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Big spenders

Barcelona most expensive signings - How Catalans splashed over €2 billion on incoming transfers

13:00 BST 12/09/2022
Big spenders Barcelona Coutinho Griezmann
Barcelona have made transfers worth over €2 billion and it's fair to say things didn't always go according to plan!

It's probably fair to say Barcelona's behaviour in the transfer market has led to some frowned eyebrows across the world.

Financial problems made it hard for the Catalans to register new players recently, yet at the same time they were spending large amounts on new, high-profile players.

Just in the summer of 2022 alone they brought in the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha for significant sums.

Their willingness to spend big is not necessarily new, though, even if it's not always been the most successful approach.

Just think Philippe Coutinho. Expensive star signing not too long ago, Aston Villa player now. Or Antoine Griezmann. Another expensive star signings. Another player now plying his trade elsewhere again.

In short, Barcelona's transfer activity has been hit and miss.

Barcelona most expensive transfers by season

Season

Most expensive signing

Fee

Total spending

2022/23

Raphinha

€58M/£52.20M

€153M/£137.70M

2021/22

Ferran Torres

€55M/£49.50M

€69.50M/£62.55M

2020/21

Miralem Pjanic

€60M/£54M

€112M/£100.80M

2019/20

Antoine Griezmann

€120M/£108M

€298.50M/£268.65M

2018/19

Malcom

€41M/£36.90M

€141.10M/£126.99M

2017/18

Philippe Coutinho

€135M/£121.50M

€365.10M/£328.59M

2016/17

Andre Gomes

€37M/£33.30M

€124.75M/£112.28M

2015/16

Arda Turan

€34M/£30.60M

€51M/£45.90M

2014/15

Luis Suarez

€81.72M/£73.55M

€166.72M/£150.05M

2013/14

Neymar

€88M/£79.20M

€101M/£90.90M

2012/13

Alex Song

€19M/£17.10M

€33M/£29.70M

2011/12

Cesc Fabregas

€34M/£30.60M

€60M/£54M

2010/11

David Villa

€40M/£36M

€72.50M/£65.25M

2009/10

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

€69.50M/£62.55M

€113.50M/£102.15M

2008/09

Dani Alves

€35.50M/£31.95M

€96M/£86.40M

2007/08

Thierry Henry

€24M/£21.60M

€68.50M/£61.65M

2006/07

Gianluca Zambrotta

€14M/£12.60M

€31M/£27.90M

2005/06

None

Nil

Nil

2004/05

Samuel Eto'o

€27M/£24.30M

€78.50M/£70.65M

2003/04

Ronaldinho

€32.25M/£29.03M

€43.85M/£39.47M

2002/03

Juan Roman Riquelme

€10M/£9M

€19M/£17.10M

2001/02

Javier Saviola

€35.90M/£32.31M

€95M/£85.50M

2000/01

Marc Overmars

€29.30M/£26.37M

€82.40M/£74.16M

TOTAL

€2.38B/£2.14B

*All figures are taken from Transfermarkt unless stated otherwise.

Barcelona's top 10 most expensive player signings

  • Ferran Torres Barcelona

    #10 Ferran Torres | €55 million/£49.50 million | Manchester City | 2021

    Ferran Torres was the first big-money signing made by Xavi, with Barcelona paying €55 million (£49.50 million) to Manchester City to acquire his services.

    The former Valencia man was considered surplus to requirements by City manager Pep Guardiola and his move was made official in January 2022, when he signed a five-year contract with Barca.

  • Raphinha unveiled at Barcelona, 15072022

    #9 Raphinha | €58 million/£52.20 million | Leeds | 2022

    Raphinha was part of Barcelona president Joan Laporta's revolutionary summer transfer window of 2022.

    The Catalan giants were desperate to strengthen their right wing and Raphinha, who netted 11 times for Leeds United in the 2021-22 season of the Premier League, was deemed the perfect fit.

    Leeds had no other option but to cash in on the Brazilian winger following his desire to move on, with Barcelona beating competition from Chelsea and Arsenal when they agreed to pay a fee of €58 million (£52.20 million) to sign him.

  • Miralem Pjanic Barcelona Presentation

    #8 Miralem Pjanic | €60 million/£54 million | Juventus | 2020

    Part of an "accounting" transfer designed by Barcelona and Juventus in 2020, Miralem Pjanic and Arthur swapped teams at an inflated price in order to balance the books for both clubs.

    Just one year after his move to the Camp Nou, the Bosnian joined Besiktas on loan, and he ended his troubled time at the Catalan club permanently in the summer of 2022 following a free transfer to UAE based Sharjah FC.

    Pjanic made 30 appearances for Barcelona, playing just 1,296 minutes in his time there.

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic Barcelona

    #7 Zlatan Ibrahimovic | €69.50 million/£62.55 million | Inter | 2009

    Back in 2009, Barcelona decided to go big in the transfer window when they set their eyes upon Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

    They paid an eye-watering €69.50 million (£62.55 million) for the striker, but things quickly turned sour for the Sweden legend.

