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Serie A Most Expensive Signings Ever

Wednesday09 December 2020 | 12:30
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It’s near the January transfer window, so what better time to look at the Serie A most expensive signings ever?! Find out who they are below

Previously we have looked at the most expensive transfers in England and Spain’s respective leagues and this time we take a look at Italy to see who are the

Serie A most expensive signings ever

. Obviously, with the money that is being injected into football in the recent years, the transfer fees for top class playes have gotten higher and higher over the years, but it will be interesting to see how COVID-19 will affect the market in the years to come.

It’s important to note that several of the Serie A most expensive signings ever are from the late 90s and early 2000s, back when the league was maybe the best in Europe, but the amount of money that are being spent on Serie A transfers today, shows that the league is experiencing a sort of reemergence and that is great news for Italian football fans. But first let’s look at some of these transfers:

Most Expensive Serie A Transfers of All Time

the Serie A's reigning champion over the last decade, Juventus, has the most number of players among most expensive Serie A transfers of all time, with 5 players, now let us see who they are:

10. Christian Vieri

We start our list of

Serie A most expensive transfers ever

with none other than the

Inter Milan

legend, Christian Vieri. Although Vieri played for many clubs during his career, including Inter, Juventus, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Lazio, it was his transfer to Inter Milan and his time there that is remembered the most by football fans, as he paired up with Ronaldo and would later become one of Inter Milan’s top scorers of all time.

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Christian Vieri, who had just become Italian Footballer of the Year in 1999 by helping Lazio win the Cup Winners’ Cup in a Man of the Match performance, perhaps left Lazio a little too early, as the club would go on to win one of its 2 Serie A titles the very next season. But Inter Milan was ahead and Vieri couldn’t look back.

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Christian Vieri spent 6 seasons with Inter Milan playing in 190 games and having an excellent return of 123 goals in those matches, more than justifying his

€46.5 million

price tag that Inter paid Lazio. However, he only won 1 trophy with Inter Milan, which was the 2004-05 Coppa Italia, before leaving Inter in 2005, again in a premature move, as they went on to win the Serie A that season. One thing is for certain though which is the fact that Vieri more than justified being one of Serie A most expensive signings ever with his time at Inter Milan, despite the lack of silverware.

9. Gaizka Mendieta

As we mentioned above, Lazio were having some its best years in the late 90s and they ended up selling quite a few of their players in transfers that made them some of the

most expensive Serie A transfers of all time

and those transfers funded the move for

Valencia

’s star, Gaizka Mendieta, who at the time became the sixth most expensive player of all time.

Mendieta had experienced relative success with Valencia in the years prior to his move to Lazio, with him appearing in 2 Champions League finals, and so he was brought in to fill in the place of players like Pavel Nedved and Juan Sebastian Veron who had just departed the club. But he failed to impress at

Lazio

and was subsequently loaned out to Barcelona the very next season, with a further loan to Middlesborough a year later, a club which he joined for free after his contract with Lazio ended.

So with Lazio paying Valencia a fee in the region of

€48 million

and the fact that he did not at all perform as expected at Lazio added by the fact that Lazio didn’t even get a quarter of what they paid to by him and he left the club on a free transfer, makes Gaizka Mendieta’s transfer to Lazio, which is one of Serie A most expensive signings ever, one of the most obvious transfer flops on our list. But his career will certainly be remembered by his great years playing for

Barcelona

, rather than his short-lived move to Italy.

8. Gianluigi Buffon

Gigi Buffon

needs no introduction, as he is one of the best goalkeepers in the history of football and the most decorated Serie A player of all time. Buffon’s transfer from Parma to

Juventus

has been great for all the parties involved, as Parma received a hefty fee that made Buffon’s transfer one of the most expensive signings in Serie A history and subsequently Juventus got themselves a great goalkeeper who would go on to be a legend at the club and win 10 Serie A titles with them.

In fact, until most recently the fee of nearly

€53 million

which Juventus paid Parma in 2001 was the record transfer fee for a goalkeeper until 2017. Meaning that for most of Buffon’s career he was the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, and he very well performed up to that standard, winning 10 Serie A titles, 4 Coppa Italias, 3 Champions League final appearances and a World Cup in his time at Juventus.

Gianluigi Buffon, still at age 42, finds the motivation to keep playing and is currently back with Juventus after a one-season stint with PSG back in 2018-19. Although he does not play regularly anymore, whenever he does, he shows why he was

Serie A most expensive signings ever

and frankly one of the best goalkeepers ever.

