The transfer market shut close in January this past year, and we are now almost towards the end of the season. The UEFA Champions League and the rest of the European leagues will soon begin wrapping up their remaining fixtures. The inflated nature of the transfer market in football has given rise to some absurdly high valuations of squads. Over the years, football’s popularity has grown exponentially. Along with that popularity came the demand for superstar players and lucrative merchandising opportunities. These factors gave rise to some of the most expensive lineups assembled. Let us take a better look at the top 10 most expensive lineups in football history.
The secret to a successful team in football is the quality of the players. A team of brilliant and compatible players can raise a team’s worth from ashes to superstardom. However, with great quality comes a hefty price tag for the player. Footballing prodigies nowadays come with astronomical fees in tow. After all, these are the players who help the team gain that prestige and, in turn, championships.
10. Tottenham Hotspur:
Squad Size: 22 Squad Value: £522.23m League: Premier League
This season, with the transfers of Emerson Royal at the right back to replace the outgoing Serge Aurier, Rodrigo Bentancur at the middle of the park, and Dejan Kulusevski on loan from Juventus, certainly bolstered the Tottenham squad. The departure of club mainstay Dele Alli proved to be an integral turning point for the club. Many fans and pundits alike believed he was not performing at the level desired at the club. The arrival of new sporting director Fabio Paratici last year, together with the new acquisition of manager Antonio Conte, further allowed world-class players to join the likes of Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, and Lucas Moura. The Kane-Son partnership has proven lethal this season. The duo broke the all-time record of goal combinations previously held by Chelsea legends Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard. Furthermore, Harry Kane, along with Heung-Min Son, are also two of the most expensive players in their respective positions. As a pure striker Harry Kane is the most valuable player in that role based on national duties.
A series of new signings, together with the presence of players like Kane and Son, place Tottenham Hotspurs in the 10th position in our list of the top 10 most expensive lineups in football history.
9. Atlético de Madrid:
Squad Size: 22 Squad Value: £581.85mLeague: La Liga
With the methodical victory over Manchester United this past week at the grandest stage of club football, the UEFA Champions League, Diego Simione and co. proved their worth once again when it mattered the most. Along with it, they certainly justified the money that they had splashed. The signing of Portuguese sensation Joao Felix for a record £ 112.9m from Benfica is an example.
Further, they went on to add the likes of Luis Suarez from Barcelona on a free transfer. More recently, the additions of Rodrigo De Paul for a sum of £31.50m from Udinese Calcio of Serie A and Antoine Griezmann on a loan transfer from Barcelona bolstered their squad for the season. These expensive signings have certainly paid off since they won the La Liga last year, competing against the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Moreover, this year they have managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Furthermore, they are looking to pull off an upset win against one of the giants of the Premier League: Manchester City.
With a record-breaking signing of 2019 in a bid to secure the future, and the acquisition of star players throughout, Diego Simione has gathered a lineup that can topple any giants. Atlético de Madrid is 9th on our list.
8. FC Barcelona:
Squad Size: 30 Squad Value: £585.90m League: La Liga
With the shocking departure of the club and footballing legend Lionel Messi, the squad of Barcelona took a massive hit both in the form of morale and performance. Without Messi at the helm and heart of the squad, FC Barcelona seemed in shambles. However, things have taken a turn for the better with the arrival of another, Xavi as the team’s new manager. Xavi being a bonafide Barcelona FC legend, has seemingly taken control of the nervy locker room.
Recently the team is on an 11-game unbeaten streak in La Liga. Additionally, their recent form in Europa League is certainly proving the squad value of Barcelona FC as one of the top 10 most expensive lineups. The return of Ousmane Dembele and the new signings of Ferran Torres for a sum of £49.50m from Manchester City, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal, and Adama Traore from Wolverhampton Wanderers, boosted the squad value exponentially. Adding to the list is the Golden Boy winner, Pedri, Frenkie De Jong, and Ansu Fati all contribute to a high valuation of the squad.
An impressive form under the new manager and Barcelona legend Xavi, the squad finds themselves invigorated. The relatively young squad of FC Barcelona places 8th on our top 10 most expensive football lineup list.
7. Real Madrid:
Squad Size: 26 Squad Value: £702.00m League: La Liga
Real Madrid has always boasted a superstar lineup worthy of being amongst the top 10 most expensive lineups. There was a time when the Galacticos consisted of Ronaldo Nazario, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Raul, Iker Cassilas, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos. A dream team, to say the least, and it has since maintained the legendary status of the squad. With the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, the squad took a massive hit. However, they quickly responded with the signing of Eden Hazard from Chelsea. Unfortunately, injuries plagued him, and he was not able to fully perform his Chelsea days magic. Nonetheless, the squad still consists of the likes of Luka Modric, a Balon D’Or winner, Vinicius Junior, Thibaut Courtois, Gareth Bale, and the talisman Karim Benzema.
