Football is a young man’s game. Or is it that you can’t with anything with kids?
Either way, the most expensive transfer in football is currently held by a 25-year-old Neymar, who broke a 23-year-old Paul Pogba’s record.
But what does the transfer climate look like when you only include players above the age of 30? Funny you ask.
1 Claude Makelele (30)
The most expensive veteran in footballing history is arguably also the greatest, and definitely the only player to have his own position.
Makelele left Real Madrid’s Galacticos for an equally rich project on the King’s Road when he moved to Chelsea in 2003 for £18million.
Money. Well. Spent.
2 Claudio Bravo (33)
You’ve just started your new job. You need to make a statement. You’re not sure about your current no.1. What do you do?
Well, if you’re Pep Guardiola, you pay Barcelona £16.2mil for Bravo, only to realise that it’s not worth having a heart attack every time the ball goes back to the keeper’s feet.
Did you keep the receipt?
3 Roberto Soldado (30)
Nope, you’re eyes aren’t going. That really does say Roberto Soldado.
Villarreal decided to spend £14.4m on the Spaniard having watched Soldado score seven goals in two Premier League seasons for Spurs.
In return they got five league goals out of an injury-hit season.
4 Graziano Pelle (31)
Southampton must have thought someone was pulling their leg when they got offered £13.7m for a faltering Pelle.
But Shandong Luneng, giddy in the bliss of Chinese Super League money, weren’t joking around.
To be fair, his haircut alone was probably worth £10m.
5 Ruud van Nistelrooy (30)
After getting on the wrong side of Sir Alex Ferguson there was no shortage of takers for Van Nistelrooy.
He chose Real Madrid, signing for £13.5m and linking up with Postman Pat, sorry, Fabio Capello.
Ruud’s four seasons in Madrid saw the Dutchman win two La Liga titles and a Spanish Super Cup, as well as being crowned Spain’s top goalscorer in 2007.
6 Ashley Williams (31)
Big Ronald Koeman decided his first act as Everton manager would be to sign a similarly classy centre-back in his mould.
Unfortunately Williams was the only person who picked up the phone, so Everton shelled out £12.6m to take him from Swansea.
Just kidding, Ash.
7 Petr Cech (33)
Everyone knows you take seven years off a goalkeeper’s age to find their real age.
Chelsea didn’t need Cech, with Thibaut Courtois’s rapid rise shoving him to the side, and Arsenal desperately needed a keeper whose wrists weren’t made of biscuits.
One of the few occasions when everyone was happy.
8 Andrew Cole (30)
Andrew? Andy? To avoid offending anyone we’ll stick to Cole.
Cole left Man United for Blackburn in 2001 for a fee of just under £11m, breaking up his partnership with Dwight Yorke.
You can never keep a good partnership apart though, with the pair reunited the very next season. Lovely stuff.
9 Asmir Begovic (30)
As with Cech, take off seven years and Begovic is a relatively youthful keeper.
Bournemouth paid Chelsea £10.3m to save him from the Stamford Bridge bench, and presumably spent the next month teaching him how to walk again.
At least he won’t have to deal with the stress of playing behind David Luiz any more.
10 Emmanuel Petit
‘We’ll pay you £10m for the ponytail and £300k for the rest of him’.
So the conversation went between Chelsea and Barcelona when Petit moved back to England.
After three trophyless seasons in London he left to pursue his true calling of being a hair model. Who can blame him?
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