5 European clubs with the most spend on transfers this century

Roman Abramovich and Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta with Champions League trophy
Roman Abramovich and Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta with Champions League trophy | Photo Credit: IMAGO

The transfer market has absolutely exploded in the recent past, with the deals of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar breaking the common norms of transfers. The amount of money a club spends on signings per season has skyrocketed during this period, with €100 million being a common budget for decent level teams. While some clubs have had a knack for buying the hottest talent in the market for a long while, few teams have recently entered this race of exorbitant expenditure. On that note, let’s take a look at 5 clubs with the most spend on transfers this century.

5. Juventus – €2,079 million

Italian giants Juventus get us started on fifth place, having spent just over €2 billion in transfer fees this century. The Bianconeri have experienced unparalleled success on the domestic level in the past decade, securing the Serie A title in nine consecutive seasons between 2011 to 2020. While prominent signings like Paulo Dybala and Matthijs de Ligt have fared relatively well, most of their expensive signings have underwhelmed, to say the least. Barring Pavel Nedved and Gianluigi Buffon, who were absolute beasts during their time in Turin, big transfers like those of Arthur, Gonzalo Higuain and especially Cristiano Ronaldo have reaped minimal results.


4. Barcelona – €2,181 million

Having established a legacy of creating world-class stars out of homegrown talents, Barcelona have successfully tarnished that reputation in recent years. The Blaugrana have conducted some of the most nonsensical transfers of all time in the past five years, shelling out hundreds of millions on players, without having a concrete idea of how to incorporate them in the first team. Barcelona paid a combined total of €390 million for the trio of Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, all of whom are not even starters in the squad now, with Griezmann securing a move back to Atletico recently. Their financial recklessness has caused the downfall of one of the most celebrated clubs in all of history. 

3. Real Madrid – €2,186 million

Compared to their Spanish rivals, Real Madrid have mindfully mended their ways of spending exorbitant amounts of cash on certain superstars. Nevertheless, their habit of going on an extravagant spending spree from time to time fully justifies their place on this list. Los Blancos’ policy of only recruiting ‘Galacticos’ in the early 2000s has taken a backseat in this pandemic-riddled world. While their summer spending of 2009 did bring in stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, the same cannot be said of the 2019 edition which saw Madrid recruit Eden Hazard for €115 million. A mixture of good and bad signings have resulted in Madrid spending over €2.1 billion this century.

2. Manchester City – €2,332 million

Despite having a very modest start to the 21st century, Manchester City have climbed their way up to the top following their big-money takeover by Emirati billionaire Sheikh Mansour in 2008. The Sky Blues have since forked out astronomical fees on multiple signings, bringing in the likes of Jack Grealish, Kevin de Bruyne, Ruben Dias and more. In total, City have spent over €50 million on a single player, 13 times since 2015, shattering several transfer records along the way. However, the Cityzens have the success to account for their investment, with Pep Guardiola transforming them into one of the most consistent sides in Europe.

1. Chelsea – €2,445 million

Pipping fellow English giants Manchester City to first place, Chelsea are officially the largest spenders of this century. Similar to City, Chelsea witnessed a great upturn in their fortunes, following the bought-out initiated by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich in 2003. Since then, the Blues have consistently dominated the transfer market, spending big bucks every season to replenish their squad. To put things into perspective, the five most expensive signings in their history were conducted in the last four years, with Romelu Lukaku’s €115 million recent homecoming overshadowing Kai Havertz’s €80 million acquisition last season. With a total spend of €2,445 million, Chelsea have splashed the most cash in the last 21 years.