When discussing record-breaking transfer fees, the focus is usually on football players. Acquiring players will always be the costliest endeavor for football club owners. However, there is another type of transfer that often goes unnoticed – the transfer of coaches. While the compensations clubs must pay for managers may not reach the same levels as player prices, they should not be disregarded. Today, we will introduce you to the most expensive coach transfers.
Maurizio Sarri (From Chelsea to Juventus)
Maurizio Sarri serves as a vivid example of how an individual without a footballing background can rise to the pinnacle of the coaching profession. The Italian specialist commenced his career on the sidelines in the early 90s and had to navigate through numerous lower-division Italian teams before securing his first role at an elite club, Napoli. Sarri remained with the “Blues” for three seasons, finishing as runners-up twice and earning a commendable third-place finish in Serie A. His subsequent venture took him beyond Italy’s borders to Chelsea, where he spent a single season, albeit a successful one, clinching the Europa League title and securing third place in the Premier League. It is this transfer that earns a spot in the rankings: Sarri’s move from Chelsea to Juventus. The Italian champions had to pay a fee of €5.6 million to acquire the services of the Italian coach. While at the helm of the “Bianconeri,” Sarri triumphed in Serie A but saw his tenure last for a mere 12 months.
Ronald Koeman (From Southampton to Everton)
Renowned as both a world-class footballer and a skilled coach, Ronald Koeman has proven his abilities in the realm of football. After retiring as a player, Koeman swiftly transitioned to a managerial career, leaving his mark on notable clubs such as Ajax, Benfica, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia, the Dutch national team, Barcelona, and more. However, let’s focus on his time in England. In the 2014/15 season, Koeman took the helm at Southampton after a successful tenure at Feyenoord. Under his guidance, the “Saints” achieved impressive 7th and 6th place finishes, with the opportunity to compete in European competitions in both seasons. Koeman was awarded the prestigious “Manager of the Month” title in the Premier League three times during this period. In the beginning of the 2016/17 season, the Dutch manager made his way to Goodison Park, becoming the head coach of Everton. The transfer fee for this move was a substantial €6 million for the “Toffees”. Koeman’s debut season with Everton fared well, as he steered the team to another top-seven finish. However, the following season turned into a true ordeal. Everton endured a disappointing start, managing only two wins and suffering five losses in the first nine Premier League matches, ultimately leading to Koeman’s dismissal.
Mark Hughes (From Blackburn to Manchester City)
The managerial journey of former striker Mark Hughes began with a bang, as he took on the role of the Wales national team coach a mere two years after retiring from professional football. After five successful years leading the Welsh squad, Hughes was ready for a fresh challenge, which came in the form of Blackburn Rovers. In a swift turn of events, Hughes was appointed as the manager of Blackburn Rovers just 10 days after Graham Souness was let go, only four rounds into the 2004/05 season. During his four-year tenure, Hughes orchestrated a remarkable resurgence for the club, with Blackburn consistently securing top 10 finishes in the English elite league over three full seasons. It was during his final season with Blackburn that an extraordinary event occurred—the acquisition of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour, an ambitious Arab businessman who demonstrated his commitment to investing in the club. The swift appointment of Mark Hughes as the manager of Manchester City was one of the initial steps taken to transform the club into a formidable force. This decision was influenced not only by Hughes’ esteemed reputation but also by the substantial transfer fee of €6.2 million paid to secure his services. However, his stint at Manchester City lasted only a season and a half before he was replaced by Roberto Mancini. Subsequently, Hughes went on to manage other clubs such as Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City, and Southampton.
Brendan Rodgers (From Swansea to Liverpool)
Rodgers may not have enjoyed a stellar playing career, but he has certainly carved out a formidable path as a coach. Let’s focus on his stints at Swansea and Liverpool. The Northern Irishman took the helm at Swansea prior to the 2010/11 season, and within a span of two years, he achieved the remarkable feat of guiding them to the top flight of English football, securing an impressive 11th-place finish in their debut season. This accomplishment caught the attention of Liverpool, one of the country’s most prestigious clubs. Liverpool successfully reached an agreement with Rodgers and his team, with the compensation fee matching the figure paid for Mark Hughes several years earlier – a substantial €6.2 million. In this instance, Rodgers proved to be a far more fruitful acquisition for Liverpool than Hughes had been for Manchester City. Rodgers remained at Anfield for an impressive three and a half years, and during the 2013/14 season, the Merseyside club came agonizingly close to clinching the English title, finishing in second place by a mere two points.
