Lately we have seen more and more teams showing a lot of initiative and ambition in the transfer market.
Prices were inflated for a time and teams had to pay huge sums for the players they wanted to sign.
A player’s valuation in the transfer market depends on a number of factors. His form, the number of years remaining on his contract with his current club and his age are all factors that dictate how much a club can demand for a player.
In general, players over 30 are not very expensive. But lately we have seen many players continue to perform at the highest level despite moving into their thirties.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five most expensive transfers in history for players over 30.
#5 Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus to AC Milan (2017-18) – €42m
Leonardo Bonucci played for a number of Italian clubs during his domestic career. He is one of the best centre-backs of the modern era and has won nine Serie A titles to date. After spells at Inter Milan, Treviso, Pisa and Bari, Bonucci joined Juventus in 2010.
He had a hugely successful spell in Turin, winning six consecutive Serie A titles between 2012 and 2017. But in the summer of 2017, 30-year-old Bonucci joined AC Milan for a transfer fee of 42 million euros. He thus became the most expensive signing of all time for the Rossoneri.
However, Bonucci returned to Juventus the following year in a swap deal for Mattia Caldara.
#4 Paulinho – Barcelona to Guangzhou Evergrande (2018-19) – €42m
FC Barcelona have signed midfielder Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande for a transfer fee of 40 million euros. This transfer raised many questions because Paulinho did not exactly have the midfielder profile that we are used to associating with FC Barcelona.
But Paulinho has impressed with his consistency during his short spell at Barcelona. He’s bagged nine goals and three assists in 49 appearances in all competitions for the Catalans. The Brazil international was praised for his key role in Barcelona’s domestic double that season.
However, Paulinho returned to Guangzhou Evergrande in the summer of 2018-19 on a loan with an option to buy. On January 4, 2019, the Chinese club exercised the option to make the loan permanent and signed Paulinho for €42m. He was then 30 years old.
#3 Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich to Barcelona (2022-23) – €45m
Robert Lewandowski has been Europe’s most prolific goalscorer for a few seasons now. The Poland international clinched his second successive European Golden Boot last season, scoring 35 Bundesliga goals.
Lewandowski finished the 2021-22 season with 50 goals and seven assists in 46 appearances in all competitions for Bayern Munich. Subsequently, the 33-year-old has made no secret of his intention to leave the Bavarians this summer and has been heavily linked with FC Barcelona.
The Catalans ended up signing him for €45m.
#2 Miralem Pjanic – Juventus to Barcelona (2020-21) – €60m
In the summer of 2020, Barcelona completed a swap deal for then 30-year-old Miralem Pjanic and Arthur Melo joined Juventus the other way around. The two deals were treated as separate deals and the quoted transfer fee for the Bosnia international was €60m.
Pjanic failed to impress then-Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman and started just six La Liga games in the 2020-21 season. He was then loaned out to Besiktas for the 2021-22 campaign.
Pjanic is now back at Barcelona but it remains to be seen whether or not he will stay at the club beyond the summer.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid to Juventus (2018-19) – €117m
Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Real Madrid between 2009 and 2018. He won five Champions Leagues and two Ligas with Los Blancos before joining Juventus.
He scored 444 goals and provided 127 assists in 434 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid. These numbers are nothing short of phenomenal and only a team ready to go broke could sign Ronaldo, who won five Ballons d’Or in the summer of 2018.
Juventus paid a sum of €117m to sign the legendary Portuguese striker during that summer’s transfer window. He was 33 at the time.