Italian Serie A has been home to some of the world’s most respected football clubs throughout history. Every week, world-class players have taken part in the league, entertaining millions of fans worldwide.
Over the last decade, the Italian teams have lost some ground to their Spanish, German, and English rivals. Serie A clubs have not won the Champions League since AC Milan’s triumph in 2007, but they have tried.
Juventus has been the only Italian team to play in two Champions League finals during the last decade. Despite losing to Barcelona (2015) and Real Madrid (2017), they are not giving up just yet. They have broken the Serie A transfer record time and time again to get the best players in and conquer Europe.
We will examine how they have flexed their financial muscles to dominate the transfer market in Italy today.
Without further ado, here are the five most expensive transfers in the history of Serie A (via Transfermarkt).
Spoiler alert: Juventus owns all five slots.
#5 Arthur Melo from Barcelona in 2020 – €76.0 million
A highly-rated central midfielder from Barcelona, Arthur Melo, was traded to Juventus for €12 million in the summer of 2020, while Miralem Pjanic (rated at €60 million) went the other way. During his time at the Camp Nou, the Brazilian midfielder was dubbed as the next big thing in Spanish football.
As the Blaugrana were strapped for cash, the money-plus-player deal was too tempting to turn down.
— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) January 29, 2022
Since being transferred to Turin, the former Gremio man has not been in the best of form. He has shown flashes of brilliance here and there, but his spell has not been enough to justify his sky-high transfer fee.
Arthur has played only 47 games for Juve, scoring a goal and providing an assist.
#4 Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina in 2022 – €81.6 million
After a thrilling spell in Fiorentina’s colors, Dusan Vlahovic has moved to Juventus for a huge €81.6 million fee.
He was the most high-profile transfer in this season’s winter transfer window, having been finalized on January 28th.
Official details of Dusan Vlahović deal from Juventus statement ⚪️⚫️ #Juve
€70m guaranteed to Fiorentina to be paid in 3 installments
€10m potential add-ons to be paid next years
€11.6m agents fees plus additional details
Vlahović will earn €7m net per season as salary. pic.twitter.com/R1U2LUpF3x
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 28, 2022
The 22-year-old moved from Partizan to Fiorentina in 2018. From 2018 to 2022, he scored 49 goals in 108 appearances for the Italian club, including 20 this season.
In the 2021-22 season, the Serbian has struck 17 times in Serie A, making him the league’s joint-top scorer along with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
#3 Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax in 2019 – €85.5 million
In Serie A, there are some outstanding young defenders, but none hold a candle to Juventus’ young hero, Matthijs de Ligt.
A product of Ajax’s renowned youth system, De Ligt broke onto the scene in the 2018-19 campaign. As a result of his leadership, the Eredivisie side reached the Champions League semi-finals, knocking out 13-time champions Real Madrid.
Juve spent €85.5 million on him ahead of the 2019-20 season because they were looking for new blood at the back.
Matthijs de Ligt:
“When I dined with my childhood friends, we started reminiscing. We remembered how I always wanted to be Cristiano Ronaldo when we played football in the garden. This was especially when he was playing for Manchester United. " pic.twitter.com/Y1jP9qJ1Y7
— CristianoXtra (@CristianoXtra_) January 11, 2022
Since then, the 22-year-old has done his best to live up to his astronomical price tag, doing his best to prove why he’s rated so highly. He’s also been successful in some matches, but he’s looked rather ordinary in others.
Since his move to Turin, the former Ajax player has not won over all of his critics, but he certainly has time on his side. Over the coming years, he could become an invaluable asset to Serie A if he keeps himself fit and eyes open.
#2 Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli in 2016 – €90 million
Gonzalo Higuain’s record-breaking season with Napoli in 2015-16 led to the Old Lady spending €90 million to bring him to Turin in 2016.
The Argentine’s transfer to a direct rival in Serie A angered the Napoli fans, but the sharpshooter ignored the distasteful chants.
In the 2016-17 season, Higuain netted 24 times in Serie A, helping to propel the Bianconeri to the title without breaking a sweat. His movement, game-reading skills, and steely determination helped him emerge as one of the top goal scorers in Serie A.
The following season, his goal output plummeted, resulting in him being loaned out to AC Milan in the summer of 2018.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid in 2018 – €117 million
After winning three consecutive Champions League titles, Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in the summer of 2018.
A €117-million transfer was made to help the Italian giants achieve the supposedly unachievable, to help them win the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo increased Juventus’ revenue in a few days because he is the most followed person on social media. Ronaldo’s popularity alone helped make the Old Lady one of the world’s most popular teams.
He also had a great game on the pitch, hitting the back of the net with ease. During his 134 games for Juventus, he scored 101 goals, becoming the fastest player to reach 100 goals for the Italian club.
December: Vlahovic equals Ronaldo’s 33 Serie A goals in a single calendar year.
January: Vlahovic takes Ronaldo’s No.7 at Juventus.
Only seems fair 🤝 pic.twitter.com/MkMNDIllbi
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 28, 2022
With 101 goals and two Serie A titles, Ronaldo enriched Bianconeri’s revenue stream. He failed to accomplish the one thing he was brought to accomplish, which was winning the Champions League.
The decisive hat-trick in the second leg of Juve’s Champions League Round of 16 comeback win over Atletico Madrid in 2019 was Ronaldo’s most notable UCL performance in Juventus colors.
Overall, the tournament’s record-goalscorer netted 14 goals in 23 appearances for Juventus in the Champions League before rejoining Manchester United in August 2021.