Adolf Hütter (From Eintracht to Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Adolf Hütter, a fresh addition to this ranking, has yet to take the hot seat at his new club. Since 2018, Hütter has been managing Eintracht Frankfurt, and his most notable accomplishment to date is leading the team to the semi-finals of the Europa League in the 2018/19 season. However, his time at Eintracht Frankfurt might soon come to an end, as the club is currently fighting for a top-four spot in Germany, which would secure their first-ever entry into the prestigious Champions League. Nevertheless, Hütter won’t be able to witness this potential achievement firsthand because he will be embarking on a new challenge with Borussia Mönchengladbach. The ambitious club has invested €7.5 million to secure the services of the Austrian manager for the upcoming season.
Ruben Amorim (From Braga to Sporting Lisbon)
Ruben Amorim may not be a widely recognized name on this list, but his managerial journey has been marked by remarkable growth. After a stint as a peripheral player at Benfica, he transitioned into coaching and took charge of Braga’s first team in the 2019/20 season. Within just 12 months, his abilities caught the attention of Sporting Lisbon, who didn’t hesitate to pay a substantial compensation fee of €10 million to secure his services. As of now, Amorim continues to lead the “Lions” and has guided them to the top of the league standings.
Brendan Rodgers (From Celtic to Leicester City)
Here we encounter Brendan Rodgers once again, but this time it’s about his most recent move. After his departure from Liverpool, the talented manager turned his attention to one of Scotland’s dominant teams in recent years – Celtic. During his tenure there, he successfully extended their supremacy by claiming all possible titles (the league, the national cup, and the league cup) in his two full seasons. These remarkable accomplishments led to one inevitable outcome – a return to the prestigious Premier League. Even before completing his third year with Celtic, where he once again secured every available trophy, he caught the attention of Leicester City, who secured his services for an impressive sum of €10.4 million. Since joining the “Foxes,” Rodgers has continued to thrive, and in the current season, he and his squad appear even more determined to secure a coveted spot in the illustrious Champions League, having narrowly missed out on qualification in the previous campaign.
André Villas-Boas (From Porto to Chelsea)
The appointment of Portuguese manager André Villas-Boas from Porto to Chelsea sparked great expectations among the fans of the English club, who hoped he would replicate the success of his predecessor, José Mourinho. Roman Abramovich and his team surely had similar hopes, evident by the substantial €15 million compensation they paid to Porto to secure the talented and ambitious Villas-Boas. However, his tenure at Chelsea did not leave a lasting mark, as he was relieved of his duties before the conclusion of his debut season in 2011/12. Prior to his departure, André’s team found themselves in a disappointing 5th position in the league.
Julian Nagelsmann (From RB Leipzig to Bayern Munich)
The tale of the 33-year-old coach who has emerged as one of the most captivating figures in the field, despite his youth and lack of accolades, scarcely requires a detailed retelling. It is now a confirmed fact that he will take charge of Bayern Munich starting from the next season. While rumors circulate that Nagelsmann’s transfer could break records in terms of the compensation fee, that remains unsubstantiated for now. The German maestro will assume the coveted position upon meeting certain conditions, with the estimated cost of his move from Leipzig to Munich reaching €25 million. However, initially, the German champions will need to pay €15 million as part of the agreement.
Jose Mourinho (From Inter to Real Madrid)
It is only fitting that Jose Mourinho occupies the top spot in a ranking of managers and their monetary worth. What makes it even more fascinating is that his transfer occurred well ahead of most of the previously mentioned ones. This significant move took place at the conclusion of the 2009/10 season when Mourinho, at the helm of Inter, was at the pinnacle of the football world, leading the “Nerazzurri” to a historic treble. Such success instantly made Mourinho one of the most sought-after managers, and it was no surprise that one of the most illustrious clubs came knocking on his door. Real Madrid, having recently parted ways with Manuel Pellegrini, couldn’t resist the allure of Mourinho’s services. Not even the remarkable €16 million compensation fee required to terminate his contract could deter Florentino Perez from securing the Portuguese coach for the Santiago Bernabeu. Mourinho’s tenure with the “Los Blancos” spanned three seasons, but despite his best efforts, he fell short of delivering the much-coveted 10th Champions League title to the Madrid faithful. Nevertheless, his time at Real Madrid did bring an additional La Liga title, Copa del Rey, and Spanish Super Cup to his already impressive resume.