How football has changed since the turn of the century. The beautiful game, where once only on-field performances mattered, has seen a drastic change of approach. An influx of billionaires and popular names around the world have desired the taste of action in football which has shifted the paradigm of the game.
The biggest football sale was completed in recent memory(more on that later), with Everton being the latest club that has been put up for sale by owner Farhad Moshiri. Buying football clubs isn’t always plain sailing for potential buyers and neither for the club itself.
In most cases, a boyhood fan wants to buy their beloved club they once dreamed of – speaking of Sir Jim Ratcliffe. It hasn’t always been a boyhood fan ending up buying the club, and the most significant sales in football suggest just that. FootTheBall looks at some of the most expensive club sales in football history.
5. Valencia (2014) – Sold to Peter Lim for £345 million
Peter Lim, a Singaporean business tycoon had purchased Valencia in 2014 for a whooping £345m. That amount was divided into two components, after a lengthy spell of negotiations between all parties involved. The billionaire spent nearly £200m to buy the club and a further £140m was spent to build a new stadium for the Spanish outfit
After initially buying out just 71% of the stake at Valencia, Lim went on to get complete stakes at the La Liga club. Valencia haven’t seen any change of fortunes even under the new ownership and have only had one silverware under Lim’s tenure.
The Spanish outfit won the 2019 Copa del Rey but that is as far as they have got. Rumours came circling in 2020 that Lim had put the club up for sale but those reports have since been dismissed by the Singaporean.
Pelé record looks untouchable🙌
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) January 22, 2023
4. Arsenal (2018) – Sold to Stan Kroenke for £600 million
Arsenal have had a rollercoaster of a 21st century. From Arsene Wenger’s invincibles to Mikel Arteta’s young charges leading the Premier League table, at the halfway point, and then collapsing at the business end – a lot has happened.
In the 2010s, most of the Gunners’ success can be credited to their current owner Stan Kroenke. While the American Businessman wasn’t part of Arsenal’s Invincible achievement, Kroenke has played more than a bit-part role in the success at the latter stages.
Kroenke had initially purchased some shares at Arsenal in 2011 and then went on to take full control of the club in 2018. He later officially announced that he is the sole new owner of the Emirates-based club and will play a broader role in driving the club to new heights. The American businessman also owns other franchises like Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, NFL side Los Angeles Rams and NBA franchise Denver Nuggets.
3. Manchester United (2005) – Sold to The Glazers for £800 million
Well, what could have been of Manchester United, had The Glazers not purchased the club in 2005? After the Red Devils’ takeover in 2005, it became the most expensive takeover in the history of football up until 2022.
The Glazers did bring a whole lot of success at Old Trafford but that was only til the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge. Post his retirement the club have won the odd trophy here and there, but the heights under previous management were never matched.
In late 2022, Glazers officially put Manchester United up for sale and 10 months later, there are still no signs of any takeover. Even if the Red Devils have been one of the most profitable teams off the field in recent history, their on-field performances haven’t been able to match the same levels. The Glazers also reportedly value Man Utd at a stunning £5 billion
2. AC Milan (2022) – Sold to RedBird Capital Partners for £1.1 billion
AC Milan are the most successful club in Italian football history. They were running riot, both domestically and internationally up until 2009. Since then they have had a rough patch which ended recently in 2021, where they won their first league title in 11 years under Stefano Pioli. A decade-long time suggests the club’s struggles both on and off the field.
Watching them lift a trophy after more than a decade, RedBird Capital Partners came calling. The firm led by director Gerry Cardinale, acquired AC Milan in 2022 from Elliott Management Corporation. The rebuilding has begun behind the scenes and in the first-team squad, as the Serie A giants look to capitalize on their semi-final run in the 2023 UCL campaign.
1. Chelsea (2022) – Sold to Todd Boehly & Clearlake Capital for £4.25 billion
The summer that changed the fortunes of the club. In the off-season of 2022, Roman Abramovic was forced to put his beloved club, Chelsea, up for sale. The ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia was a big reason that forced the Russian oligarch’s hand into it.
Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital created a consortium in the hope of buying the Blues. After months of negotiation and difficulties, Chelsea finally had a new owner. Chelsea’s new owners Todd Boehly, along with Clearlake Capital, invested a mammoth £4.25B to buy the club. Chelsea have been a busy club under the new owners, and the Blues’ unique transfer strategy says it all.