Ranking the 25 Most Expensive Barcelona Transfers

Paul WilkesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2014

Ranking the 25 Most Expensive Barcelona Transfers

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    Barcelona are well-known for promoting youngsters into the first team due to the famed La Masia academy, where a large number of their players were schooled in the art of tiki-taka. Supporters and the club alike are proud of the fact and rightly so, but Barcelona have still spent large amounts of money over the years.

    How you evaluate those who were a success and those who weren't isn't an easy task, but putting them into an order of importance will surely spark debate.

    Using the following parameters, this list has been compiled taking into consideration the players' price tag, age at time of transfer, performances and achievements both individually and as a team.

     

    All transfer fees are taken from transfermarkt.co.uk, which appears to have used an inflation rate in comparison to Wikipedia.

25. Alfonso (27) signed from Real Betis for £14.52m in 2000/01

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    Alfonso's one-in-three average in Andalusia saw him head to the Camp Nou in 2000. The former Real Madrid youngster hit only two goals in his time with the Cules.

    His tenure lasted only two years, with loan spells at Marseille and Real Betis included.

    The striker left for his old side on a free transfer in 2002.

24. Dmytro Chygrynskiy (22) signed from Shakhtar Donetsk for £22m in 2009/10

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    For years, many have cried out for Barcelona to sign an established centre-back, with Thiago Silva and David Luiz among those linked according to Charles Perrin of the Express.

    The most expensive of Barcelona's history might just have scared the club from doing that.

    Dmytro Chygrynskiy made just 14 appearances during his 18 months in Spain and returned to his former side at a loss of £8.8 million.

23. Aleksandr Hleb (27) signed from Arsenal for £14.96m in 2008/09

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    After a fantastic 2007/08 season for Arsenal, the Belarus international seemed like a decent purchase for Barca.

    He spent four years at the club, but most of his playing time was whilst out on loan.

    His five goals when owned by the Catalans all came when out at Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg.

22. Geovanni (21) signed from Cruzeiro Esporte Clube for £18.48m in 2001/02

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    There was competition from Juventus and Arsenal for the signing of yet another Brazilian, and both clubs would be relieved by their lucky escape.

    Geovanni made 21 league appearances in his first season, but most were as a substitute.

    Later, he went on to play for Manchester City and Hull City.

21. Gabriel Milito (26) signed from Real Zaragoza for £17.6m in 2007/08

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    You have to feel sorry for Argentine Gabriel Milito. In four years at Zaragoza, he never played less than 33 league matches in a season, leaving his elder brother Diego at the club to pursue a dream move to Barcelona.

    Unfortunately, knee injuries made his time at Barcelona a painful one, spending 602 days sidelined on one occasion.

    At just 31, he was forced into retirement.

20. Philippe Christanval (22) signed from Monaco for £14.96m in 2001/02

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    Frenchman Philippe Christanval was nurtured in the famed Clairefontaine academy which produced the likes of Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka.

    Perhaps the centre-back suffered from playing too much as a youngster, as he played double the amount of games at Monaco than he did at Barcelona.

19. Martin Caceres (21) signed from Villarreal for £14.52m in 2008/09

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    Barcelona brought in Martin Caceres from the Yellow Submarine even though he hadn't featured in their first team.

    It was the Uruguayan's time at Recreativo that persuaded the club to part with the cash.

    Injuries and the fact he was behind Rafael Marquez, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol in the pecking order denied his progress. Still only 26, he is resurrecting his career with Juventus.

18. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (27) signed from Inter Milan for £61.16m in 2009/10

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    Few could see the rationale behind letting Samuel Eto'o leave and then paying a further £40 million for the Swede.

    Pep Guardiola wanted to use Zlatan Ibrahimovic to hold up the ball and offer a variation in attack before teams began to work them out.

    His one season did provide a goal-every-two-games ratio, but his relationship with the manager and the way he slowed down Barca's build-up play meant the club took a huge loss.

17. Marc Overmars (27) signed from Arsenal for £35.2m in 2000/01

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    This transfer set a number of records for its time, including most expensive player to be sold by a British club and most expensive Dutch player.

    Marc Overmars was brought in to fill the gap left by the departing Luis Figo and scored 19 goals out wide.

    His performances were decent, but he failed to inspire the club to any trophies during his three years.

16. Alex Song (24) signed from Arsenal for £16.72m in 2012/13

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    Many were surprised that Barcelona took Alex Song to Spain just 18 months ago, with the feeling that Sergio Busquets was irremovable and Javier Mascherano was a quality replacement provided the club had cover at centre-back.

    The consensus at Barca was that Song was more versatile than often credited. His use in defence and his outstanding 14 assists in his final season at the Emirates played a huge part in the deal.

15. Sonny Anderson (26) signed from Monaco for £15.84m in 1997/98

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    This much-travelled Brazilian spent two years in Catalonia during the 1990s.

    Sonny Anderson won the double in his opening season, scoring 10 times with competition from Luis Enrique and Patrick Kluivert for a striking position.

