Non-negotiables: Antonio Conte - "Nobody ever gave me something for free"Oct 4 | 4 min read
Marc Cucurella joins Chelsea: The top five most expensive full-backs of all time
We run down the top five most expensive full-backs of all time following Marc Cucurella's move to Chelsea.
The first day of the new Premier League season starts with one of the summer’s biggest and most expensive signings just a few hours before the big kick off.
Marc Cucurella’s £60m move from Brighton to Chelsea makes him the most expensive full-back in Premier League history. But where does this transfer put him on the list of most expensive full-backs in the world?
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: £50m from Crystal Palace to Manchester United
From the age of 11, Aaron Wan-Bissaka had been progressing through the ranks at Selhurst Park, even spending some time as a winger.
Then in February 2018, the local lad made his Premier League debut for the injury-ravaged Eagles. Despite losing that match against Spurs 1-0, Wan-Bissaka kept his spot in the team and in March won Palace’s Player of the Month award. The next season he won that same award four times, resulting in winning Palace’s Player of the Season award too.
A £45m (with £5m in add-ons) move to Manchester United followed for the tough-tackling defender. And it was his tackling and defensive abilities which impressed under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. In 2019, Wan-Bissaka even held the record for the Manchester United player with the highest average tackles per game over the previous 13 seasons.
Concern around Wan-Bissaka’s attacking effectiveness remain and his position in the team isn’t assured with new manager Erik ten Hag at the helm.
Kyle Walker: £50m from Spurs to Manchester City
The Sheffield-born defender spent ten days as the world’s most expensive defender, before Manchester City splashed the cash even bigger on fellow full-back Benjamin Mendy.
Having spent eight years at Tottenham, Walker fell out of favour with coach Mauricio Pochettino after deciding it was time to move on. Under the Argentine’s stewardship, Spurs had transformed into a dynamic footballing force, with both full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker contributing to the team’s attacking threat. Walker’s pace, power and athleticism prompting Pep to make his move.
Still, at £50m it looked like both clubs were doing well out of the deal. Walker now has four Premier League trophies in the five years he’s spent at the club, so it worked out very well for Pep and the player.
Benjamin Mendy: £52m from Monaco to Manchester City
Benjamin Mendy was signed by Manchester City during a period when the club seemed intent on blowing their budget on full-backs. Just ten days earlier Pep sanctioned the signing of Tottenham and England right-back Kyle Walker, now they’d captured Mendy to perform a similar role on the other side of the pitch.
Mendy had impressed for Monaco the previous season, where his powerful, marauding runs had helped the club score over 100 goals on their way to clinching Ligue 1. It was a special group of players that lifted Monaco’s first title for 17 years, including Mendy’s future City colleague Bernardo Silva and soon-to-be-superstar Kylian Mbappe.
Injuries and off-field issues have plagued Mendy’s City career. In five seasons he’s played just 50 games for the club and his contract comes to an end in 2023.
Marc Cucurella: £60m from Brighton to Chelsea
On Friday, 5 August – the first day of the new Premier League season – Marc Cucurella secured his move from Brighton to Chelsea, for a Premier League record £60m.
It came after a day of confusion when lots of journalists and news outlets were confirming the deal, before Brighton put out a statement to tell everyone to hold their horses. What followed was a weird game of one-upmanship between the two clubs on social media.
Cucurella had long looked like he was moving to Manchester City for around the £40m mark. Pep is a big fan of the long-haired Spanish defender. But with Brighton unwilling to let him go at that price Chelsea struck a deal, which could reach up to £62m with add-ons.
Cucarella joined Brighton from Getafe, having developed his game through Barcelona’s ranks. Last season Cucurella won more tackles than anyone else in the league, ranked first for ball recoveries and second for the amount of times he won possession in the final third of the pitch. He also created 42 chances for The Seagulls – the fifth highest in the league. Chelsea have got their hands on a great all-round left-back.
Lucas Hernandez: £68m from Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich
At £68m, Lucas Hernandez is the most expensive full-back on the planet, and the only one not playing in the Premier League. But for that fee Bayern Munich got a defender who is equally capable at both left-back and centre-back. Two for the price of one.
With Diego Simeone as his manager at Atletico Madrid, It’s not surprising that the youth-team graduate grew into a defensive brick wall. When Hernandez joined Bayern, Simeone even commented that the move would hurt Atleti even more than the sale of their star striker Antoine Griezmann.
On the international front, Hernandez won the World Cup in 2018 with France, playing every game as left-back.