70 million, which shows how valuable of a midfielder he actually is. Considering how others amongst the most expensive arrivals in Barcelona history fared throughout their respective careers at the Catalan club, de Jong has performed admirably and we will have to wait and see if he can even win the Champions League with his current side.

Neymar

  • Transfer fee: €88M

We all know Neymar as the current most expensive footballer in the world, which is all thanks to his eye-watering, monstrous and quite unbelievable transfer fee to

Paris Saint-Germain

. The Parisians paid a whopping €222 million in order to activate the Brazilian’s release clause in the summer of 2017. But before leaving everyone in awe of his mammoth transfer fee during his move to PSG, Neymar was known for his massive transfer fee at Barcelona.

The former Santos FC forward cost the Spanish giants €88 million back in 2013, which was considered to be quite a hefty fee indeed. Even though he did not get to break the record for the most expensive arrival back then, Neymar still managed to attract quite a lot of attention and gain lots of publicity thanks to his move to Barcelona.

As one of the main components of the historic MSN trio, Neymar went on to win everything there was to win at Barcelona alongside his world-class teammates Messi and Suarez. He made a total of 186 appearances during his four-year spell at Barcelona, scoring a phenomenal number of 105 goals and providing 76 assists in the process. The list of FC Barcelona highest transfer fee paid ever includes numerous world-class talents, yet few come close to Neymar’s stats at Barca, which is why the club’s supporters are missing their golden boy, who’s been enjoying his easier life at PSG.

Antoine Griezmann

  • Transfer fee: €120M

Has there ever been a transfer in football, which has made you think “this is just wrong”? Well, Antoine Griezmann’s move to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid was undoubtedly one of those moves for many football enthusiasts. The Fenchman came to be known as the goal-scoring talisman of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, yet everything changed when the 2018 World Cup champion decided to leave the Madrid-based club to join Barcelona in the summer of 2019.

The Rojiblancos were paid a massive fee of €120 million in order to let go of Antoine Griezmann. While Simeone went on to spend all that money to bring in Joao Felix from Benfica, Antoine Griezmann went on to find his place on a long list of Barcelona flops. The French striker was always a prolific goal scorer, yet he failed to live up to the billing and prove that he is actually worth such a significant fee.

That is why scoring 35 goals and providing 17 assists in 102 appearances across all competitions was never enough for the club or their fans. After spending two seasons with Barcelona, Griezmann was loaned back to Atleti in the summer of 2021, with his massive transfer fee being one of the main reasons why Barca did not have the financial stability to pay for Lionel Messi’s wages.

Philippe Coutinho

  • Transfer fee: €135M

Next on the list of FC Barcelona highest transfer fee paid ever is Philippe Coutinho’s eye-watering transfer, which cost the Blaugrana more than €130 million in 2018. From the man who was once idolized at

Liverpool

for his phenomenal footwork and extraordinary curved shots, to being the most expensive arrival at Barcelona and later becoming a rather regular professional footballer, Philippe Coutinho has certainly been through a lot in his career.

The 29-year-old literally forced his move to Barcelona as Liverpool were not willing to sell one of their brightest stars to a possible UCL rival. Yet the Brazilian winger insisted on joining Barca as he showed his unprofessionalism by not showing up to training at Liverpool. Seeing such an attitude towards the Premier League football club, Jurgen Klopp finally gave in and the English side accepted Barcelona’s offer in the 2018 January transfer window.

Upon his arrival at Camp Nou, however, Coutinho soon realized that not everything was going to according to plan, and that he was about to go through a difficult period at the Spanish club. The Brazil international has since joined Aston Villa on a permanent deal and is enjoying his life in the English Premier League.

Ousmane Dembele

  • Transfer fee: €140M

Who would have thought that the most expensive signing in Barcelona’s history would go on to cost them an eye-watering figure of €140 million, only to have his market value crash down to earth to reach €30 million in only a couple of years? That is what happened to Ousmane Dembele, who became Barca’s most expensive arrival when he joined the Spanish side from Borussia Dortmund for such a staggering fee in the summer of 2017.

The Frenchman was considered to be one of the most exciting prospects in the world with an unbelievable pace and incredible footwork. These skills proved to be more than enough to convince Barca to pay such a fee to acquire his services. However, the France international fell victim to the pressure that came with being on top of such a list at such a young age. Dembele is currently 24 years old, which goes to show what a risk Barca took when signing him.

The risks did not pay off in the end, however, as the 2018 World Cup champion went on to spend most of his time on the sidelines due to injury woes. Every time Dembele came out of injury, he was introduced to a whole new manager, which quickly turned into a meme on social media. It will take a long time before the Blaugrana can once again pay such hefty fees to sign new players and perhaps that is a good thing, as they can reflect on their transfer policy with Xavi’s arrival as their new manager.

Raphinha

Everyone was left scratching their heads when they heard news of Barcelona signing Raphinha from Leeds United for €58 million in the 2022-23 summer transfer window. The question that boggled our minds was how can Barcelona afford to sign so many players in a single season while also being so much in debt? The question still stands, yet the Blaugrana have managed to add so much quality to their squad through the recent months.

Having signed several world-class players such as Robert Lewandowski, Barca had to pay almost €60 million to sign Raphinha, who has been lauded as one of the most promising wingers from Brazil. The 25-year-old has already gotten himself on the club’s goal-scorers list by scoring a goal and providing an assist in his first five league games. We shall wait and see if manages to improve upon his stats or if the club are going to suffer from yet another failed signing.

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