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How Does The Current Weakness Of The Pound Affect Some Of The Biggest Transfers In Premier League History?

football players transfer fees

The Premier League has always attracted great players from other European leagues since its official formation in 1992, with hefty transfer fees normally attached to them – even if by today’s standards they are made to look diminutive.

Whilst we all know that inflation plays a massive part when analysing the true cost of transfers from the past, how would the ever-fluctuating value of the GBP have affected some of these iconic transfers?

To discover this, I spoke to the experts at online investment platform XTB who decided to take a look at some of the most expensive transfers in Premier League history and analyse the effect that the decreasing value of the pound would have had on these prices if the transfers were to go ahead today.

Due to the nature of the question at hand, only transfers of players being purchased from European leagues in Euros were considered for the analysis, as domestic transfers are not affected by the GBP/EUR rate.

The following table ranks the 10 transfers with the largest price increase when adjusted for inflation and differing GBP/EUR rates:

PlayerFromToYearPrice at the time (€)Price at the time (£)Adjusted Price (£)% Increase
Juan Sebastián VerónLazioManchester United2001€42.6m£26m£56m118.11
Ruud van NistelrooyPSV EindhovenManchester United2001€31m£19m£41m112.74
Ricardo CarvalhoPortoChelsea2004€30.2m£20m£38m87.93
Didier DrogbaMarseilleChelsea2004€36m£24m£45m86.14
Michael EssienLyonChelsea2005€36.6m£25m£45m77.85
Andriy ShevchenkoMilanChelsea2006€43.8m£30m£52m74.08
Kevin De BruyneWolfsburgManchester City2015€75m£55m£77m41.16
RobinhoReal MadridManchester City2008€42.5m£34m£48m38.91
Angel Di MariaReal MadridManchester United2014€74.6m£59m£77m29.51
Paul PogbaJuventusManchester United2016€105m£89m£108m21.11

Due to the strength of the GBP compared to the Euro in the early 2000s, Premier League teams were receiving much better value for their money when shopping in Europe than they do today, with transfers such as Juan Sebastián Veron (118%) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (112.74%) to Manchester United coming in at over double their original price when adjusted for inflation and GBP/EUR rates.

Even during the 2014-2016 period where the GBP/EUR was relatively high when compared to recent years but not as high as the early 2000s, transfers such as Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City (41%) and Angel Di Maria to Manchester United (30%) see noticeable increases in their prices.

When comparing to more recent expensive transfers, Paul Pogba’s 2016 transfer to Manchester United’s adjusted price of £108m only falls short of Romelu Lukaku’s 2021 transfer to Chelsea’s adjusted transfer price of £109m. The following table ranks the most expensive recent transfers when adjusted for both inflation and GBP/EUR rates:

PlayerFromToYearPrice at the time (€)Price at the time (£)Adjusted price (£)% Increase
Romelu Lukaku Inter MilanChelsea2021€115m£98m£109m11.52
Jadon SanchoBorussia DortmundManchester United2021€85m£73m£80m10.57
Kepa ArrizabalagaAthletic Club de BilbaoChelsea2018€80m£72m£79m10.23
Nicolas PepeLilleArsenal2019€79m£72m£77m7.50
AntonyAjaxManchester United2022€95m£83m£83m0.00
Darwin NunezBenficaLiverpool2022€75m£65m£65m0.00

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