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Most Expensive Strikers of All Time

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Harry Kane, and more! This article is about the most expensive strikers of all time.

In a sport where every goal is a currency of its own, the acquisition of a prolific striker often comes with a hefty price tag. Besides the on-field skills, the transactions that make these strikers wear new jerseys carry a financial weight that echoes across the world. This article further navigates through football transfers, eye-watering figures, and the strategic maneuvers of clubs seeking the golden combination of goals and glory. From Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane’s astronomical moves to the emerging talents shaping the market, each striker on this list is a chapter in the evolving saga of football’s ever-shifting world.

In short, this article is a nuanced exploration of the most expensive strikers of all time.

Most Expensive Strikers of All Time

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating his goal for Juventus.
© X

Do you wonder who are the most expensive strikers of all time? Or Maybe which one is further the best striker among them? Let’s delve into it.

Honorable Mention

  • Rasmus Højlund
  • Alexander Isak
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Álvaro Morata
  • Diego Costa

Dušan Vlahović

Dušan Vlahović wears Juventus jersey for the first time in Juventus Stadium as the Italian club spent €75m to complete his transfer.
© Juventus FC / Getty Images

In a bid to find a potential successor for Ronaldo, Juventus made a bold move by investing significantly in Dušan Vlahović, a striker who had previously caught the attention of Arsenal. The transfer, completed in January 2022 for an impressive fee of €75m, further reflected Juventus’ strategic approach to securing top-tier talent. Despite the historical controversies surrounding deals between Fiorentina and Juventus, Vlahović’s move represented a significant chapter in his career. He embraced the challenge of spearheading the Bianconeri’s attacking front.

As one of the most expensive strikers in Serie A, Dušan Vlahović stands out as a player with a diverse skill set, combining physicality, technique, and a sharp eye for goal-scoring opportunities. Whether operating in central areas or drifting into the inside right or left channels, he excels at retaining possession, showing versatility on the field. His ability to hold up play and contribute to link-up play adds a dynamic dimension to his game, leveraging both strength and agility.

Recognized for his composure under pressure, Vlahović’s move to Juventus has seen him notch an impressive 32 goals across all competitions. It further solidified his role as a dynamic and prolific force for the Italian powerhouse.

Darwin Núñez

Darwin Núñez is happy as Liverpool spent a significant amount of money to bring him to Anfield.
© Nick Taylor / Liverpool FC / Getty Images

Darwin Núñez, celebrated for his proficient technical football abilities, stands out as a right-footed player with an athletic frame. His remarkable acceleration and sprinting speed are defining features of his skillset, where his change of pace allows him to create an immediate shock to opponents. Beyond his physical power, Núñez also demonstrates keen awareness on the field, scanning space and making decisions with precision concerning the ball, surrounding space, teammates, and opponents. His playing style has drawn comparisons to renowned Uruguayan forwards Diego Forlán, Edinson Cavani, and Luis Suárez.

Embracing a somewhat unpredictable approach to football, Núñez has earned the intriguing moniker of the “Agent of Chaos.” In June 2022, Liverpool sealed a noteworthy deal, spending €75m to acquire Darwin Núñez from Benfica. This transfer cements Núñez’s status as one of the most expensive strikers of all time. It further emphasizes his growing prominence on the European football stage.

Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen and Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis are shaking hands after the Nigerian striker completed his transfer to Napoli.
© X

Praised by his former Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti as the “complete package,” Victor Osimhen has left an indelible mark on Serie A as one of the most expensive strikers. In December 2022, football legend Francesco Totti went a step further, declaring Osimhen as “the best striker in Serie A.”

The substantial investment of €70 million, with an additional €10 million in bonuses, by Napoli chairman Aurelio de Laurentiis amidst the financial challenges of the coronavirus crisis, underscores Osimhen’s exceptional contributions. His impressive record of 67 goals in 119 games, coupled with winning the Capocannoniere and securing a league title, has triggered bonuses Napoli is more than willing to pay.

As a right-footed center-forward standing at 185 cm, Osimhen possesses a formidable combination of presence, athleticism, strength, directness, and a keen eye for goal-scoring opportunities. His adept runs into space, effective linkup play, and strong holdup play contribute to his dynamic style. With pace as one of his key weapons to outmaneuver opponents, Osimhen is rightfully recognized as one of the best strikers in Serie A. Comparisons to young striking talents like Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Alexander Isak, and Dušan Vlahović further solidify Osimhen’s standing among the best in his position.

