The first name on any given team sheet does not have to be the goalkeeper, but it is a good place to start. Find yourself a reliable last line of defence, and that is one important box ticked off.
Security and reliability between the sticks can be worth their weight in gold. That is why some big money has changed hands in recent times when it comes to the pursuit of proven No.1s.
Teams at the highest level, such as those figuring prominently in EPL tips this week as precious points come up for grabs – with Manchester City -300 to defend their Premier League title this season and Liverpool +600 to take that crown to Anfield – are aware of the value that a commanding custodian brings to their ranks.
With that in mind, here are the 10 most expensive goalkeepers of all time:
10 – Alex Meret
Having caught the eye across two productive seasons on loan at SPAL, Meret – who is now a senior international with Italy – completed a $26.1 million switch from Udinese to Napoli in 2018.
9 – Francesco Toldo
A man who enjoys legend status at both Fiorentina and Inter moved between two Serie A heavyweights for $26.6 million in 2001 as part of a merry-go-round involving Gianluigi Buffon, Sebastien Frey, and Edwin van der Sar.
8 – Jordan Pickford
The man who is now firmly established as England’s go-to goalkeeping option left his native North East when swapping life at Sunderland for that at Everton in a €28.6 million deal in the summer of 2017.
7 – Manuel Neuer
10 years ago today @Manuel_Neuer arrived at Bayern Munich.— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 1, 2021
German Cup ?????
German Supercup ?????
Champions League ??
UEFA Super Cup ??
FIFA Club World Cup ??
An institution. pic.twitter.com/mH5rL4hygk
He may not have been considered the best keeper on the planet when leaving Schalke for Bayern Munich in 2011 for $30 million but said standing was soon established at the Allianz Arena.
6 – Thibaut Courtois
Having impressed on loan at Atletico Madrid, Courtois made it clear in 2018 that he wanted to return to Spain from Chelsea – with Real Madrid eventually paying $35 million for his services.
5 – Jasper Cillessen
The Netherlands international only took in five La Liga appearances for Barcelona, but they were still able to generate $35 million when offloading him to domestic rivals Valencia in 2019.
4 – Ederson
A $40 million fee changed hands with Pep Guardiola finally found the ball-playing goalkeeper he was after for Manchester City in 2017 – with Ederson proving to be worth every penny.
3 – Gianluigi Buffon
He smashed the world record for a goalkeeper transfer in 2001 when leaving Parma for Juventus in a $53 million agreement, with 17 memorable years then spent in Turin while also winning the 2006 World Cup.
2 – Alisson
Liverpool had been struggling in the keeping department for some time prior to splashing out $62.8 million on Alisson in 2018, with the Brazil international proving to be a vital piece in a trophy-winning jigsaw.
1 – Kepa Arrizabalaga
What is your honest opinion of Kepa Arrizabalaga? pic.twitter.com/tasfuArZMk— GOAL (@goal) July 26, 2020
Moving in the same window as Alisson left Roma for Anfield, Chelsea raised the transfer bar even further when investing $80.4 million in Athletic Bilbao star Kepa – with questions asked about how much value they have found.
Transfer deals can always be considered something of a gamble, with the plan being to make such deals as calculated as possible. Many of those to figure on a big-spending roll of honor have been hits for their respective buyers, but there has been the odd miss as well and more expensive risks are likely to be taken in the years to come.