Which teams have had the best transfer windows in history? Which players were acquired during these periods and how much money was spent on these signings? Follow us below as we get started on ranking the 5 greatest transfer windows in football history.
The 2021-22 season surprised us all with its pretty historic summer transfer window, but failed to live up to the rising expectations in winter. The quite crazy summer that many teams had later in the previous year made us think, which teams have had the
best transfer windows in history
? How did these clubs acquire the players they needed and how much money did they get to splash in the process?
There are at least several top clubs in Europe alone, each of which deserve their own place on such a unique list. But only a handful of clubs have had the pleasure of enjoying the best transfer windows ever. Surely you too are eager to see which of the numerous incredible transfer windows we have listed here. So read on as we provide detailed information about these clubs’ historic signings from back in the day.
From Real Madrid, who are literally known as the Galacticos for their prestigious and quite historic transfers, to their archrivals Barcelona and newcomers Paris Saint-Germain, there are a couple of phenomenal teams on the list of best transfer windows ever all because they have had the pleasure of signing several world-class footballers all at once. So without further ado, here is everything you need to know about these arrivals and their respective careers.
Transfer sum: €247M
Chelsea’s transfer window in the summer of 2020 was absolutely wild as we got to see the blues go on yet another historic spending spree using Abramovich’s plentiful resources. WithChelsea
having signed a contract with Frank Lampard to take the helm at the club, everyone believed the London-based club were going to succeed with all the new arrivals. In one of the
best transfer windows ever
, the Premier League side went on to sign several world-class talents including Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwelll, Timo Werner and the cherry on top, Kai Havertz.
They also acquired Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva on free transfer deals to complete their phenomenal summer. Chelsea were favorites to challenge for the league title itself alongsideManchester City
thanks to all the money they had spent. Havertz arrived at Stamford Bridge for a massive fee of €80 million, while Werner and Chilwell each cost around €50 million. The Blues paid €40 million for Hakim Ziyech and brought in the incredible Edouard Mendy for €24 million.
Their total expenditures mounted to a massive fee of €247 million and the world was eager to find out how all of these arrivals were going to be implemented into the club’s squad. Having had one of the best transfer windows ever, Chelsea had a strong start to the league in the beginning, but fell short in mid-season and the players failed to live up to the billing under Frank Lampard’s management. That is why Chelsea sacked their legend to replace him with Thomas Tuchel.
With Tuchel’s arrival, everyone got to see how great the new arrivals were as everything changed for the English club overnight. While the league title was obviously going to Pep Guardiola’s fantastic Manchester City, Chelsea focused their attention on improving their game on European nights. They somehow reached the Champions League final to lock horns with Manchester City in an all-English showdown. That is when their star signing Kai Havertz showed his class by scoring the only goal of the game to earn his side a victory in the final of the UCL.
Havertz’s contribution gave helped Chelsea become the Champions League winners of the 2020-21 season and proved why they had one of the best transfer windows in history in the summer of the same campaign. Even though they have struggled to catch up with City in the 2021-22 season, they are still a formidable side both in the English top-flight and in Europe. We will have to wait and see if they can once again prove their worth by winning another major trophy for their club.
Transfer sum: €78.5M
might be struggling to find their best form right now and might be in deep trouble after failing to qualify for the Champions League Round of 16, but their history has shown time and time again that only a couple of good signings can turn things around for the Blaugrana. Barcelona are usually active in the summer transfer windows and have mostly managed to bring in outstanding talents every season.
The Spanish giants brought in Neymar in 2013 and signed Luis Suarez the year after to give way to the era of MSN trio, which went on to score massive numbers of goals throughout the years. However, those signings did not arrive in the same season, which is why those years are not listed amongst the
best transfer windows ever
. Perhaps the most historic transfer windows of them all for the Catalan side dates back to the 2004-05 season, during which Barcelona signed several world-class players to add to their already star-studded squad. The arrivals department consisted of Henrik Larsson, Sylvinho, Juliano Belletti, Maxi Lopez, Edmilson, Ludovic Giuly, Deco and Samuel Eto’o, who cost the La Liga side a total of €78 million.
While the total transfer fee of these players does not even come close to amounts clubs spend every year nowadays, Barcelona actually went on to make good use of their signings. The Spaniards had already signed the magical Ronaldinho in the 2003-04 season and got to build themselves quite a phenomenal squad in the season after. Barca paid only €27 million for Samuel Eto’o and went on to sign Deco from FC Porto for €21 million.
As Henrik Larsson arrived at Camp Nou fromCeltic
on a free transfer deal, the Catalan giants went on to become the ever dominant force in La Liga. Even though they failed to make an impact in the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League as they failed to go past the Round of 64 and the Round of 16 respectively, Barcelona’s league campaign was a phenomenal one. Their star signing Samuel Eto’o managed to score a total of 25 league goals as Frank Rijkaard and his men managed to win the league title while being four points above Real Madrid.
The same squad also went on to help Barca win their first Champions League title in the 2005-06 season. Even though they have not had one of the best transfer windows ever in recent years, Barcelona can still surprise us with their actions if they keep signing more and more players. They have already paid a whopping fee of €55 million to sign Ferran Torres, while also bringing in the likes of Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
They have also signed Adama Traore and Luuk de Jong on loan for the rest of the 2021-22 season. Of course this season has not allowed the Spanish side to enjoy their arrivals’ full potential. It is up to debate whether Xavi and his men can turn the tides in their favor or not in the coming months.
