Most expensive transfers for players aged over 30 as Salah nears world record Saudi move


Mo Salah could become the most expensive player in history today, which is a remarkable thought considering he's 31-years-old.

The vast majority of record sums have been splashed on stars in their early-to-mid 20s, with buyers typically reluctant to spend big on players either doing their coaching badges or eyeing up the comfiest punditry chair.

Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad, who are working on a £200million+ deal to bring Salah to the Gulf state, have no such qualms given that their plans for the Liverpool forward stretch well beyond his playing years.

But as strange as today's potentially record-breaking move may be, it isn't the first time a star in his 30s has been sold for a truck-load of cash. Here, Daily Star Sport runs through the 10 most expensive deals involving a 30-something-year-old to date.

Batigol' as he was known moved from Fiorentina to Roma in 1999 after smashing 203 goals in nine seasons for the Florence-based club.

The £31m fee was the highest sum any club had ever paid for a player in his 30s at the time, and was a record that would stand for nearly two decades.

Mats Hummels was one of several elite Dortmund players to be pinched by Bayern Munich at the peak of his powers, but Dortmund managed to coax him back a few years later.

The 30-year-old was still one of the world's best defenders at the time so £32m felt like a pretty good a deal - until you remember they lost him for free three years prior.

Belgian midfielder Rajda Nainggolan was one of those players continuously linked with a big-money move somewhere, but he didn't manage to actually get one until he entered his 30s.

He moved from Roma to Inter Milan in 2018, but spent just one season at San Siro before being loaned out to Cagliari for a couple of years, and agonisingly missed Inter's Scudetto-winning campaign in 2020/21.

Given the way his Tottenham career panned out it was a genuine shock to see Paulinho being paraded around Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium in 2017.

The Brazilian had spent the past three years wasting away in China but was parachuted into Catalonia as part of the club's hopeless reinvestment of the money they got for Neymar that summer. He moved back to China a year later.

Like Nainggolan, Kalidou Koulibaly was perennially linked to some of the biggest clubs in Europe, and finally got his move when Chelsea bought him from Napoli in 2022 … though it quickly turned into a bit of a disaster.

Not only did the Senegalese defender struggle for form during a torrid whirlwind of a season for everyone at Stamford Bridge, but Napoli went on to win their first Serie A title in over 30 years without him. He joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal this summer.

Despite starting his career at Inter Milan and then spending the bulk of his peak years at Juventus, Leonardo Bonucci made the shocking decision to force a move to AC Milan in the summer of 2017 after falling out with Juve boss Max Allegri.

He was named captain of the Rossoneri, but lasted just one season at the club before returning to Juventus via a swap deal with Mattia Caldara.

Another man who forced his way out of the club he'd given his best years to was Robert Lewandowski, who left Bayern Munich in dramatic fashion to join Barcelona in 2022.

The Polish striker had grown disillusioned with life at the Allianz Arena and although Bayern were desperate to keep the man who'd scored 344 goals in 375 games for them, they reluctantly agreed a £43m deal for the 34-year-old.

Very little summed up Barcelona's maddening post-Neymar splurging than their decision to splash £56m on 30-year-old Miralem Pjanic in 2020.

The Juventus midfielder basically just blended in with the furniture in Turin, and barely got a sniff when he arrived at the Camp Nou. Like Paulinho before him, he was gone a year later, first to Besiktas on loan and later on a permanent deal to UAE side Sharjah.

Juventus broke the Italian transfer record to bring 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo to Turin in 2018, ending his incredible nine-year association with Real Madrid.

The Portugal superstar scored plenty of goals for the club and won a few trophies but his time there was marred by suggestions his presence in the team stunted its tactically effectiveness - illustrated, some would claim, by Juve's noticeable and continually domestic decline over Ronaldo's three season stint.

Bayern Munich finally signed a replacement for Lewandowski after bringing Harry Kane to the club just a few days after the former Tottenham striker's 30th birthday this summer.

The England skipper has made a flying start to his career at the Allianz so far, scoring three goals in his first three starts for the club, including a double in his home debut against Augsburg.

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