Soccer clubs have spent a combined $48.5 billion on international transfer fees over the past decade, according to a report by FIFA. Annual spending increased from $2.66 billion in 2012 to $7.35 billion in 2019.
Between 2011 and 2020, a total of 133,225 international transfers — whether outright sales or loans of players — were completed with more than 66,000 players involved across FIFA’s 200 member associations.
- The number of clubs completing transfers grew by more than 30%, reaching 3,167 in 2011 and peaking at 4,139 in 2019.
- The top 30 clubs in transfer spending were all based in Europe with a total of $22.8 billion allocated toward the transactions — a 47% share of the global total.
- Since 2011, the most expensive transfer was Paris Saint-Germain’s $262.45 million deal to acquire Neymar from FC Barcelona in 2017.
Despite the influx of spending and fresh talent for clubs, the proliferation of transfers can come at a cost.
Italian club Juventus — which made roughly $17.7 million from Cristiano Ronaldo’s move back to Manchester United — will actually suffer a loss of approximately $16.6 million after signing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for $118.05 million in 2018.