Transfer sum: €97M
It might be quite odd for some to see that Samuel Eto’o is somehow a part of two distinct best transfer windows ever. But this fact goes to show how legendary of a player Eto’o was back in the day. Aside from being a part of Barcelona’s 2004-05 summer transfers, Eto’o was also a part of Inter Milan’s arrivals in the 2009-10 season, which paved the way to cement their transfer window amongst the best transfer windows ever. They say that money can’t buy happiness, but they could not be any more wrong.
sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Barcelona for a staggering fee of €69.5 million, which earned the Italian side the much-needed resources to push for signing several world-class footballers in the same season. Inter spent a total of €97 million in the 2009-10 campaign and managed to sign Diego Milito, Samuel Eto’o, Wesley Sneijder, Thiago Motta, McDonald Mariga, Emiliano Viviano, Lucio, Goran Pandev, Marko Arnautovic and Lucio.
Jose Mourinho’s historic season at the Serie A side was a true wonder of the world as we got to see the Portuguese manager win almost everything there was to win with these arrivals. Diego Milito was by far their most effective signing as he scored 30 goals across all competitions and helped Inter win the league title, while also lifting the Champions League title.
Ranking the 5 greatest transfer windows in football history
, Inter’s 2009-10 season’s arrivals yielded perhaps the best results in the end as the Italian side swooped up most of the major trophies in both Italy and Europe. Aside from Diego Milito’s outstanding performance in his first season at Inter, Samuel Eto’o also managed to earn himself quite a following as one of the most iconic players in Inter’s history. The former Cameroon international went on to spend three seasons at Inter and managed to score 53 goals while providing 32 assists in a total of 102 appearances across all competitions.
Transfer sum: €253M
Can you imagine how big a club’s signings should be to earn them the status of the “Galacticos”? Well,Real Madrid
are by far one of the most decorated football clubs in the world and are record-winners of the UEFA Champions League with an unbelievable number of thirteen UCL titles. Florentino Perez is the true creator of what came to be known as the first and second Galacticos eras. The first era came when the Spanish giants acquired the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos and many more world-class legends in a matter of years.
The second era, however, was kick-started in a single season as Real Madrid went on a historic shopping spree, splashing millions to sign numerous iconic footballers from the best clubs in the world. In what was one of the
best transfer windows ever
, Los Merengues signed Alvaro Arbeloa, Esteban Granero, Alvaro Negredo, Raul Albiol, Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo. Most of the new arrivals in the 2009-10 season went on to become club legends at Real Madrid, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema leading the flock.
Ronaldo won four of his five Ballons d’Or during his years at Real Madrid and became their top goal scorer after spending nine years at the Spanish capital. We are still enjoying Karim Benzema gracing the pitch with his masterful touches and laser-guided shots. Perez paid a then world-record fee of €94 million to sign Ronaldo from Manchester United, while paying €67 million to acquire Kaka from AC Milan. The Spaniards also had to splash €35 million for each of Benzema and Xabi Alonso’s transfers.
While it was Jose Mourinho and his men’s golden age at Inter, Real Madrid failed to win the Champions League that season, the second Galacticos era paved the way for what came to be one of the club’s most successful periods. With a total transfer sum of €285 million, it was a surprise to see Los Blancos fail to win any of the major trophies that season.
Their failure to work as a unified team led to Real Madrid hiring Jose Mourinho to take charge of the squad from 2010 to 2013, which sparked a beautiful, dramatic and thrilling competition between the Portuguese manager and his archrival Pep Guardiola, who was Barcelona’s manager back in the day.
Transfer sum: €89.5M
It might be a bold claim, but surely you too would agree that no transfer window in history has ever come close toParis Saint-Germain
’s summer transfer window in the summer of 2021. The Parisians have turned into a global power in football since being acquired by their rich benefactors in the early 2010s. PSG paid an unbelievable and eye-watering fee of €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017 and later paid more than €160 million to acquire Kylian Mbappe’s services fromMonaco
These signings gave the French club the “big club” status that they were after. That is why paved the way for PSG’s incredible transfer window in the summer that passed. Who would have thought that we would one day get to see Lionel Messi play for a club other than Barcelona? Who would have thought that we would one day see Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi play for the same team instead of breaking each other’s bones in El Clasico?
Well, that is exactly what Paris Saint-Germain pulled off in the summer as they signed both the Argentine and the Spaniard for an unbelievably low price of zero Euros. They actually managed to acquire the two iconic superstars on free transfer deals as their former clubs let go of them in the year that passed.
Of course while signing Messi and Ramos alone would be legendary all on its own, PSG did not stop there as they went on to sign Gini Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donnarumma on free transfer deals as well, while also paying €60 million to acquire Achraf Hakimi’s services from Inter.
Even Hakimi’s arrival did not suffice for the Parisians as they paid €16 million to sign Danilo Pereira from FC Porto as well. It is still too soon to say that these arrivals have been integrated into PSG’s squad perfectly. But it seems that Mauricio Pochettino has not managed to make good use of his newly-boosted team so far.
Neither Messi nor Sergio Ramos have been able to make a memorable impact at PSG as they have even failed to go through to the next round of their domestic cup competition. We will have to wait and see if Paris can finally achieve their dream of winning the Champions League title, or if even Messi and Ramos can’t win the French club a European trophy.
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