Luis Suárez

Luis Suárez is happy at his presentation day as a Barcelona player which made him one of the most expensive forwards of all time.
© Reuters

After delivering a spectacular individual season for Liverpool in 2013/14 that left Premier League defenses in his wake, Luis Suárez orchestrated a seismic transfer to Barcelona. It made headlines not just for his on-field mastery but also for his World Cup bite incident involving Giorgio Chiellini.

The audacious move came with a hefty price tag of €82.3 million, marking his transfer to Barcelona in 2014. This transfer proved to be a remarkable investment as Suárez went on to play a key role in securing an impressive 13 trophies. He also earned the rank of third in the club’s all-time top scorers list.

Widely hailed as one of the best strikers of all time, Suárez’s goal-scoring acumen is unparalleled. A prolific scorer, he also holds the rare distinction of being the leading goal-scorer in three top-flight European leagues. It is a feat shared only by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo. Known for his precision as a finisher with either foot, Suárez, despite being naturally right-footed, demonstrates the ability to score both from inside and outside the penalty area. His transfer to Barcelona not only demonstrated his undeniable talent but also cemented his legacy as one of the most expensive strikers of his generation.

Gonzalo Higuaín

Gonzalo Higuaín happily shows his Juventus jersey to the fans as he completed his controversial transfer from Napoli to Juventus.
© Marco Bertorello / Getty Images

Gonzalo Higuaín’s €90 million move to Juventus in 2016 stands as one of the most controversial football transfers in history. The Argentinian striker made a bold switch from Napoli to their traditional rivals in the north, Juventus, adding a layer of intensity to the age-old rivalry. Juventus astutely targeted Serie A’s top scorers from the previous season after Real Madrid activated their buy-back clause on Morata. While the move did weaken Napoli, Higuaín’s impact at Juventus was less transformative than anticipated, despite his solid personal record.

Renowned for his exceptional striking ability with either foot, particularly in the last 25 yards, Higuaín exhibited opportunism and clinical finishing inside the penalty area. His imposing height, keen eye for goal, and robust physique made him a formidable aerial threat in the box. Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, Higuaín demonstrated a well-rounded skill set, encompassing technical proficiency, the ability to drop deep, effective link-up play with teammates, adept ball-holding skills, and the capability to lay off passes to other players.

His playing style drew favorable comparisons with fellow Argentinian strikers Hernán Crespo and Gabriel Batistuta. It also solidifies his status as a versatile and impactful forward.

Read More: Gonzalo Higuaín Biography

Randal Kolo Muani

Randal Kolo Muani is happy to join PSG with a contract that runs until 2028.
© PSG.Fr

Randal Kolo Muani’s move to Paris Saint-Germain was marked by a bit of transfer drama. In the final days of the transfer window, the France striker took matters into his own hands. He went on to secure a move to his hometown club. Despite Eintracht’s initial reluctance, they eventually yielded on deadline day, allowing PSG to secure the 24-year-old at a premium cost. The Parisians paid £64.2 million upfront, with an additional £12.2 million potentially in add-ons. It emphasizes the club’s eagerness to bring Kolo Muani into their ranks.

Kolo Muani’s playing style has earned him comparisons to the iconic French striker Thierry Henry. Initially starting as a wide player known for his pace and trickery, he seamlessly transitioned into a central forward role. This issue also echoes Henry’s evolution in his playing career. His languid dribbling style, impressive speed, and notable strength on the ball draw parallels to Henry’s youthful exploits on the field, leaving defenders struggling to keep up.

France’s national team coach, Didier Deschamps, has acknowledged Kolo Muani’s diverse skill set, praising his significant presence, well-timed runs from deep positions, and adept finishing ability, highlighting the promising trajectory of this young striker’s career.

Cristiano Ronaldo

A black and white graphic design to celebrate Cristiano Ronaldo high-priced transfer to Juventus.

In a blockbuster move that made headlines around the footballing world, Juventus secured the services of Cristiano Ronaldo in July 2018 for a staggering 112 million Euros, making him one of the most expensive football strikers of all time. This audacious transfer was Juventus’ response to the perennial challenge posed by Ronaldo in the UEFA Champions League. Tired of facing the prolific Portuguese forward on opposing sides, Juventus opted for the strategy of having him on their team.

