The history of the UK transfer record


Jack Grealish has become the latest player to break the UK transfer record after making a £ 100million transfer to Manchester City.

This is the 17th time the record has been broken since the Premier League was founded in 1992.

Of course, by ‘UK transfer record’ we mean ‘the highest transfer fees paid by a UK club’: we’re not kidding with the times when foreign clubs have come to splash the world’s top talent, or Philippe Coutinho.

So here are all the players who have broken the record over the past 30 years, starting with the most recent inclusion …

NOT THE RECORDS The 10 most expensive UK transfers of all time

ALSO LOOK AT Best Premier League players EVER: 100 greatest English top footballers since 1992

Current UK transfer record: Jack Grealish, £ 100million – August 2021 (Aston Villa to Manchester City)

A five-year gap since the last record-breaking British transfer, Jack Grealish’s move to Manchester City seemed old-fashioned – a boy snatched from his childhood club by an extravagant amount of wealth and the promise of silverware galore.

It seemed to end amicably, with Aston Villa happy with a pumped up transfer budget and Grealish happy for the opportunity to show how good he can be in a squad full of superstars.

COMMENT Did Aston Villa become a better team without Jack Grealish?

Paul Pogba, £ 89million – July 2016 (Juventus v Manchester United)

A bit of an embarrassing amount of money to pay for someone who was on your books four years ago and was allowed to leave for free.

But Pogba had become one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world during his time at Juventus, and there was a feeling his signing could be a turning point in Manchester United’s post-Ferguson crisis.

Although he has never reached those heights (yet), United won the Europa League in Pogba’s first season with the club.

Fernando Torres, £ 50million – January 2011 (Liverpool v Chelsea)

A deadline day shock gave a rare exit to the signing of a transfer case that took place in January.

The Torres star was already on the wane in Merseyside, although that was little consolation at the time for the disgruntled Reds who saw £ 35million of the fee immediately spent on Andy Carroll.

The Spanish striker has not lived up to the price to pay in West London. Yeah, probably.

Robinho, £ 32.5million – September 2008 (Real Madrid v Manchester City)

Perhaps the most shocking transfer in Premier League history, at least on a ‘WTF’ scale.

The Brazilian star striker from Real Madrid – who had received the sacred No.10 shirt, no less – seemed destined for a late transfer to Chelsea’s sacks of money. He clearly meant it: he even mentioned how happy he was to join Chelsea in his first City press conference.

But then Abu Dhabi Investment Group bought Manchester City and on the same day landed Robinho’s signing under Roman Abramovich’s nose.

However, he didn’t quite live up to expectations and left for Santos 18 months later.

Andriy Shevchenko, £ 30.6million – July 2006 (AC Milan v Chelsea)

Andriy Shevchenko was one of the greatest strikers in the world. At AC Milan he won Serie A, the Champions League, the 2004 Ballon d’Or and became the Rossoneri’s second all-time top scorer.

At 29, he wasn’t a spring chicken, but there was no indication he had passed him either: the previous season he had scored 29 goals in 40 goals for Milan.

Chelsea’s record with high-income forwards is shaky, however, and Shevchenko ended his first season in England with just four Premier League goals.

Two years later he was loaned to Milan again.

Rio Ferdinand, £ 29.1million – July 2002 (Leeds v Manchester United)

It was the second time Ferdinand has broken both the British transfer record and the record for the most expensive defender of all time – but damn it, it was worth it.

Six Premier League titles and a Champions League win in addition to 450 appearances for United have made Ferdinand a true Old Trafford legend. His center-back partnership with Nemanja Vidic is still considered the cornerstone of one of Manchester United’s greatest teams.

Juan Sebastian Veron, £ 28.1million – July 2001 (Lazio v Manchester United)

Veron’s Manchester spell was not a complete success, despite Alex Ferguson’s famous retort that anyone who doubted their midfielder was a “fucking idiot”.

The man himself said FourFourTwo in 2021 that his stay in England “was not the best” and that he was not prepared for the intensity of the games. It was shipped from the newly created Chelsea for almost half the price after two years.

Ruud van Nistelrooy, £ 19million – April 2001 (PSV at Manchester United)

Van Nistelrooy had almost joined Manchester United for a similar amount a year earlier, but a cruciform injury put an end to that.

While he did the job they paid the money for – scoring absolute goals (150 in 219 appearances, if you count) – his reluctance to do anything other than score absolute goals has could be done to the detriment of the team. In an unusually dry period for them under Ferguson, United have won just one Premier League trophy during the Dutchman’s five-year stint.

