Two years ago, Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain as a result of the player transfer with the highest transfer fee in history: 222 million euros (N90 billion), setting a world record that will be hard to break. Last year, only one player even came close to breaking this record: Kylian Mbappe, the French wonder kid that, after standing out at the biggest football tournament in the world, the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia, left his home team Monaco for Paris Saint Germain in a transfer worth 180 million euros (circa N73 billion). This made him the most expensive teenager ever (he was 19 at the time of the transfer) and the second most expensive football player in history (and he has only played for about four years). This year, we only had a handful of player transfers, none of them big enough to break any records. This doesn’t make them negligible, though – they are the most expensive ones this year (so far, at least).
3. Christian Pulisic
Given that in the US, “football” is the name of a completely different sport (they use the term “soccer” for association football), it is a bit unusual for a US-born player to make a name for himself in Europe. Christian Pulisic is the exception from this rule, it seems. The American player graduated Borussia Dortmund’s youth academy, finding a place as an attacking midfielder and winger with the team once he went senior. After three seasons with the German team, he signed a new contract with Premier League team Chelsea – the English team paid £58 million (over N27 billion) to have him.
With this transfer, Pulisic broke the record of the most expensive American player of all time.
2. Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie de Jong started his professional career at Jong Ajax, the reserve team of the football club Ajax Amsterdam. He was promoted to the first team in 2016, and stood his ground, proving his worth through his dribbling skills, passing range and variety. It is not a surprise that he was spotted by other high-profile clubs as well: ultimately, Spanish club Barcelona grabbed him, paying €75 million (over N30 billion) to have him. The contract of the Dutch youngster with the Spanish club starts in June 2019.
1. Lucas Hernandez
The most expensive player of the year 2019 (so far) is Lucas Hernandez, the French central defender who left Atlético Madrid for Bayern Munich this year. Actually, he didn’t leave just yet – at the time of writing this, he still plays for the Spanish team, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. Hernandez has more than 100 competitive appearances behind him, and he was part of the winning French team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, along with Mbappé. The German club paid €80 million (over N32 billion) to have him.