Back in 2002, Real Madrid signed a 25-year-old Brazilian forward by the name Ronaldo Nazario from Inter Milan for €46m. Oh, and that Brazilian had just won the Golden Boot at the FIFA World Cup which his country had won.
A decade and a half later, Real Madrid have signed another Brazilian forward, Vinicius Junior, for the exact same amount – €46m. However, this Brazilian is just 16-years-old and is yet to represent Brazil beyond the Under-17 level.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the inflated transfer market.
With the amount of money flowing into football clubs from several avenues including rich owners, the inflation in transfer values was expected but last season, one particular transfer was a game changer. The world record transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United which fetched £89m has changed the dynamics of the football transfer market.
For example, Everton signed an uncapped Jordan Pickford for £30m this summer. That’s more than the combined transfer fees of Keylor Navas, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jan Oblak – the goalkeepers of La Liga’s top three teams.
When you look at the scenario, it is fair to guess that the transfer records of yesteryear are about to be annihilated. So here are five transfer records that are likely to be broken this summer.
1 Most money spent by a team in one transfer window
This record is likely to be broken by a Premier League club unless Real Madrid do what they do best. Nevertheless, I expect the record to be broken.
If reports are anything to go by then some of the Premier League giants are expected to spend in excess of £200m this summer. The spending spree has already started with Manchester City signing Bernardo Silva & Ederson, Manchester United signing Victor Lindelof, Liverpool signing Mohamed Salah and even Everton spending just over £85m already!
Lest we forget, the transfer window officially opened only on July 1, so there’s a lot of business left to be done.
The current record for most money spent in one transfer window goes to Real Madrid who spent £195m in 2009. There were four big arrivals that summer – Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for £80, Kaka from AC Milan £56m, Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyon for £30m and Xabi Alonso from Liverpool for £30m.
This summer, I expect at least one of Chelsea, Liverpool or the Manchester clubs to break the record.
2 Most expensive defender
There are several candidates to break this record but before we get to that, let’s talk about the man who holds the record – David Luiz. The Chelsea man became the most expensive defender ever when he completed a switch to PSG back in 2014 for £50m.
Last summer, Manchester City came very close to breaking the record when they shelled out £47.5m for John Stones.
This summer, the record could be broken if Leonardo Bonucci opts to move from Juventus and there will be no shortage of suitors for him or if for some reason, which is beyond me, Jerome Boateng decides to leave Bayern Munich as often speculated.
However, the player that’s likely to break the record is Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman was all over the news a few weeks ago when Liverpool officially issued a statement apologising and ending interest in the player for pursuing him publically much to the annoyment of Southampton.
However, as things stand, Van Dijk could still leave Southampton for Liverpool and if it does happen, which I think it will, then it’s going to cost Liverpool around £70m!
Back in 2012, PSG issued an official apology over the pursuit of Thiago Silva just like Liverpool did in their pursuit of Van Dijk and yet, the French club ended up signing the defender in the same transfer window. Let’s see if history repeats itself with Van Dijk.
3 Most expensive teenager & player
No prizes for guessing who is going to break this transfer record.
Kylian Mbappe is the subject of interest from several top European clubs with Real Madrid, Arsenal & Liverpool being linked heavily this summer. It remains to be seen if the youngster will choose to remain at Monaco with the World Cup coming up next year but anything can happen.
The Frenchman who scored 26 goals and provided 14 assists last season is possibly going to break not just the record for the most expensive teenager but also for the most expensive player. Interestingly, both records are currently held by compatriots of his who play for Manchester United.
Anthony Martial is currently the most expensive teenager after his move from Monaco back in 2015 for £36m which could rise up to £57.6m if the performance-based clauses in his contract are met and some of them have already been met.
If Mbappe does move this summer, it’s going to cost any club well in excess of £100m and that’s finally going to make Paul Pogba’s £89m transfer fee look sane.
4 Most expensive goalkeeper
This record hasn’t been breached in 16 years and in the football transfer market that’s a long time! The record is held by none other than arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time – Gianluigi Buffon.
Buffon cost Juventus a massive €52m in 2001 when he moved from Parma. The second most expensive goalkeeping signing ever happened in this transfer window when Manchester City signed Ederson for €40m from Benfica. This just makes Bayern’s deal for Manuel Neuer in 2011 look like daylight robbery.
I believe that there is only one goalkeeper on this planet who could make a move this summer while breaking Buffon’s record in the process and that’s David de Gea. There is also just one club capable of completing a coup for Manchester United’s prized possession and that’s Real Madrid.
This battle for De Gea has been going on since 2015 and it will be interesting to see if the final act happens this summer.
5 Most expensive African player
Liverpool have broken this transfer record twice in as many seasons. First when they signed Sadio Mane last summer from Southampton for £34m and then again in this summer, when they signed Mohamed Salah from Roma for £36.9m. And yet, the probability of Salah’s record getting broken more than once in the same transfer window is very high.
One of the players who could break the record is 22-year-old Guinean International, Naby Keita. The midfielder who plies his trade for RB Leipzig is a wanted man and by none other than Liverpool!
Liverpool’s interest in Keita is well documented and because of Leipzig’s reluctance to sell their star player, the Reds will have to break their own and the record for an African player for the second time this summer as Keita is expected to cost Liverpool around £70m!
The other player who could break this transfer record is also from the Bundesliga.
Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been trying to engineer a move elsewhere for a while now but no move has materialised yet. Chances are that Dortmund will sell the Gabonese man if the right offer comes in and that offer could be over the £80m mark!
In Aubameyang’s case, there are no solid rumours about his future but the transfer window is still young and we can never foresee the madness it brings as it grows old.