With transfer market expenditure constantly rising over time, soccer teams spending hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain a squad that can properly compete in its respective league is now the norm, not the exception. Financially strong squads shell out previously unthinkable amounts of money to chase sporting excellence, recruiting the world’s most sought after stars in a never-ending game of cat and mouse with rival clubs. 

Recently, we analyzed the top 25 most expensive transfers in history, with 20 signings on the list boasting a price tag of over $100 million. The trend is clear: teams are spending more money than ever to strengthen their squads -even through the COVID-19 pandemic- and will likely continue to do so unless something drastic takes place. UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) is in place, but rules have been changed to allow clubs to inject more money than normal to reduce the negative financial impact of the pandemic, and will be reviewed to “encourage and release investments”, according to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. 

Before FFP is amended in what reports state could include a salary cap and a “luxury tax” on transfers, the current landscape includes six clubs valued at over a billion dollars and another 14 worth at least $500 million, using numbers published by Transfermarkt. Said figures consider only player market value, which is determined by taking factors such as age, on-field performance, reputation and potential into account. Before things do change, take a look at the 25 most valuable soccer clubs in the world and how they made it onto the list. 

As Pep Guardiola and Manchester City can attest to, having one of the world's most valuable squads doesn't always translate to winning the most sought after trophies (Getty Images).

25: Real Sociedad (LaLiga). Player market value: $443.3 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad

  1. Mikel Oyarzabal: Spanish, 24 years old, left winger, $82.65 million.
  2. Mikel Merino: Spanish, 25 years old, central midfielder, $47.2 million. 
  3. Alexander Isak: Swedish, 21 years old, striker, $47.2 million. 
  4. Robin Le Normand: French, 24 years old, center-back, $26 million
  5. Portu: Spanish, 29 years old, right winger, $23.6 million. 
Mikel Oyarzabal of Real Sociedad celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the LaLiga Santander match between Cadiz CF and Real Sociedad (Getty Images).

24: Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League). Player market value: $461.7 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad: 

  1. Rubén Neves: Portuguese, 24 years old, central midfielder, $53.1 million. 
  2. Pedro Neto: Portuguese, 21 years old, left winger, $41.3 million. 
  3. Leander Dendoncker: Belgian, 26 years old, center-back / defensive midfield, $35.4 million. 
  4. Adama Traoré: Spanish, 25 years old, right winger / right-back, $35.4 million. 
  5. Raúl Jiménez: Mexican, 30 years old, striker, $33 million. 
Raúl Jiménez is no longer Wolves’ most valuable player, but has been fortunately able to recover from a horrific injury suffered in a clash against Arsenal in November 2020 (Getty Images).

23: Aston Villa (Premier League). Player market value: $482 million

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad: 

  1. Emiliano Martínez: Argentine, 29 years old, goalkeeper, $41.3 million. 
  2. Emiliano Buendía: Argentine, 24 years old, right midfielder, $41.3 million. 
  3. Leon Bailey: Jamaican, 24 years old, right winger, $41.3 million. 
  4. Douglas Luiz: Brazilian, 23 years old, defensive midfielder, $41.3 million. 
  5. Ollie Watkins: English, 25 years old, forward, $37.8 million.
Emiliano Martínez of Aston Villa looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Brentford at Villa Park (Getty Images).

22: Atalanta (Serie A). Player market value: $490.3 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad: 

  1. Robin Gosens: German, 27 years old, left-back, $41.3 million. 
  2. Duván Zapata: Colombian, 30 years old, striker, $39 million. 
  3. Luis Muriel: Colombian, 30 years old, striker, $35.4 million. 
  4. Ruslan Malinovskyi: Ukrainian, 28 years old, attacking midfielder, $35.4 million. 
  5. Merih Demiral: Turkish, 23 years old, center-back, $33 million. 
Ruslan Malinovskiy of Atalanta BC (l) celebrates with Duván Zapata after scoring the first Atalanta goal during the Serie A match against Parma (Getty Images).

