Transfer Window: Goalkeepers strike rich

The world-record transfer fee for goalkeeper has been smashed on three separate occasions in the last 12 months.

New Chelsea and Liverpool goalkeepers Kepa Arrizabalaga and Alisson (R)   -  Getty Images

Goalkeepers, the last line of defence, never really commanded the astronomical sums the strikers went for in the football transfer window. Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon, for long, held the record for the most expensive goalkeeper when he was sold by Parma to Juventus for £32.6 million in 2001.

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That record stood the test of time for 16 years till Pep Guardiola sanctioned the £35-million move for Ederson Moares from Benfica to Manchester City.

Fast forward 12 months, and that record has already been smashed twice. This summer transfer window has seen the stock of goalkeepers rise through the ceiling. As of August 9, two of the top transfer fees shelled out by clubs are for goalkeepers.

Jurgen Klopp, who had suggested in 2016 that he would quit the game if exorbitant transfer fees became the norm rather than the exception, payed £65 million in July to sign Brazilian No. 1 Alisson from Napoli to solve Liverpool's goalkeeping woes.

Justifying his outlay, Klopp said: "The world has changed completely. Better players than we already have are not waiting around the corner. You can't get the world-class goalkeeper who had a really long contract at Roma on a free transfer."

But soon, Chelsea was paying more --  £71.6 million -- to bring in the highly-rated Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao on the penultimate day of the English transfer deadline.

The 23-year-old was the third-choice goalkeeper for Spain at the World Cup in Russia and only has one international cap to his name. Club director Marina Granovskaia justified the transfer policy pointing to the seven-year contract the Basque-born player was being tied down to.

Amidst these jaw-dropping transfer fees, Real Madrid acquired Thibaut Courtois -- one of its prime targets for the summer -- from Chelsea for nearly half the money it paid for his replacement. As a part of the deal, Los Blancos, though, has sanctioned the movement of Mateo Kovacic on a season-long loan to London.

Courtois, 26, who won the Golden Glove award at the World Cup, had just a year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge and had set his heart to join the Spanish capital side.

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