7. Hernan Crespo

A product of River Plate, Hernan Crespo came to the Serie A back in 1996, as he joined

AS Parma

. The Argentine soon found his place at Parma and began producing goals for them straight away, helping them win a couple of important trophies in one of Parma’s best periods in history. He particularly upped his game in his last two seasons which earned him a move to then Serie A champions Lazio, in what was the most expensive transfer of all time in the year 2000, which makes its appearance in the

most expensive Serie A signings ever

list a no surprise.

Despite Crespo starting his career at Lazio with a Supercoppa Italiana, the Argentine failed to win any more trophies in his 2 year stay at Lazio but one thing he didn’t fail at was goal scoring. In his first season at Lazio, he very well proved his price tag by scoring 26 goals in 32 Serie A matches and winning the top goal scorer award and although his second season was not at impressive, he ended up scoring 48 goals in 73 matches in all competitions for Lazio which is a great return.

Crespo’s

€56.8 million

transfer from As Parma to SS Lazio in 2000 made a new precedent and record in transfers, especially in Italy, and his record transfer fee was not broken as it had remained

Serie A highest transfer fee paid ever

until 2016. Besides his great performances for Lazio, they ended up selling him to Inter in a transfer amounting to

€40 million a couple of years later, which was definitely a good return for Le Aquile.

6. Victor Osimhen

So Victor

Osimhen

’s transfer from Lille to Napoli, which makes him one of the

most expensive signings in Serie A history

, is the kind of transfer that is being seen more and more these days. The kind that involves a talented young player who has had one or two great seasons and show a great potential. And so the club that wants to sell the player usually asks for outrageous amount of money and most of the time gets it because one club or another will pay that sum.

Nonetheless, Osimhen’s performances in both the Belgian side Charleroi and Lille, has shown what a capable player he is. The Nigerian forward has also featured in 10 games for his home country and has scored 5 goals. now all he has to do is replicate those performances in

Napoli

colors too, although so far he has only scored 2 goals this season.

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Lille has recently done really smart transfers, Including the transfer of Pepe and Gabriel to Arsenal, and the club seems like a genuine talent factory which seems to give young players like Osimhen chance to develop. Which in turn has resulted in them getting

€70 million

from Napoli for the player, a fee that makes him one of Serie A most expensive signings ever. In addition to that, Victor Osimhen is the most expensive African player of all time too, which will no doubt put extra pressure on him, but we’ll have to see if he can cope with that pressure or not.

5. Arthur Melo

Arthur Melo’s transfer from Barcelona to Juventus may be one of the strangest transfers on this list of most expensive Serie A transfers of all time since the player seemed completely happy at Barcelona and had a great future ahead of him and there was no reason for him to leave Barcelona. But the Catalan club decided to include him in a strange swap deal involving Miralem Pjanic. Both clubs got paid the full amount for their players but the transfers happened simultaneously.

Arthur Melo

made a name for himself in his home country Brazil, playing for

Gremio

, who are known for their ability to discover and grow talent, and after a few years, numerous European teams were after his signature, so who better to sign for than Barcelona. The Brazilian midfielder showed great potential straightaway, adapting to life in Europe and finding a regular place in Barca’s starting eleven. But his second, and last season, was plagued by the rumors of him leaving the club, even though the fans were happy with his performances

So Bartomeu, Barcelona’s previous chairman, in on of his signature moves sold a player that Barcelona actually needed and could count on in the future, since Arthur is only 24, seeing how the club has a aging squad. The transfer cost Juventus

€72 million

but they also received €60 million for selling the 30 year-old Pjanic, all in all it was good business on Juventus’ part, even though it ended up being one of Serie A most expensive signings ever. Now they only have to hope that Arthur Melo delivers at Juve.

4. Romelu Lukaku

Possibly because of

Romelu Lukaku

’s style of playing, which is similar to center forwards of the 90s and early 2000s, he gets undermined a lot, especially in the Premier League. But since his transfer last year, which was one of most expensive signings in Serie A history, that brought the player to Inter Milan from

Manchester United

, who were never a good fit for him, Lukaku has been in the best form of his career and seems like the main man in Inter Milan’s attack.

After being unappreciated by

Chelsea

, where they sent him on numerous loan spells, Lukaku established himself as one of the best center forwards in Premier League by scoring regularly for West Brom and Everton which eventually earned him a €84.7 million to Manchester United. Despite scoring 27 goals in all competition for United in his first season, his goals dropped significantly in the following season and the new manager did not really believe in him, so he ended up leaving United last summer.

