World football has seen a number of record-breaking transfers over the past ten years. All of those might not have proved to be effective. But there are players whose arrivals changed the stature of a handful of clubs. The transfer market witnessed a big buzz this summer when Lionel Messi decided to arrive in the Major League Soccer (MLS). On the other hand, several big names, including Neymar and Karim Benzema, moved to Saudi Arabia this summer. Let’s take a look at the 10 most impactful signings of the last decade.
Neymar (Santos to Barcelona, 2013)
After spending the initial phase of his career in Brazil, Neymar joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013. During his four-season spell at Camp Nou, Barcelona won a total of eight trophies including, two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, one Spanish Super Cup and a Champions League. In the Barcelona jersey, Neymar scored 105 goals and recorded 76 assists in 186 appearances across all competitions.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham to Real Madrid, 2013)
Gareth Bale was tipped to be Europe’s one of the most prolific players when he joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. He returned to Tottenham on a season-long loan in 2020 before re-joining the Spanish side next season. During his two spells at Real Madrid, Gale featured in 258 matches across all competitions, scoring 106 goals. He was part of the Real Madrid side in as many as five Champions League triumphs.
Luis Suarez (Liverpool to Barcelona, 2014)
Luis Suarez came to Spain in 2014 after representing Liverpool for three seasons. The Uruguayan international did not take much time to become a mainstay at Barcelona, forming a lethal triumvirate with Lionel Messi and Neymar. Suarez played 183 games for Barcelona across all competitions, scoring 195 goals. He helped the Catalan giants win four La Liga titles, one Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, four Copa del Reys and two Spanish Super Cups.
Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich to Real Madrid, 2014)
Since shifting his base to Santiago Bernabeu in 2014, Toni Kroos still remains a crucial figure in Real Madrid midfield. During his time, the Spanish side became the champions of Europe four times, while winning three La Liga titles. Kroos has so far recorded 90 assists to his name and has scored a total of 27 goals in 421 Real Madrid appearances.
Sadio Mane (Southampton to Liverpool, 2016)
Sadio Mane signed for Liverpool from Southampton in 2016. Just three years after his signing, the Reds lifted the Champions League title. Mane was a key component of the Liverpool squad which won the Premier League title in 2020. He also won the 2022 FA Cup with the English club before joining Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr this summer.
John Stones (Everton to Manchester City, 2016)
The English centre-back joined Manchester City from Everton in 2016. Since then, Stones has won the Premier League title five times, while securing a historic treble last season.
Mohamed Salah (Roma to Liverpool, 2017)
Mohamed Salah parted ways with Roma in the summer of 2017 to join Liverpool. The Egyptian played a key role in the English club’s triumphant run in the 2019 Champions League. During his time at Anfield so far, Salah has donned the red in 309 games across all competitions, having netted 188 goals.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea to Real Madrid, 2018)
After joining Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2018, Thibaut Courtois has already established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the history of the club. The Belgian shot stopper has so far won two La Liga titles and one Champions League trophy at Real Madrid. He also became the best goalkeeper of the 2021-22 La Liga season.
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City, 2022)
The signing of Erling Haaland proved to be highly effective for Manchester City as the Norwegian striker helped them secure a historic treble last season. In his debut campaign, Haaland also broke the record for the most goals in a single Premier League season, with 36 strikes in 35 appearances.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona to Inter Miami, 2023)
Lionel Messi capped off his stint in European football to join Inter Miami earlier this summer. Thanks to Messi’s on-field genius, the Herons have become a formidable force in American football. Only a few weeks after his signing, Messi helped the Florida-based club win their maiden Leagues Cup title. The Argentine superstar has so far represented Miami in 11 matches, netting as many goals.