Inter's 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith 9 Feb 2022 15:09 GMT 6 min read
Inter striker Romelu Lukaku

With achievements such as their treble win in 2010, and legendary players such as Ronaldo and Javier Zanetti, Inter Milan are engrained as one of the world's biggest clubs.

With success in Italy dating back to their 1909/10 title, they have been a force to be reckoned with for decades, and they even managed to win five Serie A titles in a row between 2005/06 and 2009/10, despite being challenged by an exceptional AC Milan side.

With all this success, they've managed to attract world-class players to the San Siro, but who are their 10 most expensive signings of all time?

10. Gabriel Barbosa - £26.5m (from Santos, 2016)

Edging out Joaquin Correa and Diego Milito to be included in this list, it's fair to say that Gabriel Barbosa experienced far less success at Inter than his fellow South American striker. Whilst Milito helped fire Inter to the aforementioned treble in 2010, Barbosa managed just 214 minutes and one goal for the club.

Much was expected upon his arrival from Brazil, but he was rarely ever used by either Frank De Boer or Stefano Pioli. After being sent on loan to Benfica for the first half of 2017/18, back to Santos for the entirety of 2018, and to Flamengo for the whole of 2019, Barbosa was sold to Flamengo on a permanent deal for £15.7 million.

Not only did he fail to produce, but 'Gabigol' lost Inter just over £10m in transfer fees; it was not a good move.

9. Alessandro Bastoni - £28m (from Atalanta, 2017)

Inter were so confident in Alessandro Bastoni's ability that they splashed nearly £30m on an 18-year-old with just three Serie A appearances to his name. Even when loaned back to Atalanta for the 2017/18 season, Bastoni only made a further four league appearances, but after a loan move to Parma, Bastoni returned to Inter and is now a regular.

He's seen as one of the best young central defenders in the world, and as a left-footed centre-half, his value is astronomical. Unlike Barbosa, if Inter were to sell, they'd make a huge profit on the Italian.

8. Milan Skriniar - £30.6m (from Sampdoria, 2017)

Signed in the same summer as Bastoni, Milan Skriniar was immediately a regular, unlike his current teammate, and he played every single league minute in his debut campaign.

Since then, the Slovakian has established himself as one of the outstanding centre-backs in Europe, and a move away has always been reported. He's stayed at the San Siro however, and helped Inter to win their first Scudetto since 2010 when they were victorious in the 2020/21 season under Antonio Conte.

It's been money well spent.

7. Geoffrey Kondogbia - £32.5m (from Monaco, 2015)

This was a move that was certainly not money well spent. Geoffrey Kondogbia arrived in Milan at a period in which Inter were extremely disappointing. They finished eighth in the season before he joined, and whilst he helped them climb back to fourth in his first year, the following season they were back down in seventh.

He was then loaned and subsequently sold to Valencia for £20m in the summer of 2018. In total, Kondogbia played 56 times for Inter, and although he recouped some of his transfer fee, it was most certainly a poor move for the club.

6. Radja Nainggolan - £34m (from Roma, 2018)

This transfer didn't make any sense at the time, and it still doesn't. Radja Nainggolan was 30 when, for some reason, Inter decided that spending £34m on him was a good piece of business. Sure, he had scored 15 goals and assisted 14 in the two league seasons prior to the move, but he was an ageing player, who wouldn't be able to contribute for long.

He netted six and grabbed three assists in Serie A in his first year for Inter, but he then moved to Cagliari on loan to be closer to his wife. He spent both the 2019/20 and the 2020/21 season at Cagliari, before leaving permanently to return to Belgium in the summer of 2021.

Nainggolan's fee equated to £1m for every 74 minutes of action on the pitch; that's excessive to say the least.

5. Hernan Crespo - £36m (from Lazio, 2002)

In the summer of 2002, after selling Ronaldo to Real Madrid, Inter picked up another player who had previously broken the record for the most expensive transfer.

This time it was Hernan Crespo of Lazio as Inter poached another top centre-forward from the Biancocelesti, after signing Christian Vieri in 1999.

He scored 16 goals in 30 appearances for Inter, though the second half of his debut season was marred by injury.

Crespo would be sold to Chelsea just a year later in a move which was criticised by team-mate Vieri with whom the Argentine had formed a formidable partnership.

4. Joao Mario - £36m (from Sporting CP, 2016)

Much like several on this list, Joao Mario cost Inter an awful lot, yet they didn't receive much in return. He was 23 when he made the move from Portugal to Italy and upon arrival he featured fairly regularly.

He made 30 Serie A appearances in his first campaign, scoring three and assisting five, but was less heavily relied on in 2017/18. He spent the second half of that season on loan at West Ham.

After becoming a rotation option at Inter for 2018/19, he was loaned to Lokomotiv Moscow and subsequently back to Sporting CP for their title winning season in 2020/21. He was released in the summer of 2021.

3. Achraf Hakimi - £40m (from Real Madrid, 2020)

After two excellent seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Inter splashed the cash on the ideal right wing-back for Antonio Conte's 3-5-2, Achraf Hakimi.

Viewed as a bargain by many at the time, Hakimi scored seven goals and assisted nine in all competitions as he helped Inter win the Serie A title in his debut campaign.

Seen as one of the best attacking full-backs of his generation, Hakimi was perfectly suited to Conte's system, although doubts about his defensive qualities emerged.

Unfortunately for Inter, the club were forced to sell him after just one season to PSG due to financial problems. The Ligue 1 side paid up to €70m for his services.

2. Christian Vieri - £42m (from Lazio, 1999)

After impressing for Atletico Madrid and then at the 1998 World Cup with Italy, the aforementioned Vieri completed a big money move to Lazio.

However, the capital club would only enjoy him for a single season as a year later he would become the most expensive player in history at the time, joining Inter for a world record fee of 90 billion Italian Lira (around £36m today).

The Italian striker would go on to score a fantastic 123 goals in 190 appearances for the Nerazzurri and enjoyed striking partnerships with the likes of Ronaldo, Crespo and Adriano.

1. Romelu Lukaku - £67m (from Manchester United, 2019)

After being unfairly criticised during his time at Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku moved to Inter for a huge sum of money, but instantly hit the ground running.

He scored 34 goals and assisted six in his debut campaign, forming an incredible strike partnership with Lautaro Martinez. In his second season, his goals fired Inter to glory as his 24 league strikes, second only to Cristiano Ronaldo's 29 in Serie A, and 11 assists ensured the Nerazzurri won the title.

Inter were forced to sell Lukaku in the summer of 2021 to former club Chelsea for £97m due to the clubs's financial crisis. He has since struggled in west London and is keen for a return to Milan, but the Inter fans have quickly fallen out of love with the 28-year-old and would not welcome him back.