Despite securing a couple of Serie A titles during his time in Italy, Ronaldo couldn’t propel The Old Lady beyond the quarter-finals in the Champions League. Nevertheless, his impact was undeniable, netting an impressive 101 goals for the Bianconeri. Among the many memorable moments, Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 stands out. He single-handedly overturned a two-goal deficit, guiding Juventus to the quarter-finals with a resounding 3–0 victory on March 12.

Read More: Cristiano Ronaldo Biography

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is happy to return to Stamford Bridge as one of the most expensive strikers of all time.

Romelu Lukaku, once a promising teenager at Stamford Bridge, transformed over the years, becoming a seasoned and refined striker. In a surprising turn of events, Chelsea, in August 2021, invested a staggering 115 million Euros to secure Lukaku’s return. It set a new transfer record. Despite netting 15 goals across various competitions, Lukaku’s second stint with Chelsea didn’t live up to expectations. His return to Chelsea categorized him as a less successful signing. The cumulative 280 million Euros spent on his transfers records between Manchester United, Inter Milan, and Chelsea solidify his status as one of the most expensive strikers in football history.

Lukaku’s profile as a well-rounded forward extends beyond his hefty price tag. Possessing strength in the air and a keen eye for goal, he combines physical prowess with attributes like pace, athleticism, awareness, and technical finesse. His adept link-up play and vision contribute to his overall effectiveness. It also allows him to create space for teammates through intelligent off-the-ball runs.

While once criticized for limited defensive contributions, Lukaku has earned praise from his managers for his commendable work rate off the ball. Despite occasional media scrutiny regarding his movement and first touch, Lukaku’s multi-faceted skill set places him among the elite ranks of expensive strikers in the football landscape.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane is delighted to Join Bayern Munich while he chose number 9 jersey.

In a surprising turn of events, Daniel Levy’s reluctance couldn’t deter Bayern Munich from making Harry Kane their most expensive acquisition to date. Despite the awkward negotiations, Bayern displayed firm determination, backed by a substantial sum that could reach up to £120m when factoring in potential add-ons. This monumental deal, finalized on August 10, 2023, saw Kane swiftly agreeing to personal terms and promptly jetting off to Munich the following day. The England captain’s move to Bayern marked a historic moment in Bundesliga history. It eclipsed the previous transfer fee record set by Lucas Hernandez in 2019.

Harry Kane’s impact at Bayern Munich has been nothing short of remarkable. The prolific striker has enjoyed a stellar season. He has demonstrated his goal-scoring prowess with an impressive tally of 26 goals in just 23 matches. Notably, Kane achieved a milestone by matching Robert Lewandowski’s record for the most goals in the first half of the season with his 22nd league goal in a triumphant victory over Hoffenheim on January 12.

Undoubtedly, Kane’s outstanding performance substantiates his well-deserved position among the most expensive strikers of all time. Not to mention that his move to the Bavarian Club was one of the most expensive transfers this summer.

Read More: Harry Kane Biography

Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé and Nasser Al-Khelaifi at the French striker presentation day at Parc des Princes which made him the most expensive striker of all time.
© Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

Kylian Mbappé’s journey to becoming Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time top scorer is a tale of extraordinary talent and intriguing decisions. On August 31, 2017, PSG officially welcomed the French talent, securing his services from Monaco on loan with an eventual mandatory purchase option of €180 million. The pivotal moment in this transfer was a compelling speech delivered by then-manager Unai Emery at the Mbappé family home. It swayed the young star’s decision and made him one of the most expensive strikers. Since then, Mbappé has etched his name in PSG’s history books, notching an impressive 238 goals for the club.

As Mbappé soared through the ranks, his early career drew comparisons to football legends. Arsène Wenger, recognizing his immense potential, likened him to the iconic Thierry Henry. The young forward’s breakout performances for France in the 2018 World Cup prompted media comparisons to none other than Pelé.

Interestingly, PSG’s decision to initially sign Mbappé on loan six years ago now seems like a whimsical twist of fate, considering he has evolved into a powerhouse within the club, even eclipsing the French president in influence. Amidst his remarkable journey, the constant speculation linking Mbappé with Real Madrid adds a layer of predictability to his narrative, marking him not only as a record-breaking goal scorer but also as a player with a future yet to unfold.

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Enzo Mastroianni
Enzo Mastroianni
As a lifelong football fan, Enzo directs his attention to Italian football and the history of the game. He also indulges in exploring diverse pragmatic views on football tactics. Aside from football, he adores classic literature and Japanese cinema.


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