Managers Who Spent the Most Money in Football

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 2.10.2023.

Everyone is using the same tactics board, yet the playing fields for managers are far from equal. Some are keeping the teams together on a string budget, others are lavishly solving all of their problems by pointing at the transfer market. The myth that money can’t buy success can be proven but also in a way disproven by the list of managers who spent the most money in football.

Sure, the names in the top 10 of managers who spent the most money in football are pretty much the most well-known in the sport. Yet not all of them have the trophy haul to justify the funds used to back them up. Opening up the conversation about time at the helm being a valid variable used to judge the performances.

As well as the competition levels. We discuss all that individually as we go through the 10 managers who spent the most money in football. With an important caveat that sometimes, the managers aren’t the ones who pull the trigger on a move. It happens that the moves are done by the directors of football or sporting directors.

#10 football manager biggest spender: Jurgen Klopp - €1,130,000,000

Jurgen Klopp

Even though he is in the top 10 managers who spent the most money in football, one could easily say Jurgen Klopp is an overachiever. With the level of his success - breaking the Premier League curse with Liverpool, reaching two Champions League finals, and winning one - Klopp achieved more than most of the men on this list. The most Liverpool gave out while Klopp was in charge was €84,650,000 for Virgil van Dijk - an investment that paid off. With Darwin Nunez at €80,000,000 and Dominik Szoboszlai at 10 million fewer still need to prove themselves. Only the 16th most expensive purchase of Klopp was made at Borussia Dortmund and only five of the top 25. Showcasing that he has a history of doing a lot - winning two Bundesliga titles and playing a CL final.

#9 football manager biggest spender: Mauricio Pochettino - €1,150,000,000

Mauricio Pochettino

Even though he hasn't had a full half-season at the helm of Chelsea, the Blues' purchases make up for five of the top seven made by clubs Pochettino was leading. Moises Caicedo's transfer for €116,000,000 being the absolute first. But the Argentinian also had a forgettable stint at Paris Saint-Germain, where he paid Achraf Hakimi €68,000,000. Yet, for all the spending Pochettino has on his resume, only three given trophies in France have been won. Alongside a Champions League final secured for Tottenham. However, most of the purchases are recent with CFC.

#8 football manager biggest spender: Antonio Conte - €1,170,000,000

Antonio Conte

It’s easy to call Conte a hypocrite because he is certainly the manager who criticized the owners of his clubs for not supporting him enough in the market. So to see him amongst the 10 managers who spent the most money in football seems odd. Yet the issue is that Conte didn’t usually get the exact players he wanted, like Radja Nainggollan at Chelsea.

Somewhat still surprisingly, only one Chelsea purchase is in Conte's top five - Alvaro Morata. With Romelu Lukaku at Inter being the priciest at €74,000,000. Richarlison and Cristian Romero to THFC make up the top five alongside Achraf Hakimi's move to Inter. The rest of the top 10 buys are all Chelsea boys.

#7 football manager biggest spender: Thomas Tuchel - €1,190,000,000

Thomas Tuchel

The German manager Thomas Tuchel has PSG's purchase of Kylian Mbappe on his resume, costing €180,000,000 which would put anyone in the top 10 of managers who spent the most money in football seemingly. However, he also has two other €100,000,000 and over purchases - Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, and Harry Kane to Bayern Munich. Of course, he is another former Chelsea manager on this list. With Tuchel having a trophy haul of championships in Germany, and France, with a CL trophy to show for himself too.

#6 football manager biggest spender: Manuel Pellegrini - €1,200,000,000

Manuel Pellegrini

Certainly the biggest surprise, yet Manuel Pellegrini was the Manchester City manager for a long time, at the moment of their blooming. He was also the Real Madrid tactician during the assembling of the second Galacticos - Cristiano Ronaldo arriving to Santiago Bernabeu for €94,000,000. As well as Kaka for €67,000,000. Despite leading these juggernauts, two West Ham purchases are in his top 10, showing the progression of the market.

#5 football manager biggest spender: Diego Simeone - €1,210,000,000

Diego Simeone

Diego Simeone lived long enough for him to become, well not a villain exactly, but certainly on the other side of the economics spectrum. Early on in his Atleti days, he was viewed as somewhat of a financial David surrounded by Goliaths. Yet more credit to him, as he slowly built up the entire club as in a video game. However, he hasn't really made the best of it, with the record signing Joao Felix (€127,000,000) failing to reach his potential at Atleti. Thomas Lemar the third biggest purchase also fell short of the fee.

#4 football manager biggest spender: Massimiliano Allegri - €1,400,000,000

Massimiliano Allegri

Another surprising inclusion, at least this high on the list. Yet Cristiano Ronaldo arriving for €117,000,000, Gonzalo Higuain for €90,000,000, and Dusan Vlahovic for €81,600,000 give the long-time Juventus manager a high push. Only two Milan buys are in his top 20 but the biggest takeway is that Allegri certainly doesn't have the monetary excuse for playing as he is. Especially as there is a big drop-off to the fifth-biggest managerial spender.

#3 football manager biggest spender: Carlo Ancelotti - €1,690,000,000

Carlo Ancelotti

Unsurprising that the manager who has been in the game for so long is amongst the managers who spent the most money in football. Especially as he led Bayern Munich, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid twice. His most recent purchase is the biggest, Jude Bellingham, with Gareth Bale another €100,000,000+ buy. Napoli's buy of Hirving Lozano also makes the top 10, as well as those of bringing Fernando Torres to Chelsea.

Ancelotti has won the Champions League four times, yet it has to be said that only five league titles in the top five leagues for all that time is a bit of a letdown. He did win in all of the top five leagues though, yet only once.

#2 football manager biggest spender: Jose Mourinho - €1,860,000,000

Jose Mourinho

Starting the Chelsea money boom, The Special One got the war chest to match his nickname from Roman Abramovich. Yet now, after all that time, Manchester United purchases make out the four of the top five biggest buys under Mourinho. Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku as the disappointing #1 and #2. Didier Drogba and Michael Essien are the ones in the top 10 that have paid off the most for Mourinho.

#1 football manager biggest spender: Pep Guardiola - €2,004,000,000

Pep Guardiola

It's been often the main criticism of Pep Guardiola that he has only led the best and the richest clubs. But truly, it's Manchester City. As of the top 20 buys under Pep, only two were made when he was at Barcelona. Only two Bayern Munich buys make it in the top 25 of his record incoming transfers. Jack Grealish is the top, followed by Josko Gvardiol, Ruben Dias, and Rodri. However, the top five is topped off with a Barca flop Zlatan Ibrahimovic with whom Pep had a clash of egos.

Regardless of being above most of the other managers who spent the most money in football by over €500,000,000, it’s hard to imagine any of them would’ve had the team on his level even if provided with the funds. But we will see it play out with the emergence of other massive spenders.


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