Van Dijk, Enzo and the 10 most expensive January transfers of all time

Aloisio Hernández
  • Updated: 5 Feb 2023 17:17 GMT
  • 6 min read
Virgil van Dijk in action for Liverpool

The 2023 January transfer window produced two of the biggest deals of any winter market ever as Chelsea splashed out €121 million on Enzo Fernandez and €100m on Mykhailo Mudryk.

Although clubs rarely enjoy making big signings midway through the season, that rarely seems to stop the biggest sides in the world from spending untold fortunes on players.

So who are the 10 biggest January transfer windows in the history of the sport?


Who are the most expensive January signings ever?

The most expensive January transfer window signing came in 2018, when Philippe Coutinho made the move from Barcelona to Liverpool for a remarkable fee of €135 million. Although it wasn’t the highest fee of all time, it certainly wasn’t far off it and comes in fourth in that particular list.

In second place is a transfer from 2023 as Chelsea made Enzo Fernandez the most expensive central midfielder ever by paying Benfica €121m on Deadline Day.

Chelsea continued their incredible spending spree from the 2022-23 season by earlier in the window splashing out €100m on Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk. He is third on the all-time January list.

In fourth place is another deal that involves Liverpool, but this time the Anfield side were the ones signing the cheques. In the very same window that Coutinho made the move to Spain, Virgil Van Dijk made the move north from Southampton when Liverpool signed him for just under €85m.

In fifth is another relatively recent addition to the list in the form of Dusan Vlahovic, who made the somewhat controversial move from Fiorentina to Juventus in 2021 for a deal that could end up reaching as high as €82m.

Next on the list is another central defender that made the move to a Premier League giant, in Aymeric Laporte. Signed from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018, the Spaniard ended up costing Manchester City €65m.

Christian Pulisic made his permanent move to Chelsea in January 2019 when the English side agreed to pay Borussia Dortmund €64m for the winger.

Next on the list is another Dortmund forward in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who made a similar trip from Germany to England when Arsenal handed over an incredible €64m for the Gabon international.

Another more recent signing that comes in ninth on the list is none other than Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes, who made the move to Old Trafford in January 2020 when the Red Devils forked over €63m for the Sporting Lisbon star.

Diego Costa is joint-tenth after Atletico Madrid agreed to bring an end to the forward’s spell at Chelsea by paying €60m for him in January 2018.

Another Chelsea player sits level with Costa on this list and that’s Brazilian attacking midfielder Oscar, who made a rather strange move to Chinese club SH SIPG when the relatively unknown outfit offered €60m for his signature.

Luis Diaz also joined Liverpool in January 2022 for €60m from Porto.

Top 10 highest January transfer fees in history

PlayerBuying club Selling club Fee
Philippe CoutinhoBarcelona Liverpool €135m
Enzo FernandezBenficaChelsea€121m
Mykhailo Mudryk Shakhtar DonetskChelsea€100m
Virgil Van Dijk Liverpool Southampton€85m
Dusan Vlahovic JuventusFiorentina€82m
Aymeric LaporteManchester CityAthletic Bilbao €65m
Christian PulisicBorussia DortmundChelsea€64m
Pierre Emerick AubameyangBorussia Dortmund Arsenal €63.7m
Bruno FernandesSporting Manchester United€63m
Diego Costa Atletico MadridChelsea €60m
Oscar SH SIPGChelsea €60m
Luis Diaz LiverpoolPorto €60m