    He did, however, fail to live up to the incredible standards he set in France.

14. Javier Saviola (19) signed from River Plate for £31.592m in 2001/02

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    Argentine Javier Saviola had a mixed time at Barcelona, spending several years at the club and ultimately leaving for free.

    His goalscoring record was at a high level for such a young player, but as his best seasons came before he was 22, there was a sense he never reached his full potential.

    The fact he only won the Supercopa in all those years tells its own story.

13. Gerard (21) signed from Valencia for £21.12m in 2000/01

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    The current manager of the Catalonia team spent his youth career at Barca before leaving for Valencia.

    He came back for five seasons to his home, though he was never an undisputed starter.

    He did manage one La Liga championship.

12. Neymar (21) signed from Santos for £50.16m in 2013/14

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    It's hard to judge Barcelona's second-most expensive transfer of all time; after all, Neymar is still very young and in his first six months in Europe.

    He certainly has the ability to join the top three on this list and is adapting well to the demands placed by the style and the club.

11. Alexis Sanchez (22) signed from Udinese for £22.88m in 2011/12

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    A lot has been said about the slow start to life in Spain for Alexis Sanchez, but he did score 15 goals in his first season, albeit seven were in the Copa del Rey.

    This year, though, he has 11 La Liga goals in 14 appearances, as Gerardo Martino is getting the best from the Chilean.

10. David Villa (28) signed from Valencia for £35.2m in 2010/11

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    He was part of the most feared attacking trio in world football and debatably in the greatest team ever.

    Along with Lionel Messi and Pedro, David Villa was scoring for fun in 2010/11.

    A combination of being moved out to the wing and the horrific break of his tibia in a Club World Cup match means he never did hit the heights of his Valencia days.

9. Thierry Henry (29) signed from Arsenal for £21.12m in 2007/08

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    Barca's signing of Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer was a shock to world football, but at 29 and with the previous campaign marred by injuries, the Gunners were willing to let Henry go.

    He struggled at the club on a personal level initially, but ended the season as top scorer.

    In his second year, he was a big part of Barcelona's historic treble.

8. Cesc Fabregas (24) signed from Arsenal for £29.92m in 2011/12

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    The prodigal son returned in the summer of 2011 after a tiresome public pursuit.

    Cesc Fabregas' adaptation back into the tiki-taka style has had its ups and downs, though his scoring record has been far more consistent than at Arsenal.

    The positional freedom granted by Martino is paying dividends this season, whilst Fabregas' flexibility provides the squad options.

7. Deco (26) signed from Porto for £18.48m in 2004/05

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    The Brazilian-born Portuguese international won back-to-back league titles in his first two years at the club.

    Deco had an incredible knack for gathering silverware, adding the 2006 Champions League to the one he collected when at Porto.

    Even his sale to Chelsea was good business at the time.

6. Javier Mascherano (26) signed from Liverpool for £17.6m in 2010/11

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    The Argentine is into his fourth season at Barcelona, having surpassed the number of matches he played at Anfield.

    Mascherano's rebirth as a central defender was both astonishing and effective simultaneously.

    The tenacious tackler has a contract until 2016, though speculation persists about a move to another country.

5. Patrick Kluivert (22) signed from AC Milan for £17.6m in 1998/99

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    The Dutchman had six years at Barca, accumulating 120 goals and scoring over 20 goals a season in four of the campaigns.

    Kluivert formed a successful partnership with Rivaldo but won just the one league title.

    He left as the sixth all-time top scorer for the club in La Liga.

4. Rivaldo (25) signed from Deportivo de La Coruna for £20.68m in 1997/98

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    At 41 years old, Rivaldo is still playing in his third spell at Brazilian Serie C side Mogi Mirim, having appeared for 14 different clubs.

    His spell at Barcelona was his best for a sustained period.

    He won both FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year awards individually and two La Liga titles.

3. Dani Alves (25) signed from Sevilla for £31.24m in 2008/09

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    Few right-backs in the history of football would make the podium when determining a ranking system.

    It was an incredibly high transfer fee for a defender, but regular observers will testify the term "defender" is a little misleading in the case of Dani Alves.

    Two Champions League titles, four La Liga championships and two Copa del Reys, and he is still only 30.

2. Samuel Eto'o (23) signed from RCD Mallorca for £23.76m in 2004/05

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    The Cameroon speed merchant should feel aggrieved that Guardiola felt the need to change the team's attacking characteristics; Eto'o netted 36 goals in his last year.

    His standout moments were his goals in both Champions League finals, but with Guardiola wanting to take the team in a different direction, five years was all Eto'o got in Catalonia.

1. Ronaldinho (23) signed from Paris Saint-Germain for £28.38m in 2003/04

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    There are players on this list who won more trophies and there were players who scored more goals, but none did it in the fashion of Ronaldinho.

    He was without doubt the best player in the world, and had Joan Laporta fulfilled his promise of signing David Beckham, he would have ended up at either Real Madrid or Manchester United.

    It's strange how things work out sometimes.