Being one of the most lucrative sporting activities worldwide, it only makes sense that anything involving football is costly. Whether it is merchandise, ticket fees, advertisements, sponsorships, transfers etc., you can expect much money to be involved. Especially for the latter, attracting and retaining top footballing talent has been a costly endeavour right from the beginning.
The first recorded record transfer occurred in 1893, of Willie Groves from West Bromwich Albion to Aston Villa for one hundred pounds (equivalent to twelve thousand pounds come 2021). At the time, this may have sounded extortionate, yet it would soon be blown out of the water compared to what modern-day football clubs pay to acquire the services of the best players.
More recently, clubs have sold their players for jaw-dropping fees. One of the most notable was in June 2022, when Liverpool announced the acquisition of the former SL Benfica Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez
for a price that can increase to €100 million, solidifying him as Liverpool's most expensive transfer to date.
By now, every Liverpool fan is aware of this potentially record-breaking transfer, yet Liverpool's other acquisitions are lesser known. So, this begs the question: who are the costliest transfers in Liverpool FC history? Below we break down a list of some of the most expensive transfers in no order:
Although we touched upon Darwin Nunez in the introduction, we feel this potentially record-breaking transfer in Liverpool FC history deserves a paragraph of its own. The acquisition of the former SL Benfica player began when Jurgen Klopp searched for an attacker to replace the departing Sadio Mane.
Due to Nunez's impressive stats in the 2021-2022 seasons, having scored thirty-four goals in forty-one games, he became a desirable player for Liverpool FC, with fans and management hoping that he'll demonstrate as much potential as Uruguayan player Luis Suarez. At the start of the acquisition, Liverpool agreed to pay an initial £64.2 million sterling, with the expectation that the price could also reach the add-ons outlined in the deal.
With the addition of the £21.4 million add-ons written in the deal, the total transfer cost of Darwin Nunez reached £85.6 million, with expectations that it could increase to as high as £100 million. As a result of this astronomical transfer fee, it's understandable that many fans have high expectations for the formidable goal-scoring Uruguayan striker and whether we will imitate his former success at Anfield in the upcoming seasons.
However, it's not just the eyes of Liverpool fans that Nunez has captured; it is also the eyes of football betting sites and online gambling sites. With some of the most well-known placing 16/1 odds on Liverpool FC's fresh meat repeating Mohamed Salah's triumph of winning the top scorer prize.
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Virgil Van Dijk
Often dubbed as the most crucial signing in Liverpool FC history, the acquisition of the Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton was another costly endeavour on behalf of the Reds. It's not often that paying £75 million for a player is worthwhile, but Virgil Van Dijk's performance has proved otherwise.
After he arrived from Southampton in 2018, he helped guide the Reds to the Champion's League final within his first six months of representing them. He followed this triumph by assisting them in winning the competition the following year. Not only has he shown notable performance in the Champions League, but he has also demonstrated his skill in the Premier League, FA Cup, and many more appearances, which fans are sure he will continue in the upcoming seasons under the watchful eye of Klopp.
As a result of his talents, Virgil Van Dijk has been named the best centre-back worldwide
and was a runner-up in the 2019 Ballon d'Or falling short to Lionel Messi. Fortunately for the Reds, exchanging St Mary's for Anfield has been worth the hefty sum that Liverpool forked out for the defender, and fans are sure that he will continue to demonstrate this.
Signed alongside Keita, the Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker eventually ended the Red's goalkeeping woes after struggling to settle on a consistent goalkeeper for some time. Liverpool set another world record with Becker when the Brazilian signed £67 million from the Italian AS Roma. Like the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk, Becker's presence in the Red team has been transformative for Liverpool and has helped them lift the Champions League trophy.
With Becker's excellent understanding of positioning and the back-four, he has since secured two Premier League golden gloves and, more recently, scored a last-minute header against West Bromwich Albion, which helped the Reds secure the Champions League.
Despite being signed in the same summer as Alisson Becker, many fans agree that Keita is yet to demonstrate his worth since he has been unable to show consistent performance despite being in and out of the starting line-up. Liverpool FC ended up splashing out a whopping £54 million on the Guinea international from RB Leipzig, although they had their eye on the midfielder a year before he joined the Reds. Yet, despite a decent run while representing his previous team, he is yet to demonstrate the same for the Reds.
Luck hasn't been on Keita's side, having sustained a series of injuries that have caused him to miss out on several games since his move to England. As a result, Keita has failed to make over twenty-five starts in a single campaign with Liverpool FC and only played just over nine hours on the field during the Premier League. With just a year remaining in his current deal, Keita certainly has the time to try and turn things around but will need to show significant improvement if he wishes to stay at Anfield.
Written by Alan Spencer