The 10 most expensive transfers in the summer of 2023: Moises Caicedo to Chelsea, Declan Rice to Arsenal…

Declan Rice Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham

Declan Rice Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham

The summer transfer window was as busy as ever as teams across Europe looked to strengthen their ranks for the 2023/24 campaign.

Arsenal and Bayern Munich both broke their transfer records this summer while the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid also made big-money signings.

We’ve taken a look at the 10 most expensive deals that were completed in the 2023 summer transfer window.

Note: we’ve only used the initial transfer fees and haven’t taken into account any potential add-ons.

10. Dominik Szoboszlai – £60.1m

After missing out on Mason Mount and withdrawing themselves from the Jude Bellingham race, Liverpool switched their attention to Szoboszlai.

The Hungary international registered 20 goals and 22 assists in 91 appearances for RB Leipzig, helping them win the DFB-Pokal in back-to-back seasons.

He also attracted interest from Newcastle United but Liverpool triggered his £60.1million release clause a few hours before it expired at the end of June.

The attacking midfielder has already become a fan favourite at Anfield, and he scored his first goal for the club in their 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

9. Kai Havertz – £62m

Havertz had a mixed spell at Chelsea but Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta still saw something in him and sanctioned a £62million move for the Germany international.

He is still adapting to a new role on the left of a midfield three and is yet to register a single goal or assist for the Gunners.

While the 24-year-old has faced criticism for his slow start to life at the Emirates, Arteta is full of praise for his summer signing.

“I’ll tell you what I feel about him, that I love him and I see his qualities every day in training,” the manager said. “His work rate is excellent, a lot of the things he does at the front of the team is so good.”

8. Rasmus Hojlund – £64m

Hojlund enjoyed an impressive debut season at Atalanta in 2022/23 and caught the attention of top clubs around Europe.

Atalanta rejected a £42.8million offer from Paris Saint-Germain but accepted Manchester United’s bid of £64million, which could rise to £72million if certain performance and success-related clauses are met.

He missed the first three games of the 2023/24 season with a back injury but made a promising cameo appearance against Arsenal at the Emirates.

Manchester United's Rasmus Hojlund (right) and Arsenal's Gabriel battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London

Rasmus Hojlund holds off Gabriel during Arsenal v Man Utd at Emirates Stadium

7. Randal Kolo Muani – £64.2m

After Lionel Messi and Neymar both left the club in the summer, Paris Saint-Germain needed to revamp their forward line.

They signed Marco Asensio, Goncalo Ramos and Ousmane Dembele before targeting Muani, who enjoyed a breakout season at Eintracht Frankfurt in 2022/23.

Frankfurt agreed to sell him on transfer deadline day after accepting PSG’s offer of £64.2million upfront and an additional £12.2million in bonuses.

The deal represents an extraordinary profit for the Bundesliga side, who signed the France international on a free transfer in the summer of 2022.

6. Neymar – £69m

One of the biggest talking points of the 2023 summer transfer window has been the rise of the Saudi Pro League as a hot destination for the biggest stars in European football.

Al Hilal have paid an initial £69million to sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain and the deal could rise to £78million with add-ons.

The Brazil international signed a two-year contract and will reportedly earn £129.2million a year in Saudi Arabia – six times the amount he earned at PSG.

He’s yet to make his debut for Al-Hilal as he continues to recover from an ankle injury sustained in February.

5. Josko Gvardiol – £77.6m

Despite leading Manchester City to the treble in 2022/23, Pep Guardiola still wanted to strengthen his squad in the transfer window and identified RB Leipzig’s Gvardiol as his top target.

While RB Leipzig initially set an asking price of £86million, they ultimately accepted City’s offer of £77.6million and Gvardiol is now the second most expensive defender of all time.

“His physical condition is really, really good and his build-up with his left foot is also really, really good,” Guardiola told ITV Sport.

“He is 21 years old so when you buy, of course, it’s a lot of money, but when you are 21 years old, it is not a problem. He will be with us for the future and that’s what we think. We are trying to improve the team for the next seasons, not just this season, for the future.”

The Croatia international has already got his hands on some silverware after making his City debut in the UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla.

4. Harry Kane – £86m

Having sold Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona in 2022, Bayern Munich identified Tottenham’s Harry Kane as the ideal candidate to be their new No.9.

Despite the fact that he was entering the final year of his contract and would have been available for free in July 2024, Spurs still set a high asking price.

Bayern eventually agreed to pay an initial £86million and another £18million in add-ons, making him their all-time record signing.

The 30-year-old striker has hit the ground running in Germany, registering three goals and an assist in his first three Bundesliga appearances.

3. Jude Bellingham – £88.5m

Bellingham went from strength to strength at Borussia Dortmund and won the Bundesliga Player of the Season award in 2022/23.

The 20-year-old was on the radar of Europe’s powerhouses, including Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.

But Madrid won the race for his signature after paying Dortmund an initial £88.5million, which could reach £115million with add-ons.

The midfielder is already starting to justify that price tag and has registered five goals and an assist in his first four appearances for Los Blancos.

2. Declan Rice – £100m

Rice led West Ham United to victory against Fiorentina in the 2023 Europa Conference League final and that proved to be his final appearance for the club.

While Manchester City were willing to pay £90million for the midfielder, Arsenal outbid them by giving the Hammers an initial £100million and a further £5million in add-ons.

“I don’t actually think about it,” Rice told ESPN. “It is crazy to think ‘yeah OK, I’ve been sold for £100million’ but I haven’t thought about it once.

“That’s a price tag that is now attached to me. I just try to play football and enjoy myself. I don’t try to put any added pressure on me. Me being myself is what’s got me here. That isn’t going to change now I’m at Arsenal. I’m still going to do things that I’ve done that have got me to Arsenal.”

The 24-year-old won the Community Shield on his debut and scored his first goal for the club in their 3-1 win over Manchester United.

Declan Rice of Arsenal

Declan Rice signs contract as new Arsenal player

1. Moises Caicedo – £100m

Caicedo starred for Brighton & Hove Albion and was the subject of transfer interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in 2023.

After rejecting a £70million offer from Arsenal in the January transfer window, Brighton accepted a £111million bid from Liverpool in the summer.

The Ecuador international snubbed Jurgen Klopp’s side as he had his heart set on moving to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea agreed to pay an initial £100million and the deal could reach £115million with add-ons, which would make the midfielder the most expensive player in Premier League history.

But he’s had a difficult start to his Chelsea career, making costly errors in their defeats against West Ham United and Nottingham Forest.

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