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Ligue 1’s 10 Most Expensive Signings Of All Time

Though not known as the most lucrative league in the world, Ligue 1 has slowly been building its way to the top.

Unlike the Premier League, for example, French clubs do not have tonnes of spending power, well not all of them, at least.

Attracting senior stars has not always been Ligue 1’s strong suit, but Paris Saint-Germain’s extravagant spending has bucked that trend over the years.

Financed by the insanely wealthy and ambitious Qatari owners, Les Parisiens have grown into a force to be reckoned with both on and off the pitch.

Then it’s no wonder that the vast majority of Ligue 1’s most noticeable pieces of business belong to PSG.

Below is the list of the ten most expensive signings in Ligue 1’s history.

  1. Neymar (Barcelona to PSG, 2017) – €222m
  2. Kylian Mbappe (Monaco to PSG, 2018) – €180m
  3. Achraf Hakimi (Inter Milan to PSG, 2021) – €66.5m
  4. Edinson Cavani (Napoli to PSG, 2013) – €64.5m
  5. Angel Di Maria (Manchester United to PSG, 2015) – €63m
  6. Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan to PSG, 2020) – €50m
  7. David Luiz (Chelsea to PSG, 2014) – €49.5m
  8. James Rodriguez (Porto to Monaco, 2013) – €45m
  9. Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid to Monaco) – €43m
  10. Thiago Silva (AC Milan to PSG, 2012) – €42m

Now, let’s see how Ligue 1’s ten most expensive signings ever panned out.

#10 Thiago Silva 

Widely regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, Thiago Silva wrote his name in the Parc des Princes folklore during his trophy-laden eight-year stint in Paris.

Arguably one of the best pieces of business in Paris’ modern history saw Les Parisiens rob AC Milan of the Brazilian veteran in 2012 and turn him into their defensive mainstay for almost a decade. 

Not many better centre-backs plied their trade in Ligue 1. 

#9 Radamel Falcao

Another household name that decided to tarnish their football legacy in more appealing leagues to take a shot in Ligue 1, but for Radamel Falcao, it proved a wise choice. 

After helping Atletico Madrid to Europa League and UEFA Super Cup successes in 2012, the Colombian striker departed La Liga to team up with Monaco the following summer.

Despite an injury-riddled six-year career at the Stade Louis II, Falcao showed no task is too tall if it only involves scoring goals, tearing Ligue 1 defences apart almost at will. 

#8 James Rodriguez

It looked like the sky was the limit for James Rodriguez following his jaw-dropping showings at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but his career has been on a downward spiral since. 

However, Monaco had been fortunate enough to have the illustrious playmaker in their ranks at his peak powers as they made a substantial profit from his sale to Real Madrid in 2014.

Only one season in Ligue 1 proved sufficient to put Rodriguez on the map and earn him high acclaim from Europe’s most prominent clubs. 

#7 David Luiz

Unlike his abovementioned compatriot Silva, David Luiz and PSG would like to forget they have ever met as soon as possible. 

No doubt the Brazilian veteran can be a Virgil van Dijk-type of defender on his day, yet noticeable performances were few and far between during his brief spell in Paris. 

In 2016, only two years after pouring €49.5m into Chelsea’s coffers, the joint-record French champions shipped Luiz back to Stamford Bridge on a cut-price deal.

#6 Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi’s scoring prowess has never been a subject of discussion. But his off-field shenanigans and unpreparedness to sacrifice for the greater good have often overshadowed his on-field brilliance. 

It is hard to argue PSG’s decision to send €50m Inter Milan’s way to turn the Argentine goal-getter’s loan deal permanent in 2020, considering he was relentless in front of goal. 

Only two years on, Icardi has become a marginal figure in Paris, with the club struggling to offload his substantial wagers due to a lack of suitors.

#5 Angel Di Maria

A true magician in every sense of the word, Angel Di Maria has earned a reputation as an ‘assist specialist’ throughout his illustrious career in Europe’s elite leagues. 

While many questioned the Argentine winger’s ability to perform at the highest level following his underwhelming stint at Manchester United, PSG seemed to have no doubt about his class.

Di Maria repaid the club by becoming Paris’ best-ever playmaker, having racked up 93 goals and 119 assists in 295 appearances before joining Juventus in 2022. 

#4 Edinson Cavani

One of those who repaid every penny, Edinson Cavani will always be so synonymous with the Eiffel Tower for his astonishing achievements with Les Parisiens. 

In seven years at the Parc des Princes, the Uruguyan goalscoring machine tallied more overall goals (200) and more Ligue 1 goals (138) than any other player in Paris’ history. 

To say Cavani lived up to expectations in the French top-flight would be an understatement, given that he played a key role in establishing PSG as the new domestic supreme power. 

#3 Achraf Hakimi

Paris fans are still waiting to see the best of Achraf Hakimi, who enjoyed a rise to prominence during his prolific spells at Borussia Dortmund and Inter before moving to Ligue 1 in 2021.

Considered one of the best attacking-minded right-backs on the planet, Hakimi boasts the speed, technique and scoring proficiency off the charts for a player of his position. 

Maybe new PSG boss Christophe Galtier could get the best out of the Moroccan star after his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino asked him to do too much defensive work. 

#2 Kylian Mbappe

A definition of a top-class purchase and a world-class player, Kylian Mbappe is the one for the present and future, but above all, 

At 23, the Frenchman is already an established superstar, with his speed, acceleration, dazzling feet and prolificacy turning him into a genuine Ballon d’Or candidate. 

It is enough to say that French president Emmanuel Macron personally intervened to convince Mbappe to dismiss a lucrative offer from Real Madrid to understand how much they value him in his homeland. 

#1 Neymar  

Neymar has always been a polarising figure depending on which side of the spectrum of like him you stand on, but there is no chance you can question his talent and skills. 

Perhaps the most controversial player on this list, the Brazilian forward has often let his extracurricular activities and exuberant nature mess up his otherwise astounding footballing career. 

In modern football, where virtuosity has taken a back seat at the expense of physical strength and athleticism, watching Neymar dribble past the entire backline on his own reminisces the world of what football is really about.