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Barcelona’s 10 Most Expensive Signings Of All Time

Don’t let Barcelona’s club motto, ‘Mes Que Un Club’ (more than a club), trick you into believing they rely on La Masia graduates to shape their worldwide image.

Over the years, Barca’s famous youth academy has produced numerous world-class players such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Carles Puyol and Sergio Busquets.

While most of the credit for the club’s tremendous success at a domestic and continental level in the 21st century goes to Messi, the Catalans have often left the footballing world speechless with extravagant spending.

Real Madrid have often been accused of causing inflated market prices due to their record-beating transfer, yet Barcelona are not lagging much behind.

Indeed, the Camp Nou heavyweights hold an infamous record as the only club in history to have spent over £100m on three different players.

Below are the ten most expensive Barcelona signings of all time.

  1. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool, 2018) – £121.5m
  2. Ousmane Dembele (Borussia Dortmund, 2017) – £112.5m
  3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid, 2019) – £108m
  4. Neymar (Santos, 2013) – £79.2m
  5. Frenkie de Jong (Ajax, 2019) – £77.4m
  6. Luis Suarez- (Liverpool, 2014) – £73.55m
  7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan, 2009) – £62.55m
  8. Miralem Pjanic (Juventus, 2020) – £54m
  9. Raphinha (Leeds United, 2022) – £52m
  10. Feran Torres – (Manchester City, 2022) – £49.5m

Now, let’s see how Barcelona’s ten most expensive signings ever panned out. 

#10 Ferran Torres

Ferran Torres’ Manchester City career never really picked up momentum as Barcelona swooped in to take him back to La Liga in January 2022 amid growing scoring problems at Camp Nou.

A natural winger, albeit often focused on drifting inside and cutting into the box, Torres has been an immediate upgrade on Barca’s attacking options during his early days in Catalunya.

But despite headlining Xavi Hernandez’s frontline for the entire second half of the 2021/22 season, the Spaniard has tumbled down the pecking order over the summer. 

#9 Raphinha

One of the reasons behind Torres’ downfall is the £52m winger Raphinha, who swapped Leeds United for Spain this summer, turning down a lucrative bid from Chelsea in the process. 

The 25-year-old Brazilian was amongst the best-performing forwards in the Premier League in the last two seasons, even though the Whites spent both campaigns fighting against the drop. 

Keen to take his career to the next level, Raphinha forced his move to Barcelona in the summer and immediately put his burgeoning talent on full display during the off-season.

#8 Miralem Pjanic

It’s been two years since Miralem Pjanic traded his household status at Juventus for a Barcelona misery, and many may have forgotten the move has ever happened. 

Intended to be Xavi’s long-term successor at the heart of the Blaugrana’s midfield, the Bosnian deep-lying playmaker can use his fingers to count the minutes he has spent on the Camp Nou pitch in the past two years.

For what it’s worth, Arthur Melo, who headed in the opposite direction the same year, has not encountered much luck in Serie A either.

#7 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

This one is puzzling. You cannot expect Zlatan Ibrahimovic to fail, especially when the stakes are high, yet many still consider his short-term spell at Barcelona underwhelming. 

How can anyone be considered a failure when they racked up 22 goals from 46 appearances while playing in Messi’s shadow? 

You also cannot expect Zlatan to play second fiddle to anyone, even if it’s the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner we’re talking about. 

That must have accelerated Ibrahimovic’s decision to leave La Liga after just one year and link up with AC Milan. 

#6 Luis Suarez

Unlike his Swedish counterpart, Luis Suarez had no problems helping Messi become an icon at Camp Nou while earning himself a reputation as one of the best strikers of his generation.

As an integral part of the famous ‘MSN’ trio, the Uruguayan superstar established one of the most prolific attacking partnerships in football history. 

Suarez was an influential figure as Barcelona won the Champions League title in his first season at Camp Nou and added four La Liga crowns to his trophy cabinet. 

#5 Frenkie de Jong

Franke de Jong’s career at Barcelona has never been truly up and running despite his burgeoning talent, but Camp Nou could soon wave goodbye to the Dutchman.

Amid allegations over a criminal conspiracy performed by the previous management, the 25-year-old could soon leave the club to alleviate the pressure on the balance sheet.

De Jong’s qualities have never been questioned, yet he’s often failed to live up to his staggering £77m transfer fee. 

#4 Neymar

The third and final component of the MSN trident Neymar arrived at Barcelona as a teenage sensation from Santos and developed into a senior first-team star.

Off-field antics aside, the skilful forward played a crucial role in Barca’s attack alongside Messi and Suarez, forging one of the most exciting attacking partnerships. 

He left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 to become the most expensive signing in football history. 

#3 Antoine Griezmann

After numerous sensational years at Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona in 2019 as part of the club’s desperate attempt to overhaul attacking options on the back of Neymar’s exit.

However, the Frenchman miserably failed at Camp Nou, turning into one of the worst club signings ever before returning to the Wanda Metropolitano in 2021 to reignite his career. 

Whether it was a psychological barrier or Griezmann’s inability to co-operate with Messi on the field, he failed to leave his mark at Barca.

#2 Ousmane Dembele

It’s been five years since Barcelona paid a then-club record transfer fee of £112.5m to sign Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in a blockbuster deal.

He needed almost four years to find his feet in La Liga as Xavi’s appointment as a new chief of staff helped him recalibrate his crosshairs and start delivering the goods on a regular basis. 

The best has yet to come from the ambidextrous forward, who could be the leading character of the new Barcelona generation. 

#1 Philippe Coutinho  

The most expensive transfer on this list is arguably the greatest disappointment in the club’s history. Philippe Coutinho went from a Liverpool cult hero into a historic flop at Barcelona. 

Barca fans did not lose a moment of sleep when Aston Villa came knocking on the door for the underperforming playmaker back in January 2022.

Coutinho is plying his trade in the Premier League again, hoping to forget he ever graced La Liga football.