Quiz! Can you name the 50 most valuable free transfers ever?

Lionel Messi
(Image credit: Getty)

Ten minutes on the clock, 50 players to guess.

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When Mesut Ozil was running down his Arsenal deal, Arsene Wenger claimed that we would see more players leaving on free transfers in the future – and not just from Arsenal. 

“Why? Because the transfers are so high, even for normal players,” the Frenchman told reporters.  “You will see more and more players going into the final year of the contract because no club will want to pay the amount demanded... in the next 10 years, it will become usual.”

He was right, too. Last season saw a flurry of transfer activity at the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain with very few bank transfers actually being exchanged. Free transfers are all the rage these days – and as Paul Pogba, Antonio Rudiger and others look set to become free agents, it doesn't look like changing.

With transfer season almost upon us, let's look back at some of the biggest free deals ever. We've found the value of the biggest-ever free transfers – according to Transfermarkt. This is how much clubs missed out on when these players left for nothing…


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Mark White
Content Editor

Mark White has been at on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, first as a staff writer before becoming content editor in 2023. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also represented FFT at both FA Cup and League Cup finals (though didn't receive a winners' medal on either occasion) and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He has written cover features for the mag on Mikel Arteta and Martin Odegaard, and is assisted by his cat, Rosie, who has interned for the brand since lockdown.