It’s often said a top-class goalkeeper can save their club more than 10 league points over the course of a season with a handful of match-defining punches, blocks, interceptions and catches. To cite an example of such heroics, David de Gea is estimated to have helped Manchester United end the 2014-15 Premier League campaign 18 points better off than it would’ve without his contribution.
The Spanish stopper produced dozens of miraculous saves to keep out spot kicks and injury time winners and equalisers last season, not to mention would-be goals earlier in matches that might’ve put Louis van Gaal’s men on the back foot. Simply put, United could’ve missed out on European football if not for having De Gea in goal.
But even with this in mind, the limelight so often shuns goalkeepers in favour of the more glamorous roles performed by strikers, creative midfielders, electrifying wingers and team captains. Media and fan attention isn’t the only part of football in which goalmouth custodians trail outfield players; the fees paid to secure the services of a goalkeeper are vastly lower than that of their forward, defensive, and midfield counterparts.
With the football world throwing astronomical money at whoever is supposedly deemed the wonderkid of the month, the keeper, who bears the tremendous responsibility of providing the last line of defence, is very rarely the most expensive member of a squad.
No goalkeeper has ever held the transfer fee world record and history suggests one probably never will. However, clubs have been willingly to part with sizeable amounts of cash in order to land a reliable guardian between the sticks and hopefully rescue a smattering of league points throughout the season.
Here are the top 15 highest goalkeeper transfer fees of all-time.
*All transfer fees are sourced from transfermarkt.co.uk.
15 T14. Claudio Bravo to Barcelona – £8.4m
14 T14. Samir Handanovic to Inter Milan – £8.4m
13 Fraser Forster to Southampton – £8.75m
12 Hugo Lloris to Tottenham – £8.82m
11 Petr Cech to Chelsea – £9.1m
10 T9. Sebastien Frey to Inter Milan – £9.8m
9 T9. Petr Cech to Arsenal – £9.8m
8 Jan Oblak to Atletico Madrid – £11.2m
7 Angelo Peruzzi to Lazio — £12.53m
6 Angelo Peruzzi to Inter Milan – £13.3m
5 David de Gea to Manchester United – £14m
4 Sebastien Frey to Parma – £14.7m
3 Francesco Toldo to Inter Milan – £18.55m
2 Manuel Neuer to Bayern Munich – £21m
1 Gianluigi Buffon to Juventus – £37.02m
Considering Gianluigi Buffon is still top-class in the twilight of his career at 37-years-old, the £37.02m fee Juventus paid Parma to secure his services in July 2001 seems close to just compensation. Although it’s a world-record, the fee equates to roughly £2.5m per season to field arguably the best keeper of his generation for over 15 years. His contract is set to expire in June 2017, meaning chances are Buffon will add to his six Serie A titles and perhaps even lift the elusive Champions League trophy with the Old Lady reemerging as a European heavyweight in recent seasons.
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