In a move that cost

€74 million

and made Lukaku one of

Serie A most expensive signings ever

, Romelu Lukaku joined Inter Milan at the beginning of the 2019-20 season and he took to goal scoring straight away, banging in 34 goals in 51 appearances in his first season but despite reaching the Europa League final he did not manage to win anything in his first season. His second season seems to be just as good as his first one seeing that he has scored 12 in 13 matches so far. Lukaku has definitely justified his price tag by his performances and all he has to do now is add silverware to those performances.

3. Matthijs de Ligt

Another one of 5 Juventus players to appear on our list of

Serie A all-time most expensive signings

, and this one is the Dutch wonderkid,

Matthijs de Ligt

, who joined Juventus from Ajax back in 2019, after a bidding war for the youngster was won by the Turin side. The 21 year-old de Ligt was brought in to rejuvenate Juve’s aging backline, but as of now he hasn’t yet reached the levels that he showed at

Ajax

, particularly in the 2018-19 season.

Matthijs de Ligt has every attribute for being a top level center back, he is good in the air and with his feet and also he has a tactical and intelligent way of defending that seems rare nowadays. But above all he is a natural leader that led Ajax to the semi-finals of the Champions League when he was only 20 years old. Which makes Juve’s fans really helpful as they seem to have a real gem on their hands with de Ligt.

De Ligt’s particular transfer to Juventus which puts him high among Serie A most expensive transfers ever cost the Italian club a staggering amount of

€85.5 million

. The fee may be that high because of the bidding war that ensued de Ligt’s departure from Ajax, but as was the case with Buffon, Juventus will be hoping to get their money’s worth in de Ligt’s performances over the years, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

2. Gonzalo Higuain

When

Gonzalo Higuain

left Real Madrid in 2013 to join Napoli, everyone thought that the Argentine striker was all but finished at the highest level of European football, but Higuain proved all his doubters wrong with the kind of world-class performances he produced season after season at Napoli, which subsequently earned him a move to Juventus that was

Serie A highest transfer fee paid ever

.

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Throughout his career at Real Madrid, Higuain never failed to score goals, as he usually managed to score more than 20 goals a season. But after he transferred to Napoli, he seemed to have gotten even better at goal scoring which culminated in him scoring a record 36 goals in 35 Serie A matches during the 2015-16 season, a record which is not yet broken.

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So naturally Juventus wanted to bring Higuain to their side and hit two birds with one stone, first stripping their rivals Napoli of their best player and then getting a world-class finisher to help them going forward. so it was to be expected that Napoli would demand a very high fee for Higuain’s transfer, which they got as Juve paid them €90 million to make it Serie A most expensive signings ever.

For the most part Higuain has justified that price tag as he scored 32 goals in his first season at the club, but as was expected his goals dwindled and he even was loaned out to Chelsea and Milan in the 2018-19 season, but eventually he spent his last year of contract at Juventus and ended up leaving the club on a free transfer, after scoring 66 goals in 149 matches for Juventus, this past summer. 3 Serie A titles, 2 Coppa Italias and a UCL final appearance will be the legacy that Higuain leaves at Juventus.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

We arrive at the most expensive Serie A signing ever and he is none other than

Cristiano Ronaldo

. The Portuguese megastar shook the world in the summer of 2018 when he announced to the world that he would be leaving Real Madrid, the club he had won 4 Champions League titles with, to switch over to play for Juventus. The news which brough heartbreak and despair to Real Madrid fans, also brought hope to Juve and Serie A fans in general as it meant that Ronaldo’s transfer would help Serie A reemerge to compete for being the best league in Europe.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who became Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer with 450 goals in 438 matches, and won multiple trophies with them joined Juventus to help them take the next step, as the club is pursuing Champions League glory aggressively, and who better to bring in but the expert who has won it 5 times. They haven’t been successful since but if Ronaldo is known for one thing, it would his persistence in pursuing glory, particularly Champions League glory, and he usually gets what he wants!

Cristiano Ronaldo has performed as expected in the time he’s been at Juventus, scoring 77 goals in 99 matches. he has helped Juventus win 2 Serie A title, and now in his 3rd season he has scored 12 goals in 10 games and is on his way to even more glory. His performances, coupled with the recognition he brings to even a club as big as Juventus, makes

€117 million

Juventus paid for him almost trivial, as they have no doubt profited a lot more from this transfer. As it stands though, it’s doubtful that anyone would unseat Ronaldo from being Serie A highest transfer fee paid ever anytime soon.

 

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