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World's most expensive ever goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga goes in at one after a £72.1million move to Chelsea

Last Updated August 09 2018, 12:54Football
Kepa Arrizabalaga: The world's most expensive goalkeeper
Kepa Arrizabalaga: The world's most expensive goalkeeper

We chart the world's most expensive ever goalkeepers in the wake of some staggering recent fees for men between the sticks.

Chelsea signed Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on Wednesday by meeting his buyout clause - a world record fee for a goalkeeper of £72.1million.

That figure surpassed the £65m paid by Liverpool to Roma for Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker last month while on deadline day, Chelsea were involved in another big move for a stopper, as they sold Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid for a reported £31.5m.

Considering Gianluigi Buffon's record £32million move to Juventus back in 2001 wasn't broken until Ederson joined Manchester City from Benfina last year, it's certainly been a period where goalkeepers' value has soared.

1. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea in 2018, £72.1million

Chelsea met Kepa's 80m euro buyout clause to make the 23-year-old the world's most expensive goalkeeper. Kepa is renowned for his composure and targeted titles with Chelsea after swapping the Basque country for west London.

2. Alisson Becker, Roma to Liverpool in 2018, £65million

Brazil's number one moved to Anfield for what was a world record fee at the time, as the Reds aim to resolve a goalkeeper problem which has proved costly. Simon Mignolet and Lorus Karius, most recently in May's Champions League final, have made high-profile errors which Liverpool will hope to stop with Alisson in goal.

3. Ederson, Benfica to Manchester City in 2017, £35m

Alisson's fellow Brazilian joined City from Benfica last summer after some unconvincing displays from Claudio Bravo during the 2016-17 season. The 24-year-old quickly established himself as Pep Guardiola's first choice and impressed throughout the season, both with his shot-stopping and distribution, as City coasted to the title.

4. Gianluigi Buffon, Parma to Juventus in 2001, £32.6m

The Italian was considered a pricey upgrade on the similarly great Edwin van der Sar when, aged 23, he left Parma. Seventeen years later his stay in Turin has finally come to an end, with Buffon moving to Paris St Germain earlier this summer. In an era when there has been significant competition from Iker Casillas in particular, Buffon will likely be remembered as the greatest goalkeeper of his generation.

5. Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea to Real Madrid in 2018, £31.5m

The Belgium international was named the best goalkeeper at the Russia 2018 World Cup and the relatively modest size of his transfer fee was due to his Chelsea contract having just a year to run.

6. Jordan Pickford, Sunderland to Everton in 2017, £30m

The most expensive English goalkeeper is 24-year-old Pickford, who grew stronger during his maiden season at Goodison Park after bursting onto the scene at Sunderland. He will start the new season with his reputation - and value - significantly enhanced by a stellar showing for England at the World Cup.

7. Bernd Leno, Bayer Leverkusen to Arsenal in 2018, £22million

Leno ended seven years at Leverkusen by signing for the Gunners in June, where he will hope to replace Petr Cech as number one. The 26-year-old made more than 300 appearances for Leverkusen and was the youngest German goalkeeper to play in a Champions League match when he faced Chelsea in September 2011. Missed out on the Germany World Cup squad.

Have fees for goalkeepers got carried away?

Leicester's Kasper Schmeichel is not surprised to see goalkeepers moving for "ridiculously high" fees given the fine line between success and failure.

"I think generally transfers are ridiculously high at the moment," he told ESPN. "It was only a matter of time before goalkeepers would get in on the act, because a good goalkeeper can be the difference between winning the league and not winning the league.

"That's the market at the moment. I think the Neymar transfer was pivotal to everything. Prices became very inflated and from there it was always going to reach every position.

"You saw it with Virgil van Dijk and now with Alisson - the market value has really gone up high."

Given the current market, the £35m that Premier League champions Manchester City spent bringing Ederson Moraes over from Benfica looks good value just a year on.

"For someone, particularly at that age, to be playing fearlessly as he is, he plays with high risk and his reading of the game is exceptional," Schmeichel added.

"It's a trademark of (Pep) Guardiola. You saw exactly how he played with (Manuel) Neuer as well.

"If you can play like that, it means you can press so much higher up the pitch, meaning when the other team does eventually have to kick it long then if it goes over the centre-halves' heads then you've got a guy right behind them.

"He's basically an 11th outfield player. To be able to play like that is something that takes enormous bravery.

"To know that the line between getting it right and wrong is so thin. Any potential misstep, a fraction of a millisecond too late or too early can be the difference between costing your team. That's real bravery.

"Last season he was definitely the best goalkeeper in the league, for me."

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