Most expensive Ligue 1 signings: Thanks to the presence and domination of Paris Saint-Germain, Ligue 1 clubs are said to dominate the transfer records made in football. However, all but two of the top 25 transfers made in France belong to PSG. Today we will delve out of the unfathomable domination by PSG. Let us go through the five most expensive Ligue 1 transfers not made by PSG.
1. Radamel Falcao – €60 million – AS Monaco
In the summer of 2013, AS Monaco made a significant transfer splash by securing the services of Colombian striker Radamel Falcao. The transfer was seen as a major coup for the French club, as Falcao was considered one of the most prolific and sought-after strikers in the world at that time. The move was part of Monaco’s ambitious project to establish themselves as a major force in European football and challenge the dominance of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in Ligue 1.
The transfer fee for Falcao was reported to be around €60 million, making it one of the most expensive transfers in football history at that time. Monaco’s billionaire owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev, was determined to invest heavily in the club and viewed Falcao as a marquee signing who could elevate Monaco’s status on the European stage.
During his time with Monaco, Radamel Falcao showcased his goal-scoring prowess and demonstrated why he was considered one of the world’s top strikers. In his debut season with the club, he scored an impressive 9 goals in 17 appearances before suffering a serious knee injury in January 2014, which kept him sidelined for several months.
Despite the setback, Falcao returned to action the following season, but he struggled to replicate his pre-injury form. After disappointing loan spells to chelsea and Manchester United he left the club after his contract expired in 2019.
2. James Rodríguez – €45 million – AS Monaco
In the summer of 2013, AS Monaco made another significant transfer coup by securing the services of Colombian midfielder James Rodríguez. The transfer fee for Rodríguez was reported to be around €45 million.
James Rodríguez arrived at Monaco following a successful spell at FC Porto, where he had impressed with his exceptional playmaking skills, vision, and ability to contribute with both goals and assists. His performances in Portugal had attracted the attention of several top European clubs, and Monaco managed to secure his signature ahead of stiff competition.
During his two-season spell with Monaco, James Rodríguez exhibited his immense talent and quickly established himself as one of the most exciting players in Ligue 1. In his debut season with the club, he formed a formidable partnership with Radamel Falcao .
In the 2013-2014 season, James Rodríguez’s performances were nothing short of sensational. He scored 10 league goals and provided 12 assists, finishing as one of the top contributors in both aspects. His standout displays earned him widespread acclaim and further bolstered his reputation as one of the rising stars of world football.
James Rodríguez scored seven goals and assisted 10 times in Ligue 1. This helped Monaco end runners up in the league, behind eventual champions Paris Saint-Germain.
3. Wissam Ben Yedder – €40 million – AS Monaco
Wissam Ben Yedder, already established himself as a fine striker of French football with his time in Toulouse. He continued his success both domestically and in the European stage at Sevilla. Where he scored 38 goals in 92 appearances.
Ben Yedder returned to Ligue 1 to AS Monaco in the summer of 2019. The transfer fee involved is reported to be around €40 million. The striker has established himself as one of the most lethal strikers in France and a fan favorite. He will surely go down as one of the legends of the game.
4. Aleksandr Golovin – €30 million – AS Monaco
In the summer of 2018, Aleksandr Golovin made a notable transfer to AS Monaco from CSKA Moscow in Russia. The transfer fee for the talented midfielder was reported to be approximately €30 million. Signifying his significance as a key signing for Monaco during that period.
Golovin’s performances during the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the Russian national team captured the attention of football enthusiasts worldwide. His display of skills and potential on the global stage led to heightened interest in his abilities. His decision to join Monaco was viewed as a strategic move to further advance his career and embrace fresh challenges in a different league.
The midfielder is still with the club and has scored 25 goals in 176 appearances for the club.
5. Amine Gouiri – €28 million – Rennes
On September 1, 2022, Amine Gouiri’s transfer to Rennes was successfully completed for a total fee of €28 million. The deal involved Nice receiving a guaranteed €22 million upfront. With the potential for an additional €6 million through performance-based add-ons.
Gouiri had previously been a part of Nice since 2020. When he joined the club from Olympique Lyon for €7 million. However, it was during the 2021-22 season that he truly shone, impressing everyone with his outstanding performance in Ligue 1. Throughout that season, he scored an impressive 16 goals and provided 7 assists. Catching the attention of several top clubs, including Rennes, who were eager to bring him on board.
Rennes was able to secure Gouiri’s signature by meeting Nice’s asking price for the talented forward. As they look ahead to the upcoming seasons, the French club has high hopes that Gouiri’s addition to their squad will aid them in their quest to challenge for the Ligue 1 title.
Gouiri is renowned for his versatility on the field. Excelling in various attacking roles. Such as a striker, attacking midfielder, or winger. His skill set includes exceptional creativity, dribbling ability, and finishing skills, making him a formidable threat to opposing defenses. Additionally, he boasts strong passing and set-piece abilities, further enhancing his value to the team.
The striker had an incredible first season at the club. He scored 15 goals in 33 appearances. He has a contract until 30 June 2027.
It is impressive to see that despite this monopoly in the French top flight, the teams with a fraction of PSG’s budget have competed with the Parisians in recent times. As neutral fans we all hope for a future of French football, where clubs are more evenly distributed in terms of finance.