21: AS Roma (Serie A). Player market value: $494 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Lorenzo Pellegrini: Italian, 25 years old, central midfielder, $47.2 million. 
  2. Nicolò Zaniolo: Italian, 22 years old, right midfielder / right winger, $47.2 million. 
  3. Tammy Abraham: English, 23 years old, striker, $44.9 million. 
  4. Jordan Veretout: French, 28 years old, central midfielder, $39 million. 
  5. Gianluca Mancini: Italian, 25 years old, center-back, $35.4 million. 
With José Mourinho back in Italian football, AS Roma will look to once again be contenders for the Serie A title (Getty Images).

20: Sevilla (LaLiga). Player market value: $509 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Jules Koundé: French, 22 years old, center-back, $71 million. 
  2. Diego Carlos: Brazilian, 28 years old, center-back, $53.1 million. 
  3. Lucas Ocampos: Argentine, 27 years old, left winger / striker, $47.2 million.
  4. Youssef En-Nesyri: Moroccan, 24 years old, striker, $47.2 million. 
  5. Joan Jordán: Spanish, 27 years old, central midfielder, $35.4 million. 
Jules Koundé was close to joining Chelsea during the latest transfer window but will remain at Sevilla for at least the first part of the 2021/22 season (Getty Images).

19: Everton (Premier League). Player market value: $545.1 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Richarlison: Brazilian, 24 years old, striker, $65 million. 
  2. Dominic Calvert-Lewin: English, 24 years old, striker, $53.1 million. 
  3. Lucas Digne: French, 28 years old, left-back, $41.3 million. 
  4. James Rodríguez: Colombian, 30 years old, attacking midfielder, $33 million. 
  5. Michael Keane: English, 28 years old, center-back, $29.5 million. 
James Rodríguez of Everton reacts after a near miss during the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in 2021 (Getty Images).

18: AC Milan (Serie A). Player market value: $551.2 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Franck Kessié: Ivorian, 24 years old, central midfielder, $65 million. 
  2. Theo Hernández: French, 23 years old, left-back, $59 million. 
  3. Ismaël Bennacer: Algerian, 23 years old, defensive midfielder, $49 million. 
  4. Ante Rebić: Croatian, 27 years old, left winger, $38 million. 
  5. Fikayo Tomori: English, 23 years old, center-back, $33 million. 
Theo Hernández of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan (Getty Images).

17: RB Leipzig (Bundesliga). Player market value: $597 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Dani Olmo: Spanish, 23 years old, attacking midfielder, $59 million. 
  2. André Silva: Portuguese, 25 years old, striker, $53.1 million. 
  3. Christopher Nkunku: French, 23 years old, attacking midfielder, $50.7 million. 
  4. Angeliño: Spanish, 24 years old, left-back, $41.3 million. 
  5. Lukas Klostermann: German, 25 years old, center-back, $31.9 million. 
After Marcel Sabitzer and Yussuf Poulsen's departures from RB Leipzig, Dani Olmo holds the responsibility to lead the German club forward (Getty Images).

16: Napoli (Serie A). Player market value: $611.3 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Piotr Zieliński: Polish, 27 years old, attacking midfielder, $59 million. 
  2. Victor Osimhen: Nigerian, 22 years old, striker, $59 million. 
  3. Kalidou Koulibaly: Senegalese, 30 years old, center-back, $56.7 million. 
  4. Lorenzo Insigne: Italian, 30 years old, left winger, $56.7 million. 
  5. Hirving Lozano: Mexican, 26 years old, right winger, $53.1 million. 
After a stellar second season at Napoli, Hirving Lozano looks to get back to leading the 'Partenopei' front line alongside Lorenzo Insigne and Victor Osimhen (Getty Images).

15: Arsenal (Premier League). Player market value: $647.6 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Bukayo Saka: English, 20 years old, left winger, $76.7 million. 
  2. Thomas Partey: Ghanaian, 28 years old, defensive midfielder, $47.23 million. 
  3. Martin Odegaard: Norwegian, 22 years old, attacking midfielder, $47.23 million. 
  4. Nicolás Pépé: Ivorian, 26 years old, right winger, $41.3 million. 
  5. Kieran Tierney: Scottish, 24 years old, left-back, $37.8 million.
After a heartbreaking end to Euro 2020, Bukayo Saka returns to Arsenal as its most expensive player and one with serious expectations on his shoulders (Getty Images).

