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Prelude to a sacking — Part #3: Was former Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann the most expensive coach of all time?

More doesn’t always mean better.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Joachim Bywaletz/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Just prior to his sacking at Bayern Munich, Julian Nagelsmann was subject of a debate on who the most expensive coach of all time was. Did Bayern Munich pay more for Nagelsmann than Chelsea FC paid for Graham Potter? Take a look and see...

Since Bayern Munich shelled out 25 million euros (21.7 million pounds) for RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann, it has been considered by many as the most expensive payout for a coach in the history of the sport. However, a recent report might want to challenge that.

Evening Standard journo Nizaar Kinsella on Twitter quoted Kieran Maguire’s report that Chelsea FC manager Graham Potter has overtaken Nagelsmann’s fee, with Potter’s former club Brighton and Hove Albion revealing their accounts to show that Chelsea paid them…21.5 million pounds.

They don’t add up, right? So, it’s time to debunk this myth.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Who really is the most expensive manager of all time?

Marca stated from the off that Nagelsmann cost Bayern 25 million euros, with sources like Goal and 90min using this as well. 90min even made a list of the most expensive coaches in the wake of Potter’s signing and they still put Nagelsmann in first. However, other sources use the figure of 20 million euros (such as Transfermarkt, Reuters, and Give Me Sport); Reuters stated that Bayern would have paid a fee “exceeding“ 20 million euros. Aljazeera reported that the figure was apparently between 20 and 30 million euros. Something that then-Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff did not deny.

What’s interesting to note is that the mention of “bonus clauses” appeared in the report by 90min:

However, the German champions have thrashed out a deal which will see Nagelsmann move to Bayern on 1 July 2021, with the agreement potentially netting RB Leipzig up to €25m should all the bonus clauses be triggered.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Looks like it’s down to the maths. I’ll be computing the exchange rates on the dates that the coaches’ transfers were announced.

Potter joined Chelsea on September 8, 2022. The exchange rate on that day, between Euro and Pound, is reportedly 0.869 Pounds = 1 EUR. Multiply that by 23 million euros and you get 19.9 or 20 million pounds. Nagelsmann’s move to Bayern was announced April 27, 2021 and the exchange on that date was also 0.869 Pounds = 1 EUR. Multiply that by the initial 20 million euros and you get 17.3 million pounds.


It appears that Nagelsmann will have to accede to Potter being more expensive than him. At the end of the day, Nagelsmann is miles better and will one day wrestle back the throne once those performance-based bonus clauses are triggered. [Editor’s note: Not exactly possible now ...]

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