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The Priciest Soccer Transfers of 2023, From Enzo to Bellingham to Kane

Led by Chelsea’s Enzo Fernández, Boardroom breaks down the most expensive transfers of the year, many of which eclipsed the nine-figure mark.

For players under contract looking to switch teams in European soccer leagues, they have to be transferred, almost always for a fee. This means teams acquiring a star player must pay those agreed-upon fees on top of the player’s contract.

In 2023, six of the 10 most expensive transfers topped $100 million, higher than eight MLB teams’ total 2023 payroll and more than the guaranteed money owed to all but 13 NFL players under contract. While nine of these transfers came during the summer transfer window of July and August, when the most expensive moves are typically made, the biggest one of 2023 came in January in a circumstance we’ve never seen before.

Let’s lay it all out.

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The 10 Most Expensive Transfers of 2023

Transfer fee data via Capology and Transfermarkt as of November 2023.

Enzo Fernández to Chelsea

From: Benfica
Price: €121 million
Date: Jan. 31
Age: 22
Position: Central Midfield
Contract: Eight years, $93.2 million

Just over six months before heading to Chelsea in the most expensive Premier League transfer ever, Fernandez was transferred from Argentine side River Plate to Benfica for just over €44 million. But nobody benefitted more from the first-ever Winter World Cup than Fernandez, who was the breakout star of the 2022 games for Argentina, earning a trip to England and a massive contract.

Declan Rice to Arsenal

From: West Ham United
Price: €116.6 million
Date: July 15
Age: 24
Position: Defensive Midfield
Contract: Five years, $77.7 million

The English national team standout and potential future captain was signed as the missing piece for an Arsenal squad that finished second last season to Manchester City in the Premier League and allowed the fewest goals in the 2023-24 Premier season.

Moisés Caicedo to Chelsea

From: Brighton & Hove Albion
Price: €116 million
Date: Aug. 14
Age: 21
Position: Defensive Midfield
Contract: Eight years, $77.7 million

After helping Brighton to its first-ever appearance in European football, Chelsea’s spending spree continued by snapping up the young Ecuadorian star.

Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid

From: Borussia Dortmund
Price: €103 million
Date: July 1
Age: 20
Position: Attacking Midfield
Contract: Six years, $136.2 million

The English superstar has arguably been the world’s best player since officially arriving at Real Madrid two days after his 20th birthday. Bellingham has 13 goals in 14 games this season across all competitions, including a second-half brace in his El Clásico debut in a 2-1 win over Barcelona.

Harry Kane to Bayern Munich

From: Tottenham
Price: €95 million
Date: Aug. 12
Age: 30
Position: Center-Forward
Contract: Four years, $109 million

The English captain is on a tear since his long-rumored move from Spurs, with 21 goals in 16 games across all competitions. That includes a hat trick in his first-ever Der Klassiker against Dortmund.

Randal Kolo Muani to Paris Saint-Germain

From: Eintracht Frankfurt
Price: €95 million
Date: Sept. 1
Age: 24
Position: Center-Forward
Contract: Five years, $69.4 million

Fourteen months after signing in Frankfurt on a free transfer from Nantes, Kolo Muani put up 23 goals and 17 assists last season to earn nine figures for his old club and a five-year contract worth nearly $70 million for himself.

Josko Gvardiol to Manchester City

From: RB Leipzig
Price: €90 million
Date: Aug. 5
Age: 21
Position: Center-Back
Contract: Five years, $64.7 million

The world’s best team got even better with this world-class Croatian defender, the most expensive defensive summer transfer by €40 million.

Francois Nel / Getty Images

Neymar to Al-Hilal

From: Paris Saint-Germain
Price: €90 million
Date: Aug. 15
Age: 31
Position: Left Wing
Contract: Two years, $218 million

The next massive move from the Saudi Pro League after Al-Nassr signed Cristiano Ronaldo was Neymar’s departure for a nine-figure salary. But the Brazilian has only played three games with his new club as he reportedly looks to make a move elsewhere when his contract expires.

Kai Havertz to Arsenal

From: Paris Saint-Germain
Price: €75 million
Date: July 1
Age: 24
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Contract: Five years, $90.6 million

After chipping in nine goals with Chelsea during their tumultuous season last year, Havertz will try to rediscover his form with their London rivals.

Rasmus Højlund to Manchester United

From: Atalanta
Price: €75 million
Date: Aug. 5
Age: 20
Position: Center-Forward
Contract: Five years, $27.5 million

After pouring in 16 goals last season as a teenager in Italy, the Danish forward has four goals in five Champions League games this season for United. He hasn’t yet, however, to score in the Premier League.

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