Most Expensive Playing XI of Summer Transfer Window 2023 ft. Neymar, Kane, Caicedo, and Rice
The summer window of 2023 saw plenty of dramatic transfer sagas unfold and at the end of it, many big-name players have jumped ship. From Neymar’s big-money move to Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal to Harry Kane’s move to Bayern Munich, there were plenty of transfers that caught the eyes of fans.
Chelsea continued their free-flowing spending, Manchester City continued their smart recruitment while Paris Saint-Germain were able to keep hold of Kylian Mbappe and add more stars to their lineup. Even Saudi clubs gave the European elite a run for their money.
With so many blockbuster deals completed in the past couple of months, here’s a look at the most expensive playing XI of the players signed during the summer window.
Goalkeeper: Andre Onana
Manchester United were expected to renew David de Gea’s deal, however, the Red Devils did a bizarre U-turn and let the Spaniard depart, before signing a replacement for the custodian in Andre Onana.
The Premier League giants thus shelled out an initial fee of €51m, plus €4m in add-ons to sign the goalkeeper from Inter Milan.
Onana has reached the UEFA Champions League semi-final with Ajax under Erik ten Hag and since joining the Old Trafford outfit, he has dished out some mixed performances, already being questioned by fans. However, the Cameroonian could prove to be a shrewd signing on a long-term basis.
Defense: Pedro Porro, Josko Gvardiol, Kim Min-jae, Lucas Hernandez
Pedro Porro has set the stage on fire since joining Tottenham on an initial loan deal worth €5m which was later made permanent for a figure of €45m.
The 23-year-old arrived in North London from Sporting Lisbon on the deadline day of the January transfer window with an obligation to buy. Since then, the right-back has played 19 times for Spurs across all competitions, scoring thrice and also setting up a further three assists.
The next name on the list is Josko Gvardiol, who cost Manchester City €90m. Even though they won the treble last year, the Sky Blues decided to bolster their defensive ranks by splashing big money on the most promising young centre-back in the world.
Gvardiol had long been linked to City, with Pep Guardiola known to be a big fan of the Croatian. Gvardiol had his heart set on a move to City, and the Premier League side reportedly signed the 21-year-old for a fee that’s slightly less than the player’s release clause.
Having won the Scudetto with Napoli last year, Kim Min-jae, the South Korean international earned himself plenty of admirers. Manchester United were also reportedly in the race to sign the defender before Bayern Munich made swift moves to complete a deal for the 26-year-old.
Kim signed a five-year deal with the Bavarians and had only joined Napoli from Turkey’s Fenerbahce last summer. Thus, Bayern had to pay his full release clause of €50m, and in exchange, they’ve signed a no-nonsense defender who is also tidy with the ball at his feet.
Bayern Munich’s previous club record signing before Harry Kane’s arrival, Lucas Hernandez jumped ship to return to his homeland in France with Paris Saint-Germain. PSG snapped up the versatile defender for a fee of €45M, signing the player on a five-year deal.
Even though Hernandez hasn’t played since suffering a long-term knee injury during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, his talent convinced the French club to sign the player who is capable of filling in both at left-back and at centre-back too.
Midfielders: Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Moises Caicedo, Neymar
Arsenal broke the British transfer record fee when they splashed €116.6m to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice. The Englishman captained the Hammers to their first silverware for a long time as they lifted the UEFA Europa Conference League title.
Mikel Arteta’s side had two bids rejected by West Ham before Man City entered the race however, the Gunners eventually met Rice’s asking price and the youngster has already started to show glimpses of his stunning talent in the new Premier League campaign.
After a dramatic saga which saw Liverpool agree a fee with Brighton only to be rejected by the player himself, Moises Caicedo had his heart set on a move to Chelsea. The Blues thus splashed out €133m, surpassing the British transfer record of Rice, in a matter of few weeks.
The Ecuadorian midfielder thus became the most expensive player of the summer transfer window of 2023. However, he had a forgetful debut as Caicedo gave away a penalty in his first game against West Ham United.
Jude Bellingham was spoilt for choices this summer as Liverpool, Manchester City and many other clubs were interested in signing the Englishman however, he chose Real Madrid. The 20-year-old cost a staggering €103 million, and the fee is likely to increase further to €133.9m with add-ons.
There was a lot of hype regarding Bellingham and the former Borussia Dortmund man has adapted to life seamlessly in Spain, scoring four goals in three matches, and a solitary assist helping Los Blancos maintain their stunning start to the La Liga campaign.
Neymar’s move to PSG in 2017 changed the transfer window forever, his world-record transfer paved the way for many other blockbuster deals. After six seasons in Paris, the Brazilian called time on his stint with the Ligue 1 side and joined Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal.
The move saw PSG pocket €90m fee and a staggering salary of €150m per season for the player, which is reportedly six times his previous salary. The Brazilian was given a stellar welcome and although he is currently injured, Neymar is expected to return just in time for the ACL clash against Mumbai City in India.
Strikers: Harry Kane, Ramus Hojlund
After multiple rejected bids, Tottenham Hotspur finally gave the green light to Harry Kane‘s transfer to Bayern Munich for a staggering €100m. The England captain was also on the radar of Manchester United, but Kane was only interested in a move abroad.
Despite Daniel Levy’s best efforts to keep the star striker in London, Bayern’s persistence finally paved the way for a blockbuster deal which is now the Bavarians’ most expensive acquisition. Kane needed just five minutes to create a goal on his debut and has since scored three times in the Bundesliga.
Danish international Rasmus Hojlund signed for Manchester United for a fee of €85m as the Atalanta striker signed a five-year deal along with an option to extend for one more season.
Hojlund spent just one season in Serie A but showed enough promise for the Red Devils to splash a massive fee after Kane rejected the chance to move to Old Trafford. While Hojlund is currently injured, he’s expected to make his debut against Arsenal.
Substitutes: Robert Sanchez (€23M) Tino Livramento (€37.2M), Axel Disasi (€45M), Jurrien Timber (€40M), Romeo Lavia (€62M), Dominik Szoboszlai (€70M), Kai Havertz (€75M), Jeremy Doku (€65M), Randal Kolo Muani (€90M)