Transfer market winners and losers in the last 10 years

According to a FIFA report, teams spent $ 48.5 billion to reinforce their squads

The soccer clubs invested 48.5 billion dollars in transfers between 2011 and 2020, according to a FIFA report that shows that the 30 entities that paid the most are European and that the Barcelona, the Real Madrid and the Atlético de Madrid are in the top six, along with Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

The document published this Monday on international transfers and transfers in men’s football in the last decade confirms the uninterrupted increase, with a record of 11,890 transfers in 2011 and a maximum figure of 18,079 in 2019 to complete a total of 133,225 transactions.

The FIFA data show that a total of 66,789 soccer players and 8,264 clubs from 200 federations were involved in the operations, “figures that highlight the weight of soccer in the global economy.”

Brazilian players were the most transferred (15,128) to foreign teams, followed by Argentines (7,444), British (5,523), French (5,027), Colombians (4,287) and Spanish (3,922). The extensive study also confirms that English clubs are the ones that spent the most on transfers and that Spaniards are the ones that earned the most from these operations, at the same time that the commissions paid to agents increased, which received a total of 3,500 million. Payments to these went from 131.1 million in 2011 to 640.5 million in 2019.

Likewise, a decline in the solidarity contribution stands out, with similar amounts in 2020 (38.5 million) and 2011 (38 million), a trend that for FIFA “emphasizes the need to have the Clearing House that it is going to put into operation, to promote the payment of compensation for training and reach about 300 million dollars per year.


The number of clubs involved in transfers grew more than 30 percent in the last decade. From 3,167 in 2011 it went to 4,139 in 2019, an amount that suffered a slight decrease in 2020 with 4,127.The list of the top 30 clubs in terms of transfer premiums is made up exclusively of European entities led by England (12), Spain and Italy (five each), Germany (three), France and Portugal (two each), and Russia (one). These 30 clubs spent a total of 22.8 billion on transfer bonuses, representing 47 percent of the global total for the decade.

Manchester City (130 signings), Chelsea (95), Barcelona (75), PSG (59), Real Madrid (55), Atlético de Madrid (93), Manchester United (68), Arsenal (76), Juventus (137) and Tottenham (59) take the top ten places in this table. A total of 2,634 different clubs received an international transfer fee and the top 500 recipients accounted for more than 95 percent.

Among the top 30 clubs that received transfer rates are the Portuguese Benfica (311 transfers) and Sporting (226), followed by Barcelona (106), Chelsea (260), Atlético de Madrid (121), Real Madrid (90), Porto (224), AS Monaco (177), Ajax Amsterdam (100) Juventus (197) and Manchester City (307).


Brazilian footballers top the list of players most transferred to foreign clubs by starring in 15,128 operations. In second position are the Argentines (7,444), the British (5,523), the French (5,027), the Colombians (4,287) and the Spanish (3,922). Nigeria (3,793), Uruguay (3,341), Ghana (2,848), Portugal (2,598), Germany (1,916), Italy (1,891), Paraguay (1,800) and Japan (1,336) figure in the list of the 30 countries with the most players they export.

86.1 percent of transfer fees were paid by footballers from those thirty countries and 44 percent were by Brazilians, French, Spanish, Argentines and Portuguese.

The highest median annual salary was recorded in 2015 at 2.9 million and 57.1 percent of 24-year-old players finish their contracts in less than a year.


The transfer of Brazilian Neymar Da Silva from Barcelona to the PSG in 2017 it remains the most expensive in history with a figure of 200 million, double the amount paid by the Belgian Eden Hazard (2019) of the Chelsea to the Real Madrid, the Portuguese João Félix (2019) from Benfica to Atlético de Madrid and the Dutch Frankie De Jong (2019) from Ajax to Barcelona.

The signings in 2018 of the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo of the Real Madrid Juventus, from Liverpool’s Brazilian Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona and the Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Club to Chelsea.

The “club of 100” was opened by the transfer of the Welshman Gareth Bale to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in England.

The highest figure before reaching 100 million was 60 million, disbursed in transfers such as those of the Argentine Sergio Agüero from Atlético to the Manchester City in 2011 and the Egyptian Mohamed Salah in 2017 from AS Roma to Liverpool.

83 percent of the transferred players would be between 18 and 29 years old; 94.1 percent of transfer rates were paid by players between 18 and 29 years old and 21.6 percent of operations with under-24 footballers were transfers: 19,826, which represents 14.8 percent of operations and the majority of them (70 percent) without fees.


Although the Brazilian Soccer Association (CBF) tops the list in terms of the number of player transfers, it only ranks seventh in terms of transfer income with 2,800 million, a figure that is less than half of what they earned from Spanish clubs 6.2 billion in that period.

England (5.2), France (4.9), Portugal (4.3), Italy (4.2) and Germany (3.4) appear below as operating income. In the table of expenses for transfers England appears in first place (12.4 million), with a peak in 2018 of 1.95 billion and a slight increase in spending in 2020 despite the health crisis compared to 2019. Spanish clubs are second in this concept (6.7 million) and the report indicates that the pandemic reduced by more than half the figure to the levels prior to 2017, Italy (5.6), Germany (4.6) France (4) and Russia and China (1.7) appear next.

Among associations, investment in transfers from Spain to England was the highest with 2,435 million; above that between France and England (2,133) and from England to Spain (1,642).


As reflected in the reforms in the transfer system that FIFA is carrying out, the analysis confirms a clear decline in the solidarity contribution, with similar amounts in 2020 (38.5 million) and 2011 (38 million).

“This trend underscores the need for the FIFA Compensation Chamber, which is expected to promote the payment of training compensation to reach some $ 300 million annually.”

The report, which can be consulted on the FIFA website, adds that the decline in payment of compensation for training contrasts markedly with the commissions paid to agents, which went from 131.1 million in 2011 to 640.5 million in 2019.

Over the decade, agents were paid a total of $ 3.5 billion in international transfer fees.