Football is an extremely popular, profitable and expensive sport. With rich businessmen in the world now buying into different clubs to serve as their plaything, as well as their pride and joy, the pressure for managers to succeed has never been greater. In the drive to immediately come up with silverware, managers have been pushing and owners have been obliging the purchase of potentially great players at astronomical prices.
A lack of immediate success is frowned upon. Arsenal plays some of the most attractive football in England, but its manager Arsene Wenger was booed by the fans when the team lost during the first day of the season. Anzhi Makhachkala, a team in the Russian Premier League, had a fire sale of its expensive players just two years after buying them simply because they have failed to lift the league title. Roman Abramovich of Chelsea has famously hired and fired managers nine times since 2004.
Given the price tag of the players, anything other than an immediate impact is considered a failure. Here is a list of the top 10 most expensive summer 2013 transfers in soccer.
10. Gonzalo Higuain, Napoli – $50 million
Gonzalo Higuain is a striker from Argentina, though he was born in France. Known as Pipa, he is known for his tremendous speed on the last third of the pitch. He started out his career in Argentine club giant River Plate before transferring to Real Madrid in 2006. He started slowly, but became the team’s top scorer in 2010. He moved to the Italian side of Napoli this summer.
9. Mario Gotze, Bayern Munich – $50 million
Mario Gotze is an attacking midfielder from Germany. At only 21 years old, he is already considered as one of the best talents that the country has ever produced. He started out with Borussia Dortmund in 2009 and played a prominent role in the team’s consecutive league crowns in 2011 and 2012. He transferred to Bayern Munich this summer.
8. Willian, Chelsea – $51.3 million
Willian is an attacking midfielder from Brazil. His full name is Willian Borges da Silva. He started out his career in the Brazilian club Corinthians before moving to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007 in Ukraine. During the January transfer window this year, he moved to the Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for $47.2 million. He then moved to Chelsea this summer.
7. Fernandinho, Manchester City – $54 million
Fernandinho is a defensive midfielder from Brazil. His box-to-box style of play and quick pace make him a huge contributor in both defense and attack. He started out playing for Clube Atletico Paranaense in Brazil before transferring to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2005. He moved to Manchester City this summer.
6. James Rodriguez, Monaco – $60.7 million
James Rodriguez is an attacking midfielder from Colombia. He also has the ability to play in the wings. He is only 22 years old and is considered as one of the best young talents in the world. He started out playing for Club Atletico Banfield in Argentina. He then moved to Porto in 2010. In 2012, he won the Golden Ball Award in Portugal, making him the youngest player to win the honor. He moved to Monaco this summer.
5. Mesut Ozil, Arsenal – $67.88 million
Mesut Ozil is an attacking midfielder from Germany. He started out with Schalke in 2006, before moving to Werder Bremen in 2008. He grabbed attention during the 2010 World Cup and was even nominated for the Golden Ball Award. He then moved to Real Madrid that same year. He has consistently been one of the top assist providers in the game. He moved to Arsenal, where he became the most expensive German player of all time.
4. Neymar, Barcelona – $76.9 million
Neymar is a forward from Brazil. Blessed with acceleration, speed, dribbling skills and finishing prowess, he was the South American Footballer of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He started out with Santos, where he was introduced as a senior player in 2009. He was the object of several transfer offers from all the giant European clubs as early as 2011, but he stayed in Brazil for two more years. This summer, he finally made his move to Europe, signing for Spanish giant Barcelona.
3. Radamel Falcao, Monaco – $81 million
Radamel Falcao is a striker from Colombia. He is also known as Falcao Garcia in South America. A lot of experts consider him as one of the deadliest strikers in the world. He started out in the Argentine league where he played for River Plate. He moved to Porto in Portugal in 2009, leading the team to the Europa league crown, as well as an undefeated season in the domestic league. In 2011, he moved to Atletico Madrid in Spain, helping the team win the 2012 UEFA Super Cup and the 2013 Copa del Rey. The latter win was over Real Madrid, thus breaking Real’s 14-year unbeaten streak over Atletico. He moved to Monaco this summer.
2. Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint Germain – $85 million
Edinson Cavani is a forward from Uruguay. He is known for his all-action style and tireless work rate. He started out his career in the local Uruguayan league playing for Danubio. In 2007, he moved to Italy where he played for Palermo. He transferred to Napoli in 2010. He won the Coppa Italia in 2012 and was the Serie A scoring leader in 2013. He transferred to Paris Saint Germain this summer.
1. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid – $135 million
Gareth Bale is a winger from Wales. He started out in Southampton, but he really blossomed in Tottenham Hotspurs where he transferred in 2007. In 2013, he won several awards, including the PFA Young Player of the Year, the PFA Player’s Player of the Year, and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards. This summer, he moved to Real Madrid for a world record $135 million, breaking the old record held by Cristiano Ronaldo when the latter moved to Real from Manchester United in 2009 for $125 million.
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