Rio Ferdinand, £ 18million – November 2000 (West Ham to Leeds)

World record for a defender at the time, Ferdinand did not disappoint at Leeds. He was an integral part of the squad when they reached the Champions League semi-finals and returned for his second season as club captain.

The free spending approach meant that they had to cash out their assets neatly, however – but at least Ferdinand’s value increased significantly during his short stay.

Alan Shearer, £ 15million – July 1996 (Blackburn to Newcastle)

A world record, nothing less. Alan Shearer’s unveiling in Tyneside was greeted as the return of a Geordie messiah, and the huge charges were seen as positive rather than unwanted baggage. Newcastle fans would gladly have paid twice as much to see local talent score goals at St. James’ Park.

While no silverware has followed, Shearer’s one-armed celebration has been seen over 200 times in 10 years at Newcastle (that’s an average of over 20 per season, boffins), while he’s became the Premier League’s top scorer – a feat that stands to this day.

Stan Collymore, £ 8.5million – June 1995 (from Nottingham Forest to Liverpool)

A busy year for British transfer records, Collymore is the man who finished 1995 in pole position when it comes to fees.

The forward quickly formed a partnership with youngster Robbie Fowler, and the two scored an impressive 55 goals between them in 1995/96.

At the end of the following season, however, there was an even younger and newer forward who was making a name for himself at Anfield, and a teenager by the name of Michael Owen replaced Collymore up front.

Dennis Bergkamp, ​​£ 7.5million – June 1995 (Inter Milan at Arsenal)

Bruce Rioch’s first signing as Arsenal boss was a bit risky, with £ 5million more than the Gunners’ previous record and after a disappointing season in Italy which saw just three Serie A goals.

It hasn’t gone too badly in North London: he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in 11 seasons with Arsenal. Oh, and they loved him so much that they built a statue of him outside of their new land. Money well spent.

Andy Cole, £ 7million – January 1995 (Newcastle v Manchester United)

Back in the days when transfers could come out of the blue and onto your unsuspecting teletext page, it was a real shock.

Cole had scored 34 not-too-shabby goals in Newcastle’s ambitious debut Premier League season the year before, and Kevin Keegan had to justify his decision to furious fans outside St James’ Park.

However, all went well from a Man United perspective: Cole scored 121 goals in six years at Manchester and entered into a successful striking partnership with Dwight Yorke, earning him five Premier-winner medals. League, two FA Cups and a champion. League before it settles on new pastures.

Chris Sutton, £ 5million – July 1994 (Norwich to Blackburn)

Blackburn capitalized on the fact that Norwich had gone from title challenger in 1992/93 to 12th in 1993/94 by putting a big wad of metaphorical cash on the table and demanding the Canaries’ best player in their own attempt to disrupt Manchester United’s national dominance. .

And oh boy, it worked.

Sutton has teamed up with Alan Shearer to form a terrifying partnership known in tabloids across the country as “SAS” (“Shearer and Sutton”, if you’re struggling). The two scored 49 league goals between them in that first season to secure Rovers’ first title since 1914.

Although the good times did not last, Sutton was the Premier League’s top scorer in 1997/98, although he missed much of the following season with injury as Blackburn was relegated. .

Roy Keane, £ 3.75million – July 1993 (from Nottingham Forest to Manchester United)

It was Blackburn who would have once again set the record with that same transfer (and at a higher fee of £ 4million rumored to be) had it not been for the office containing the fax machine before be able to finalize the agreement on a Friday evening.

Instead, Wiley Alex Ferguson managed to capitalize on the East Lancastrians’ strict adherence to the weekends off and land Roy Keane’s signing on Monday morning.

The tenacious Irish midfielder played for United 480 times over the next 12 years, many as captain, collecting 12 trophies along the way.

Alan Shearer, £ 3.6million – July 1992 (Southampton to Blackburn)

Blackburn Rovers owned what appeared to be an unlimited bank account in the early 1990s, after being taken over by local millionaire and steel tycoon Jack Walker.

After landing Kenny Dalglish as manager despite being on the second flight, they booked their place in the Premier League’s inaugural season through the play-offs and then immediately showed they were serious in spending £ 3.6million on Southampton prodigy Alan Shearer, then 21.

Shearer scored against Crystal Palace on Matchday 1. It was a sentiment Blackburn fans would get used to: he scored 129 more times during his career in the Northwest.

He scored over 30 Premier League goals over three consecutive seasons – a feat unmatched to date – and propelled the Rovers to the title in 1995, before leaving for a world record a year later.

Not a bad deal, all in all.

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