Barcelona may be able to nurture their talents from the legendary La Masia academy, but they are not afraid to spend big money on new signings. Which players have they paid the most money for?
5. Frenkie de Jong | €86 million | Ajax | 2019
After Ajax’s dream run to the semi-finals of the Champions League in the 2018/19 season, Barcelona have acquired one of their most in-demand midfielders, Frenkie de Jong.
They paid €86 million for him in the summer of 2019 and he was set to become a major figure of the next generation. But things didn’t quite go to plan. De Jong hadn’t found his form from Ajax and Barcelona wanted to offload him in the summer of 2022 to free up space under the salary cap.
But the Dutch midfielder refused to go anywhere and stayed at Camp Nou. This is despite the fact that he now has no place in the starting line-up, as Xavi relies on the trio of Busquets – Pedri – Gavi.
4. Neymar | €88 million | Santos | 2013
This transfer would most like to be brought back by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, as he was later sued for tax fraud.
Neymar left Santos for Barcelona in 2013 for €88 million, making him one of the most expensive players on the planet.
Neymar had his best season in 2014/15, when he scored 39 goals and added 10 assists in 50 games, helping the Blaugranas to win the Champions League.
Later, Neymar was sold to PSG for 222 million euros, making him the most expensive transfer of all time so far.
3. Antoine Griezmann | €120 million | Atletico Madrid | 2019
Barcelona were looking for a new star in attack in the summer of 2019 and they found one in Atlético Madrid. In fact, it paid a buyout clause of €120 million for Antoine Griezmann.
The French striker has played 102 games for Barcelona, scoring 35 goals and assisting 17 more. His performances have been a big disappointment, not matching Messi at all.
Because of his high salary, Barcelona sent him on loan to Atlético, where he eventually transferred.
2. Ousmane Dembélé | €125 million | Dortmund | 2017
Money wasted or a good investment? For the first five years of Dembélé’s contract, it looked like the former scenario. The French winger was much more on the sickbed than on the pitch, with constant injuries also hampering his performances.
Barcelona paid 125 million euros for him, the fifth most expensive transfer in history. Dembélé had to wrestle the transfer from Dortmund, as he had only been at Borussia for a year and the German club didn’t want to let him go so soon.
However, although it seemed that Dembélé would leave as a free agent after five years, he eventually signed a new contract and his second leg at Camp Nou looks much happier. He is playing regularly in the starting line-up, scoring goals, setting up goals and finally paying Barcelona back.
1. Philippe Coutinho | €135 million | Liverpool | 2018
Without exaggeration, one of the worst transfers in football history. Barcelona paid €135 million for Coutinho, making him the third most expensive player of all time. But the Brazilian footballer never fulfilled the potential he came with.
At Liverpool, he developed into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, and indeed in the world, but his commitment to Catalonia did not suit him at all. Compared to Liverpool, he was half-hearted and the fact that Barcelona sent him on loan to Bayern after just two seasons is testament to their dissatisfaction with Coutinho.
There, moreover, came another blow when Coutinho, who had not done well at all at Barcelona, was present at the ignominious 2:8 defeat and scored two goals. After returning to Camp Nou, the Blaugranas deliberately did not field him often so that they did not have to pay Liverpool bonuses for starts. He subsequently left for Aston Villa for €20 million.
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