14: Leicester City (Premier League). Player market value: $650 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Wilfred Ndidi: Nigerian, 24 years old, defensive midfielder, $70.8 million. 
  2. Youri Tielemans: Belgian, 24 years old, central midfielder, $65 million. 
  3. James Maddison: English, 24 years old, attacking midfielder, $65 million. 
  4. Çağlar Söyüncü: Turkish, 25 years old, center-back, $53.1 million. 
  5. Wesley Fofana: French, 20 years old, center-back, $47.2 million. 
After winning the FA Cup in May 2020, Leicester City face the new Premier League season with the harsh task of finishing in the top four spots (Getty Images).

13: Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga). Player market value: $668 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Erling Haaland: Norwegian, 21 years old, striker, $154 million. 
  2. Jude Bellingham: English, 18 years old, central midfielder, $65 million. 
  3. Raphael Guerreiro: Portuguese, 27 years old, left-back, $47.2 million. 
  4. Giovanni Reyna: American, 18 years old, attacking midfielder, $44.9 million
  5. Manuel Akanji: Swiss, 26 years old, center-back, $35.4 million. 
In spite of being connected to the world's biggest clubs, Erling Haaland remains at Borussia Dortmund, where he will look to continue his impressive scoring record (Getty Images).

12: Inter Milan (Serie A). Player market value: $677 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Lautaro Martínez: Argentine, 24 years old, striker, $94.5 million. 
  2. Nicolò Barella: Italian, 24 years old, central midfielder, $76.7 million. 
  3. Milan Skriniar: Slovak, 26 years old, center-back, $71 million. 
  4. Alessandro Bastoni: Italian, 22 years old, center-back, $71 million. 
  5. Stefan de Vrij: Dutch, 29 years old, center-back, $59 million. 
Fresh off the 2020/21 Serie A title, Inter Milan have lost key members of the squad but still boast some of the world's priciest players (Getty Images).

11: Juventus (Serie A). Player market value: $756.1 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Matthijs de Ligt: Dutch, 22 years old, center-back, $88.5 million. 
  2. Federico Chiesa: Italian, 23 years old, right winger, $82.65 million. 
  3. Paulo Dybala: Argentine, 27 years old, center forward, $59 million. 
  4. Álvaro Morata: Spanish, 28 years old, striker, $53 million. 
  5. Arthur Melo: Brazilian, 25 years old, central midfielder, $47.2 million. 
With Cristiano Ronaldo gone, Paulo Dybala has been named captain by manager Massimiliano Allegri, who has spoken highly of the number 10 (Getty Images).

10: FC Barcelona (LaLiga). Player market value: $798.1 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Frenkie de Jong: Dutch, 24 years old, central midfielder, $106.2 million. 
  2. Pedri: Spanish, 18 years old, central midfielder, $94.5 million. 
  3. Marc-André ter Stegen: German, 29 years old, goalkeeper, $71 million. 
  4. Ansu Fati: Spanish, 18 years old, left winger, $71 million. 
  5. Ousmane Dembélé: French, 24 years old, right winger, $59 million. 
Ansu Fati's injury misery is nearly over, and after inheriting Lionel Messi's number 10, will look to prove his immense talent in spite of being only 18 years old (Getty Images).

9: Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League). Player market value: $823 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Harry Kane: English, 28 years old, striker, $141.7 million. 
  2. Heung-min Son: South Korean, 29 years old, left winger, $100.3 million. 
  3. Tanguy Ndombélé: French, 24 years old, central midfielder, $59 million. 
  4. Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg: Danish, 26 years old, central midfielder, $47.2 million. 
  5. Cristian Romero: Argentine, 23 years old, center-back, $41.3 million. 
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Conference League Play-Offs Leg Two match between the 'Lilywhites' and Pacos de Ferreira (Getty Images).

8: Atlético de Madrid (LaLiga). Player market value: $891.6 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Marcos Llorente: Spanish, 26 years old, central midfielder / right-back, $94.5 million. 
  2. João Félix: Portuguese, 21 years old, attacking midfielder, $94.5 million. 
  3. Jan Oblak: Slovenian, 28 years old, goalkeeper, $82.7 million. 
  4. Koke: Spanish, 29 years old, central midfielder, $71 million. 
  5. Antoine Griezmann: French, 30 years old, striker, $71 million. 
Atlético de Madrid pulled off a masterful swoop for Antoine Griezmann, who left Barcelona to rejoin the LaLiga champions once again (Getty Images).

