The History of Transfer Records

The transfer market is officially crazy. And it has been for a long time now. The world’s most expensive player cost £200 million. Romelu Lukaku’s transfer fee could rise to ninety million. We look back at the history of transfer records.

The first recorded transfer record took place in 1893, eight years after football was made professional. The first player to hold the record was Scottish international Willie Groves who moved from West Brom to Aston Villa for a fee of £100, in today’s world, that is £10,279. A number of transfers over the next few years happened, but it wasn’t until Alf Common moved from Sunderland to Middlesborough in 1905, where we saw the first £1k transfer (£99,302 when adjusted for inflation)


Willie Groves was the first player to move for more than £100.

It wouldn’t be until 1928 when we saw the first five-figure transfer fee in the game we love, when David Jack moved from Bolton to Arsenal for £10,890 (£607,451 when adjusted for inflation). 1932 was a huge year for transfer records, as the title was taken by the first player not to be either Scottish or English, as Argentinan Bernabé Ferreyra moved for £32,000.


Bernabé Ferreyra was the first player that wasn’t British to hold the title

You would have to wait 29 years until we saw the first £100k transfer as Luis Suarez join Inter from Barcelona in 1961 for 152,000 (£3,133,891 adjusted for inflation) then another seven years in 1968 when we saw the first £500,000 transfer.


Luis Suarez broke the record in 1961 when he moved to Inter for £100k

However, it wasn’t until 1975 when we had the first million pound transfer, a fee that nowadays is seen as peanuts, as Giuseppe Savoldi joined Napoli for £1.2million pounds.


Giuseppe Savoldi was the first player to be sold for more than a million pounds

It wasn’t until 1992 when we had the first 10m transfer as Jean-Pierre Papin moved to Milan. The tranfer record returned to an Englishman for the first time since 1951 in 1996 as Alan Shearer joined boyhood club, Newcastle United, for £15 million.


For the next five years, the world record was broken every year, sometimes twice in the same year! But after Zidane joined Real Madrid for 46mil in 2001, it would take another 8 years for the record to be broken when Kaka joined Real Madrid for 56 million, but even then, the record was broken again the same year when Cristano Ronaldo joined Madrid for 80 million!


It wasn’t until 2013 when the record was broken – again to Madrid – when Gareth Bale departed the Premier League and Spurs to join Madrid for £85 million. However, just three years later, the record was broken again, when Paul Pogba broke the record when he signed for Manchester United for £89 million.


Pogba held the record until this summer

2017 was the year that the world record was smashed, as Neymar left Barcelona for £200 million to PSG. The market is crazy. No player is worth £200mil.   


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