Manchester United have this week recorded quite the Premier League transfer coup by signing Juan Mata from domestic rivals Chelsea for a club record fee. The Spanish playmaker will be charged with reinvigorating the English champions, with high hopes he can recreate his Stamford Bridge form in Manchester.
Despite the amount of money spent on the immensely gifted attacking midfielder, the figure has been eclipsed elsewhere. Including Mata’s move to Old Trafford, here are the ten most expensive Premier League transfers of all time.
Fernando Torres, £50m
Chelsea have the record for the amount of money spent on a player, with their acquisition of Fernando Torres from Liverpool still at the top of the pile.
The World Cup winning Spaniard forged a venerable reputation at Anfield, but struggled to find his best form in his early days in west London.
Although Torres has improved in recent times, Roman Abramovich will still look back on this piece of business and question its merits.
Mesut Ozil, £42.5m
Arsenal caused quite the stir in the summer by smashing their club record transfer fee to bring Mesut Ozil to the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid.
The mercurial Germany international has played his part in shooting the Gunners, 4th favourites with Betfair to win the league title in August 2013, to the top of the Premier League table this term, and has sparked a revival in north London.
After Ozil’s addition, hopes of a similar fee being paid to land Julian Draxler have been harboured by the Arsenal fans in this January transfer window.
Sergio Aguero, £38m
Despite all the top-quality players that have arrived at Manchester City in recent seasons, Sergio Aguero still tops the club list after his move from Atletico Madrid.
The Argentina international is a crucial player for Manuel Pellegrini’s men and can be regarded as one of the best strikers in the world game.
Aguero scored the goal to deliver the Premier League title in 2011-12, and will be integral in City’s quest for honours this term.
Juan Mata, £37.1m
Manchester United’s purchase of Juan Mata comes in at fourth on the list, with the playmaker breaking the Old Trafford record.
Out of favour under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Mata will be charged with reinventing a United midfield that has been lacking creativity since the retirement of Paul Scholes.
Just where the former Valencia star will play remains to be seen, but on his day Mata is as good as anyone in the business.
Andy Carroll, £35m
Liverpool’s club record fee is next up, with their last-ditch January 2011 purchase of Andy Carroll from Newcastle to replace Fernando Torres fifth on the list.
The England international’s time at the Merseyside club was blighted with injuries and poor form, with the burly striker pushed out by Brendan Rodgers.
Carroll has since moved on to West Ham, with his time at Liverpool a forgettable phase in his career.
One of Manchester City’s early eye-catching signings, Robinho moved to the Etihad Stadium from Real Madrid in the club’s quest for honours and recognition at the top of the English game.
The Brazil international showed glimpses of his incredible ability, but too often was largely anonymous.
Robinho has since departed for AC Milan, and has been eclipsed by others at the Manchester club.
Eden Hazard, £32m
The Belgium international caused a Premier League scramble for his services after strong performances for Lille, with Chelsea beating the Manchester clubs to his signing in the summer of 2012.
Hazard has thoroughly lived up to his billing at Stamford Bridge and is a critical member of a star-studded Chelsea side.
Ironically it has been Hazard’s excellent showings this season that forced Mata out of the team and on to Manchester United.
Andriy Shevchenko, £30.8m
Another Chelsea striker that was signed for big money but failed to deliver, Andriy Shevchenko moved to Chelsea from AC Milan with the reputation as one of the world’s most lethal strikers.
The Ukrainian found the going in England difficult, and never delivered the form that made him such a hit in Italy.
After only nine Premier League goals in west London, Shevchenko returned to the San Siro on loan before rejoining Dynamo Kiev.
Dimitar Berbatov, £30.75m
The Bulgarian striker moved to Manchester United from Tottenham and helped the Old Trafford club to the 2010-11 Premier League title as the division’s top goalscorer.
Despite this, Sir Alex Ferguson used the eastern European forward sparingly the following campaign, and the veteran has since moved on to Fulham.
United fans will remember Berbatov as a gifted forward on his day, but he was not given a consistent chance to prove himself.
Last on the list is Fernandinho, who moved to Manchester City from Shakhtar Donetsk over the summer to partner Yaya Toure in the heart of the side’s midfield.
The Brazil international has been impressive in his first six months in England and has already established himself as an important first-team player for the side.
Still to prove himself at international level, Fernandinho is good but can still get better.
It should be noted that the two most expensive transfers of all time involved Premier League clubs – but it was the English sides selling on both occasions.
Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United to join Real Madrid for a whopping £80m in July 2009. The Spanish giants, who parted with £85.3 million to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham, surpassed this in the summer.