The attacking midfielder has often been the most eye-catching player during a football match due to his elegance, creativity, and technical ability.
Managers prefer to play with pacy wingers capable of stretching the play in today’s world, where speed is emphasised. As a result, top teams across Europe are using the languid no.10 less and less.
Attacking midfielders have produced some of the game’s greatest players, but they are currently a dying breed. Even players who made a name for themselves as no.10s are now playing in central midfield or on the wings.
The five most expensive attacking midfielders of all time are listed below.
James Rodriguez – €75 million (AS Monaco to Real Madrid)
Following a successful 2014 FIFA World Cup, James Rodriguez was coveted by some of the world’s most prestigious clubs. He eventually signed a €75 million deal with Real Madrid from AS Monaco.
The Colombian international had a promising start to his Real Madrid career, with his creativity and technical abilities catching the eye. Rodriguez’s minutes dwindled after Zinedine Zidane took over as manager, and the midfielder joined Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal in 2017.
For Los Blancos, the 29-year-old made 125 appearances in all competitions, scoring 37 goals and assisting on 42 occasions.
Kevin De Bruyne – €76 million (Vfl Wolfsburg to Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne, one of the best players in the world right now, has proven to be well worth the €76 million Manchester City paid Wolfsburg for his services in 2015.
De Bruyne is a key cog in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. He’s a highly creative player with excellent passing and crossing ability. The 29-year-old has 260 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring 66 goals and assisting on 106 occasions. De Bruyne recently renewed his contract with Manchester City, which will keep him at the club until 2025.
Zinedine Zidane – €77.5 million (Juventus to Real Madrid)
Zidane, an elegant attacking midfielder who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the game’s history, began his career at Cannes and Bordeaux before joining Juventus in 1996 and quickly establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.
His time with Real Madrid and the French national team, however, received the most attention. Real Madrid won La Liga and the Champions League after Zidane joined the club in 2001.
In the 2001/02 Champions League final, he scored one of the best goals in the competition against Bayer Leverkusen. He is currently in his second stint as Los Blancos manager.
Kai Havertz – €80 million (Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea)
Chelsea had a fantastic summer transfer window last year, with the acquisition of Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen for €80 million being the icing on the cake.
Havertz, regarded as one of Europe’s best young players, scored 18 goals in all competitions for Bayer Leverkusen last season, piqueing the interest of some of the world’s most powerful clubs. Chelsea was able to sign the 21-year-old, and it was clear that the club was betting big on Havertz’s enormous potential.
Havertz has had an underwhelming first season at Chelsea. In 43 appearances across all competitions, the Germany international has eight goals and nine assists.
Philippe Coutinho – €135 million (Barcelona)
Philippe Coutinho’s transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona for €135 million has to be one of the worst transfers in recent memory.
Coutinho had been in excellent form for Liverpool for some time and, at his request, Liverpool allowed him to join Barcelona for an eye-watering fee in January 2018. The Catalan club hailed the Brazil international as an ideal signing, one who would provide creativity and versatility in attack and midfield.
However, this has not been the case. The Brazilian has had a difficult time establishing himself at the club. He has made 90 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions, scoring 23 goals and assisting 14 times.