Romelu Lukaku and every other player in the €100m transfer club
Romelu Lukaku has become the latest player to join an elite group of stars who have moved for more than €100 million.
The towering striker broke records at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening, when Chelsea confirmed the re-signing of their former youth prospect for no less than €115m from Inter.
The return to London makes Lukaku the seventh most expensive transfer of all time. So which other players have previously moved for €100m or more?
Neymar (Barcelona to PSG, 2017) - €222m
Neymar’s 2017 move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain smashed the world transfer record. It was not thought a deal worth €222 million was possible, given that PSG were made to pay the fee up front, yet the club’s Qatari owners came up with the goods and more than doubled the previous mark.
This was the deal that started a chain reaction of mega transfers.
Kylian Mbappe (Monaco to PSG, 2018) - €180m
Kylian Mbappe’s big-money move to PSG technically took place in 2018 given that his first year at the club was on loan. Mbappe has gone on to justify the deal by becoming a leader at Parc des Princes, though he is presently embroiled in a contract wrangle and his future is unclear.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool to Barcelona, 2018) - €145m
With Barca desperate to find a replacement for Neymar, they ultimately turned to Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, yet this has proven one of the great flop transfers in footballing history. Not only did Barca overpay in the January window, they saw Coutinho’s form drop off a cliff.
Joao Felix (Benfica to Atletico Madrid, 2019) - €126m
Joao Felix was a shining prospect at Benfica when Atletico Madrid picked him up for a staggering fee as a replacement for Antoine Griezmann. However, Felix has struggled to live up to that billing and has only 13 La Liga goals through two seasons at the club. At 21, though, he has ample time to come good.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona, 2019) - €120m
While it would be unfair to characterise Griezmann as a flop at Barcelona, he certainly has not justified the money the club invested in him. In reality, he was the wrong profile for the Catalans as he favours areas that Lionel Messi gets into.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa to Man City, 2021) - €118m
It seemed as though it would only be a matter of time before the darling of English football would make a big-money move and it finally happened in early August when Manchester City coughed up a remarkable sum to entice Jack Grealish away from his boyhood club.
Romelu Lukaku (Inter to Chelsea, 2021) - €115m
Rival fans will undoubtedly poke fun at Chelsea paying so much money for a player that was once on the club's books, but few at Stamford Bridge will worry about spending €115m on the bone fide talents that Romelu Lukaku will bring to Thomas Tuchel's side.
Ousmane Dembele (Dortmund to Barcelona, 2017) - €105m
Young, outrageously two footed and extremely dynamic, Dembele was the player that Barcelona signed to replace Neymar. Injury problems have robbed him of a chance to show his best at Camp Nou.
Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United, 2016) - €105
While Paul Pogba gets people talking, there is a sense at Manchester United that he does not do so for the right reasons. A star when given freedom for France, the Red Devils have struggled to unlock that side of his game.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid, 2019) - €100m
Real Madrid took what they felt was a calculated gamble by signing Hazard on a huge fee just a year before his deal at Chelsea ended. Hazard, however, has known only injury torment at the Bernabeu – something that had never before affected him in his career.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid to Juventus, 2018) - €100m
One of the greatest players of all time, while Juventus might have seen their star fade since Ronaldo’s arrival, that has not been the Portuguese’s fault. He is the quickest player in club history to 100 goals.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham to Real Madrid, 2013) - €100m
The first ever €100m player may now be a burden to Real Madrid, but there is no doubt that Bale has had his moments at the club. In particular, his overhead kick in the 2018 Champions League final will long be remembered.