A year ago several of the world’s wealthiest and most prestigious clubs exchanged gobs of money in transfer fees as stars darted across the globe to join their new squads. The 2014 summer transfer session was highlighted by Luis Suarez jettisoning to Barcelona for nearly £65 million, while James Rodriguez capitalized on his incredible World Cup run with Colombia to up Real Madrid’s final fee to £58.7 million.
Fast forward to today, with the transfer window a day away from slamming shut, and even some of the more financially stable clubs have decided to scale back on their spending compared to last year.
Indeed, this summer has seen a drop not only in the amount of money spent, but even in star power. Unless the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United pull off much speculated shock moves in the coming hours, high-profile talisman such as Juventus’ Paul Pogba, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, and Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller are staying put.
However, this isn’t to say clubs were completely anemic to fees this summer. Whether it was from sheer negotiating skill or a player’s desire to switch sides, many clubs ironed out mutually beneficial deals that didn’t break the bank. Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea picked up striker Radamel Falcao on loan for about £4 million, a pittance for a player that should be in better form a year after enduring a major knee injury. Atletico Madrid snagged forward Jackson Martinez for about £26 million, and United landed midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger for £14.6 million.
Still, while no one created a new ceiling for the transfer market this summer, there were several major deals on the books.
Here are the five highest transfer fees in 2015 so far. The figures were converted from Euros to British pounds, via Transfermarkt.com.
Kevin De Bruyne, MF, To Manchester City For £55 million
Manuel Pellegrini’s side hoarded its considerable cash for a major signing with a day to spare. The fee for De Bruyne sets a new City transfer record and is the highest paid for any player this summer. If not for Manchester United’s £59.7 million move for Angel di Maria last summer, the monstrous fee paid to Wolfsburg would be the highest ever for any British club, according to BBC Sport. City led all other clubs in spending this summer.
Angel Di Maria, MF, To Paris Saint-Germain For £46.4 million
In less than a year, the Argentine has moved twice, first to United from Real Madrid for £59.7 million (the third-highest deal of 2014), and after a very disappointing run he’s joined the reigning Ligue 1 titans for a fee that’s topped all but one this summer. The 27-year-old wilted after only a handful of matches at Old Trafford, but PSG present Di Maria the chance to rediscover the form that made him a star at the Bernabeu and perhaps one day assume Thiago Motta’s role.
Raheem Sterling, F, To Manchester City For £46 million
Perhaps the most dramatic (and drawn out) deal of the summer, Sterling’s move from Liverpool to the Ethiad made him the most expensive Englishman ever. For deep-pocketed City, the fee is not outrageous, but the club has probably never made as big a gamble on one player.
Christian Benteke, F, To Liverpool For £34.2 million
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers quickly rolled his Sterling funds into a replacement by landing the Belgian Benteke, who almost single-handedly kept former club Aston Villa away from relegation in the second-half of last term. The 24-year-old, now in his fourth season in England, has already scored one goal in four appearances and Liverpool may have found a bargain once Daniel Sturridge returns from injury.
Nicolas Otamendi, D, To Manchester City For £32.8 million
Looking to regain the Premier League title, City stuck to its free-spending ways to land the former Valencia defender and keep up with the league’s defensive mainstays like Chelsea, Arsenal, and Southampton. The 27-year-old Chilean was named to La Liga’s team of the season and helped his country reach the Copa America final this summer.