    He fell out with then manager Pep Guardiola, thus losing his place in the starting XI.

    Despite that, Zlatan enjoyed a decent goal-scoring record with 22 goals in 46 games for Barcelona, winning the Club World Cup, La Liga, UEFA Super Cup and two Spanish Super Cups along the way.

    After loaning him to AC Milan for a season in 2010, Barcelona sold him to the Italian giants for €24m (£21.60m).

  • Luis Suarez Barcelona Sevilla LaLiga 06102019

    #6 Luis Suarez | €81.72 million/£73.55 million | Liverpool | 2014

    Uruguayan superstar Luis Suarez was at the peak of his career when Barcelona paid an eye-watering €82 million (£73.55 million) to Liverpool in the summer of 2014.

    Suarez had scored 31 goals and provided 19 assists in all competitions for Liverpool in the previous season, compelling Barcelona to make a move for him.

    Forming a dream strike partnership with Lionel Messi and Neymar, the forward featured in 283 games for Barcelona, scoring 195 and assisting 113 goals, averaging more than 30 goals per season at the club.

  • Frenkie de Jong Barcelona 2022-23

    #5 Frenkie de Jong | €86 million/£77.40 million | Ajax | 2019

    After Ajax's dream run to the UEFA Champions League semi-final in the 2018-19 season, Barcelona managed to sign one of their most in-demand midfielders, Frenkie de Jong, in the summer of 2019.

    The Blaugrana paid a whopping €86 million (£77.40 million) to Ajax for De Jong as they hoped to begin a new era at the club.

    However, things haven't quite gone as planned for both the player and the club, both in the footballing and financial sense.

    De Jong hasn't quite been able to replicate his Ajax form at Camp Nou and he was heavily linked with a transfer to Manchester United throughout the summer of 2022 as Barcelona looked to get one of their top earners off the books.

    The Dutchman had little interest in moving elsewhere, though, and turned down the chance to get reunited former boss Erik ten Hag at United.

  • Neymar Barcelona 2013

    #4 Neymar | €88 million/£79.20 million | Santos | 2013

    In a move that eventually led to former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu being charged with tax fraud, Neymar left Santos to join Barcelona for €88 million (£79.20 million) in 2013, making him one of the most expensive footballers on the planet at that time.

    After a period of adjustment to European football, the Brazilian attacker came to his best in the 2014/15 season alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, scoring 39 and assisting 10 goals in 51 games throughout the season that saw Barcelona win the UEFA Champions League.

    In total, Neymar made 186 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions, scoring 105 and assisting 76 goals in his four largely successful seasons at the club.

    The winger was eventually sold to Paris Saint-Germain for an eye watering €222m (£199.80) in 2017, which to-date remains the highest ever transfer fee paid for a player in the history of football.

  • Antoine Griezmann Barcelona vs Real Sociedad La Liga 2021-22

    #3 Antoine Griezmann | €120 million/£108 million | Atletico Madrid | 2019

    Following Neymar's departure to PSG, Barcelona were looking to add a premium attacking option to their ranks and this search eventually led them to Atletico Madrid superstar Antoine Griezmann .

    In 2019, Barca finally paid his release clause of €120 million (£108 million) to Atletico, having failed to lure the Frenchman to Camp Nou the previous season.

    Griezmann made 102 appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring 35 and assisting 17 goals, but his hefty wages prompted Barca to sent him back to Atletico Madrid on loan in the summer of 2021, which was extended for another season in the 2022 summer transfer window.

  • Dembele-Barca-2022-23

    #2 Ousmane Dembele | €125 million/£112.50 million | Dortmund | 2017

    After Neymar's world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, Barcelona made Ousmane Dembele their main priority of the transfer window.

    However, Borussia Dortmund made full use of the fact that they were in a position to demand a huge premium for the French superstar.

    And that's exactly what happened as Barcelona paid €125 million (£112.50 million) in order to sign Dembele, making him the second-most expensive player in the club's history.

    The Frenchman's time at Barcelona, however, has been plagued with injuries as he has struggled for consistency.

    Despite rumours of his exit from the club in 2022, Dembele signed a contract extension with Barcelona until 2024.

  • Coutinho Barcelona

    #1 Philippe Coutinho | €135 million/£121.50 million | Liverpool | 2018

    After Dembele's initial failure to truly replace Neymar, Barcelona broke the bank once again, this time for Liverpool superstar Philippe Coutinho.

    The Brazilian was signed in the January 2018 transfer window for €135 million (£121.50 million), making him the most-expensive signing in Barcelona's history.

    As astonishing was his price-tag, Coutinho's move to Camp Nou turned out to be largely disappointing as he made just 106 appearances, scoring 25 and assisting 14 goals.

    He was sent on a season-long loan to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019, but the German club did not exercise their option to buy him.

    Eventually, Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa came calling in January 2022 and after spending five months back in the Premier League on loan, Villa made Coutinho's transfer permanent in the summer of 2022 for just €20m (£18m).