The departures of Ronaldo in 2018 and then Sergio Ramos in 2021 left a void for leadership in the locker room. It was Karim Benzema, with his inspiring leadership and performance, who is intent on returning the European glory back to Real Madrid. Real Madrid is 7th on our list of top 10 most expensive football lineups.
6. Manchester United:
Squad Size: 26 Squad Value: £711.23m League: Premier League
Brand new signings, a new interim manager, and the return of a legend. The 2021-22 season of Manchester United had everything dreams are made of. However, things have not turned out great for the Red Devils. The firing of interim manager turned permanent manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer certainly paved the way for a much more tactical style of play under new interim manager Ralf Ragnick. However, aging players and the lack of a solid holding midfield player have impeded their success.
Also Read: Manchester United Eyes 23-Year-Old Defender
Nonetheless, the season saw some brilliant signings in the form of Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Raphael Varane. They were also able to secure the signature of Edinson Cavani, who further added his worth to the clubs’ value. Overall, Manchester United, since their glory days, boasted high-caliber players who are either homegrown in their academy or attracted by the legacy of Manchester United. The present valuation of the players places Manchester United 6th on our list.
5. Bayern Munich:
Squad Size: 26 Squad Value: £733.73m League: Bundesliga
Bayern Munich has become an unstoppable force in European competitions. They have developed an attacking style of play akin to steamrolling through opposition. Their resounding victory over RB Salzburg in the Champions League reminded us of what Bayern are capable of. In addition to their new manager Julian Nagelsmann, Bayern has increased their ranks with defender Dayot Upamecano and attacking midfielder Marcel Sabitzer.
The new signings, along with the likes of Alphonso Davies, Joshua Kimmich, and Robert Lewandowski, help boost up the squad valuation. At a whopping £733.73m squad evaluation, Bayern Munich is amongst the top 5 most expensive lineups in the world.
Squad Size: 27 Squad Value: £794.70m League: Premier League
The arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for a sum of £101.70m was one of the highlights of the 2021 transfer market. Chelsea has experienced massive success in the European competitions, winning the Champions league 2020-21. The presence of superstar players like Jorginho, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, and Eduoard Mendy certainly help stake their claim as one of the best teams in Europe. In recent events concerning the Ukraine-Russia war, according to the statement released by Chelsea FC on their official website, owner Roman Abramovich has decided to sell the club.
Nevertheless, the squad value has not taken any hit. The leadership of Thomas Tuchel as the manager also played an important factor. He is playing a crucial role in holding the team together in these uncertain times for the club. Chelsea ranks 4th amongst the top 10 most expensive lineups in history.
3. Liverpool FC:
Squad Size: 27 Squad Value: £800.10m League: Premier League
Jurgen Klopp was appointed as the man in charge for Liverpool FC in 2015. In that time, he has transformed the team into a serial winning team capable of toppling any team in the world. Over the years, Jurgen Klopp made several signings. Some of them didn’t work out as planned. However, the signing of Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, and most importantly, Virgil Van Dijk worked wonders for LFC. The solidity provided by Virgil Van Dijk at the back, coupled with the sweeper-keeping style of Alison, gave LFC much-needed stability. As often said, goals win matches, but defense wins trophies.
The current success that Liverpool FC experienced has been nothing short of remarkable. They are well worthy of carrying a tag of around £800m squad value. Liverpool FC is the 3rd most expensive squads in football history.
2. Paris Saint Germain:
Squad Size: 35 Squad Value: £818.60m League: Ligue 1
Like Thanos collecting the infinity stones, PSG set out in 2021 to collect the brightest and most expensive stones money can buy. Undoubtedly, the shocking transfer of Lionel Messi rocked the footballing world to its core. Nobody expected Barcelona FC to not be able to resign Lionel Messi after his contract expired. However, a tryst with destiny enabled the transfer of Lionel Messi to PSG, reuniting him with his friend Neymar.
Along with Messi, PSG went on to sign, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Nuno Mendes and Danillo Pereira. However, it has not been a season worth remarking for PSG. A poor second leg game in the Champions League dumped them out of the competition at the hands of Real Madrid. Moreover, their league form has also been inconsistent. With news circulating that Mauricio Pochentino might be sacked, PSG is in a dire situation. Nonetheless, their squad value remains untouched, and PSG is the second most expensive lineup in football history.
1. Manchester City:
Squad Size: 22 Squad Value: £879.57m League: Premier League
No other club comes close to the squad valuation of Manchester City. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and the recent acquisition of Jack Grealish, but the Cityzens at the top of the mountain in regards to the most expensive squad in the world. In addition to having the most expensive squad in the world, Manchester City has won their league titles 5 times. Ever since the club’s takeover by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2008, Manchester City has emerged as a major threat.
However, the only success that has eluded Manchester City is that of European glory. This season Pep Guardiola and his Cityzens will surely look forward to make it a priority.
The Manchester City squad ranks as the most expensive lineup ever assembled in football history.