The 10 most expensive Championship players ever: Neves, Carvalho, Ritchie…

Quick Reads

Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Wolves have all paid some of the highest transfer fees that the Championship has seen.

Often clubs are desperate to get out of the second tier having had a taste of the Premier League, and some go one step further, splashing the cash to help fire them to the promised land.

In total, eight-figure fees have been seen 10 times in the Championship, and we’ve taken a look at each one.

Dwight Gayle – £10m

In Newcastle’s bid to return to the Premier League immediately after relegation in 2016, they paid Crystal Palace £10million for Gayle after he finished top scorer for the club in each of his three seasons at Selhurst Park.

The forward rattled 23 goals in 34 games as Newcastle won the Championship, but could find himself on the way out this summer after scoring just six in the Premier League.

Jordan Rhodes – £10m

Rhodes became the most expensive player outside of the top flight when he joined Blackburn Rovers for £8million in 2012, and his value has increased a further £1million with each move since, signing for Middlesbrough for £9million before they shipped him to Sheffield Wednesday for an eight-figure sum.

However, since leaving Blackburn he has failed to live up to his previous high standards for goalscoring, netting just 14 times in 75 Championship games for Boro and Wednesday.

Jonathan Kodjia – £11m

One year after joining Bristol City for just £2million, Roberto Di Matteo splashed £11million on Ivorian striker Kodjia, with add-ons meaning the fee could rise to £15million.

He equalled his 19-goal City tally in his debut season at Villa, despite making nine fewer appearances, but his 2017-18 campaign was decimated by injury.

Matt Ritchie – £11m

Scottish winger Ritchie upset the apple cart as he swapped Premier League Bournemouth for recently relegated Newcastle in 2016.

It was just over a year after his 15 goals had helped Eddie Howe’s side to the Championship title, and he netted 16 in all competitions as Rafa Benitez’s Magpies secured an immediate return to the top flight.

Rithcie then put in a string of impressive performances and bagged match-winners against Arsenal, Manchester United and Southampton to help Newcastle to a top-half finish in the Premier League.

Scott Hogan – £12m

Not content with the £11million the club had spent on Kodjia at the start of the season, new Villa boss Steve Bruce brought in Brentford forward Hogan in January 2017.

The former Rochdale and Halifax Town forward had scored 21 times in 33 Championship appearances for the Bees, but has managed just seven goals in 51 league appearances at Villa Park.

Ross McCormack – £12m

Two years after joining Fulham for £11million, Di Matteo continued his spending spree at Villa by adding £1million to McCormack’s fee after winning two successive Player of the Year awards at Craven Cottage, scoring 42 goals in two seasons.

He failed to have the same impact at struggling Villa before falling out with Bruce having reportedly missed training on numerous occasions. He was loaned to Nottingham Forest last term before spending time this season in Australia with Melbourne Victory, scoring 14 times in 14 starts.

Ahead of the play-off final against McCormack’s former club Fulham, Bruce revealed that the attacker would receive a £1million pay rise if his side were promoted to the Premier League, despite the Scot failing to register a single Championship appearance all season.

READ: Ross McCormack, the curse of Neil Warnock and the sweetest of ‘f*ck offs’

Helder Costa – £13m

Wolves’ first signing under their new owners was Costa, who joined initially on loan from Benfica in the summer of 2016.

The Fosun Group had paid a club record fee of £7million to bring Ivan Cavaleiro to the club, but smashed that the following January with the signing of Costa on a permanent deal in January 2017.

Joao Carvalho – £13.2m

Forest are set to begin a summer of spending by smashing their record transfer fee to sign Portugal under-21 midfielder Carvalho.

The Benfica man is set to arrive for just over £13million, while team-mate Diogo Goncalves will also join the club on loan as Aitor Karanka looks to build a squad to challenge in the Championship.

Britt Assombalonga – £15m

Forest’s previous record transfer was £5.5million, paid to Peterborough for the services of Assombalonga in 2014, three years before making a £10million profit as Middlesbrough spent up their cash received for Rhodes in one big purchase.

After scoring 30 in 65 for Forest, Assombalonga hit 15 goals last season as Middlesbrough reached the play-off semi-finals, although 11 of those came in the opening 18 games before heading on a career worst 14-game run without a goal, scoring just three in 2018.

Ruben Neves – £15.8m

Wolves pulled off a huge transfer coup in the summer of 2017 with the signing of Porto’s 20-year-old full international Neves, who arrived for a Championship record fee believed to be £15.8million.

Neves’ passing range and incredible ability at scoring long-range goals tore the Championship apart as his side won the division and earned promotion to the Premier League, and despite much interest, notably from Liverpool, he looks set to stay at Molineux for Wolves’ return to the top flight.


More from Planet Football

Danilo, José Izquierdo, Rúben Neves & a weekend of Thierry Henry homages

A club-by-club breakdown of wages in the Premier League & Championship

How PL teams relegated in the last decade have fared in the Championship

Can you name the 15 most expensive January transfers in PL history?



Promoted Stories