While most fans focused on the World Cup, European powerhouse clubs were diligently negotiating away, spending absurd amounts of money on transfer fees to bolster rosters for the upcoming soccer season.
One of the main differences between European soccer and American sports is the amount of money teams spend to buy players through transfer fees. These fees go to the team, not the player, although part of the deal usually involves a new contract and a salary increase for the player. And of course, there aren’t pesky salary cap limitations in European soccer leagues. That can lead to staggering transfer fees changing hands between the largest clubs in England, Spain, Italy and France. Below are the largest transfer fees that changed hands during the World Cup.
Some players like England’s Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana saw their value’s increase simply by being named to the national team. On the other hand, you have to wonder if David Luiz’s fee would have taken a hit had his transfer fee been negotiated after he captained the worst loss in Brazil’s history.
Not all of those transfer fees were a result of the player’s World Cup performance, as several had been in the works for months, if not years. Cesc Fàbregas, for instance, moved from Barcelona to Chelsea during the first few days of the tournament. Because of a buy-back clause in his initial Barcelona transfer, his former English team, Arsenal, will receive $9.6 million simply for Fabregas returning to the Premier League four year’s later.
The largest transfer fee on the list goes to soccer’s LeBron James, Luis Suarez, proving that Barcelona clearly was not dissuaded by a bit of chomping. However, there are reports that Barcelona added punitive clauses to his contract after the biting incident that could dock his $17 million salary by more than $5 million if he bites again. With all the money moving back and forth, let’s look at how the clubs faired from the above transfers. This doesn’t factor all of the teams’ other dealings this transfer period, just the results of the above transfers. (Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic are not included as the exact terms of their deals have not been confirmed.)
Those figures will surely change rather drastically in the next few weeks as players continue to move. Rumors continue to swirl around several other World Cup stars including Jaime Toni Kroos (to Real Madrid), Arturo Vidal (possibly to Manchester United), Dejan Lovren (to Liverpool), Ezequiel Lavezzi, Samir Khedira, Guillermo Ochoa and Marco Reus. The European power balance will probably continue to shift with one month to go until next season.