7: Real Madrid (LaLiga). Player market value: $925 million. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Casemiro: Brazilian, 29 years old, defensive midfielder, $82.7 million. 
  2. Federico Valverde: Uruguayan, 23 years old, central midfielder, $76.8 million. 
  3. Thibaut Courtois: Belgian, 29 years old, goalkeeper, $71 million. 
  4. David Alaba: Austrian, 29 years old, center-back / left-back, $65 million. 
  5. Eduardo Camavinga: French, 18 years old, central midfielder, $65 million. 
    Although Real Madrid couldn't secure Kylian Mbappé's signature just yet, they did bring on Eduardo Camavinga, who scored on his LaLiga debut against Celta de Vigo (Getty Images).

6: Bayern Munich (Bundesliga). Player market value: $1.006 billion. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Joshua Kimmich: German, 26 years old, defensive midfielder / right-back, $106.2 million. 
  2. Leon Goretzka: German, 26 years old, central midfielder, $82.7 million. 
  3. Serge Gnabry: German, 26 years old, right winger, $82.7 million. 
  4. Alphonso Davies: Canadian, 20 years old, left-back, $82.7 million. 
  5. Kingsley Coman: French, 25 years old, left winger, $76.8 million. 
Joshua Kimmich controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern München and Hertha BSC (Getty Images).

5: Liverpool FC (Premier League). Player market value: $1.03 billion. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Mohamed Salah: Egyptian, 29 years old, right winger, $118 million. 
  2. Sadio Mané: Senegalese, 29 years old, left winger, $100.3 million. 
  3. Trent Alexander-Arnold: English, 22 years old, right-back, $88.5 million. 
  4. Andrew Robertson: Scottish, 27 years old, left-back, $76.8 million. 
  5. Alisson: Brazilian, 28 years old, goalkeeper, $71 million. 
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield on August 21, 2021 (Getty Images).

4: Chelsea FC (Premier League). Player market value: $1.04 billion. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Romelu Lukaku: Belgian, 28 years old, striker, $118 million. 
  2. Mason Mount: English, 22 years old, attacking midfielder, $88.6 million. 
  3. Kai Havertz: German, 22 years old, attacking midfielder, $82.7 million. 
  4. Timo Werner: German, 25 years old, striker, $76.8 million. 
  5. N’Golo Kanté: French, 30 years old, defensive midfielder, $65 million. 
Romelu Lukaku (Getty).

3: Manchester United (Premier League). Player market value: $1.1 billion. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Jadon Sancho: English, 21 years old, right winger / attacking midfielder, $118 million. 
  2. Bruno Fernandes: Portuguese, 27 years old, attacking midfielder, $106.2 million. 
  3. Marcus Rashford: English, 23 years old, striker, $100.4 million. 
  4. Raphaël Varane: French, 28 years old, center-back, $82.7 million. 
  5. Paul Pogba: French, 28 years old, central midfielder, $71 million.
Jadon Sancho (Getty).

2: Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1). Player market value: $1.178 billion. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Kylian Mbappé: French, 22 years old, striker, $189 million. 
  2. Neymar Jr.: Brazilian, 29 years old, attacking midfielder / left winger, $118 million. 
  3. Lionel Messi: Argentine: 34 years old, attacking midfielder / right winger, $94.5 million. 
  4. Marquinhos: Brazilian, 27 years old, center-back, $88.6 million. 
  5. Gianluigi Donnarumma: Italian, 22 years old, goalkeeper, $76.8 million. 
Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain acknowledges the fans as he is introduced to the fans prior to the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint Germain and Strasbourg (Getty Images).

1: Manchester City (Premier League). Player market value: $1.185 billion. 

Top 5 most expensive players in the squad:

  1. Kevin De Bruyne: Belgian, 30 years old, attacking midfielder / central midfielder, $118 million. 
  2. Raheem Sterling: English, 26 years old, left winger, $106.2 million. 
  3. Phil Foden: English, 21 years old, left winger / attacking midfielder, $94.5 million. 
  4. Rúben Dias: Portuguese, 24 years old, center-back, $88.6 million. 
  5. Bernardo Silva: Portuguese, 27 years old, right winger, $82.7 million. 
    Jack Grealish of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on August 28, 2021 in Manchester (Getty Images).