Following the recent news that Romelu Lukaku is set to return to Inter Milan this summer, we take a closer look at five expensive signings who have only spent 12 months at their club.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – £59m from Inter Milan to Barcelona (2009)
In the summer of 2009, Zlatan Ibrahimovic moved to the Camp Nou from Inter Milan. Star Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o and midfielder Alexander Hleb went the other way, while Barca paid the Italian side an extra £59m.
The Swede demonstrated his goalscoring abilities at the Spanish club, winning four trophies including the LaLiga title.
But things quickly started to sour between Ibrahimovic and manager Pep Guardiola. He believed the Spaniard prioritized Lionel Messi’s request to play through mid-attack. Ibra wanted to play through the middle.
Ibra famously confronted Guardiola by saying: “You have no balls!”
After just one season at FC Barcelona, the Swedish icon joined AC Milan on loan in 2010.
Angel di Maria – £59.7m Real Madrid to Manchester United (2014)
Following his performance as Man of the Match in the 2014 Champions League final, Angel di Maria joined Manchester United for a fee of £59.7million. This fee was a British transfer record at the time.
The Argentine got off to a good start in his Man United career. The midfielder set up some crucial goals and scored some impressive ones – his brave chip against Leicester comes to mind.
However, things went wrong for Di Maria at Man United. The midfielder suffered a slump in February 2015. The Argentine said he and his family no longer felt safe in the city.
On the football field, Di Maria’s form began to decline and he suffered a series of nagging injuries. The midfielder joined Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2015 for £44.3million. Another move is planned for him this summer.
Malcom – €41m from Bordeaux to Barcelona (2018)
Another Barcelona signing, Brazilian striker Malcom, has been underwhelming in his brief career at the Camp Nou. The Brazilian joined Spain for €41m after impressing for Bordeaux.
A multitude of clubs were after his signature and Roma even thought they had signed the Brazilian. Fans waited at the airport in Italy for the winger’s arrival, but he chose Barcelona instead.
While Barca won the La Liga title, Malcom only managed four goals in 24 games. He was substituted on many times and saw his minutes limited.
He scored against Inter Milan in the Champions League and Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey but highlights were few in Malcom’s only season at the Camp Nou. The Brazilian moved to Russian first division club Zenit in the summer of 2018 for a fee of around 40 million euros.
Carlos Tevez – Undisclosed fee from Corinthians to West Ham (2006)
West Ham paid an undisclosed fee for Carlos Tevez. Tevez signed for West Ham from Corinthians on 31 August 2006 after refusing to play for the Brazilian club.
The Argentine has been crucial for the Hammers this season, scoring the winning goal in their final-day win at Man United. That goal kept West Ham in contention, and Sheffield United were relegated as a result.
Tevez joined Man United on a two-year loan deal in the summer.
Investigations were carried out in the years following Tevez’s transfer to West Ham. They found out that the forward was partially owned by a company. That is not allowed. The Premier League handed the Hammers a record £5.5m penalty and the London club paid Sheffield United £20m in compensation for their relegation.
Romelu Lukaku – £97.5m from Inter Milan to Chelsea (2021)
Romelu Lukaku signed for Chelsea in August 2021, having just won Serie A with Inter Milan.
He last played for the Blues in 2014 and had previously played for Everton and Man United.
Lukaku scored in his second leg debut against Arsenal. He initially fitted in well with Chelsea’s team but his form soon faltered.
But after Lukaku gave a controversial interview in December, his future at Chelsea became uncertain. The Belgian criticized his appearance at Chelsea and praised how Inter Milan played to their strengths.
Chelsea didn’t like that. He fell out of favor with Thomas Tuchel, and despite an apology, the interview left a bitter aftertaste.
Lukaku saw more minutes towards the end of the season but couldn’t rediscover his goal-scoring instinct.
Lukaku will return to Inter this summer on loan. He is hoping to find his form again after a disappointing season with the Blues in Italy.
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