Pogba, Enzo and the 10 most expensive centre midfielders of all time

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • Updated: 1 Feb 2023 12:02 GMT
  • 4 min read
Paul pogba, Man Utd, 2021/22

Enzo Fernandez is now the most expensive centre midfielder of all time following his €121 million move to Chelsea from Benfica in January 2023.

Chelsea broke the British transfer record on January Deadline Day in 2023, snapping up the Argentine who had helped lead his country to World Cup glory a month earlier.

Paul Pogba is now the second most expensive centre midfielder of all time thanks to his 2016 transfer from Juventus back to Manchester United.

The Frenchman originally left Old Trafford to join the Italian giants on a free transfer in 2012, and re-signed for the Red Devils for €105m after four successful years in Turin.

Following six years back at Man Utd, Pogba once again left the club to join Juventus on a Bosman transfer in 2022.

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Frenkie de Jong is the third most expensive centre midfielder in history; he cost Barcelona €86m when he joined from Ajax in 2019. The Blaugrana splashed the cash on the Dutchman after his pivotal role in Ajax’s run to the 2018/19 Champions League semi-finals.

The fourth most expensive centre midfielder of all time is Aurelien Tchouameni after his €80m transfer to Real Madrid in the 2022 summer window. The France international joined Los Blancos from AS Monaco after spending two-and-a-half years in the French principality.

In fifth place in the standings is another Real Madrid signing - Zinedine Zidane’s move from Juventus in 2001. The French legend was one of the first Galacticos to join Real Madrid in the early noughties, signing for €77.5m.

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Next up is Arthur Melo, who was involved in a swap deal with Miralem Pjanic in 2020. The Brazilian left Barcelona to join Juventus for €76m, while Pjanic moved the other way for €60m.

Arthur Melo cost Juventus €76m

Arthur Melo cost Juventus €76m

The seventh most expensive centre midfielder of all time is Belgium international Kevin de Bruyne. He joined Manchester City from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg for €76m in 2015 after impressing in Germany after a disappointing spell at Chelsea.

He is followed by James Rodriguez, who is eighth in the list of the most expensive centre midfielders of all time. The 2014 World Cup hero earned a move from AS Monaco to Real Madrid following his breakout international tournament. The Colombian cost Los Blancos €75m.

Thomas Lemar and Casemiro complete the top 10 most expensive centre midfielders of all time. Atletico Madrid spent €72m on Lemar in 2018 and Manchester United spent €70.65m on Casemiro in 2022.

The 10 most expensive centre midfielders of all time

PlayerClubsFeeSeason
Enzo FernandezBenfica to Chelsea€121m2022-23
Paul PogbaJuventus to Manchester United€105m2016-17
Frenkie de JongAjax to Barcelona€86m2019-20
Aurelien TchouameniMonaco to Real Madrid€80m2022-23
Zinedine ZidaneJuventus to Real Madrid€77.5m2001-02
Arthur MeloBarcelona to Juventus€76m2020-21
Kevin de BruyneWolfsburg to Manchester City€76m2015-16
James RodriguezMonaco to Real Madrid€75m2014-15
Thomas LemarMonaco to Atletico Madrid€72m2018-19
CasemiroReal Madrid to Manchester United€70.65m2022-23