Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has today joined Chelsea on a five-year deal from Inter Milan in a club-record transfer worth £97.5 million, making him the most expensive footballer in history by way of his accumulated transfer fees. His transfer fee is slightly lower than that of Jack Grealish, a £100 million acquisition of Manchester City.
Lukaku first joined Chelsea as an 18-year-old from Belgian side Anderlecht in 2011 for £18 million, appearing for the club 15 times before going on a number of loans and leaving for Everton permanently in 2013 for £28 million. Lukaku established himself as an elite goalscorer for Everton, scoring 87 goals in 166 games before moving on to Manchester United for £76 million. Lukaku endured a frustrating spell at Old Trafford, spending two seasons before moving to Inter Milan for £74 million. In his time at Inter Milan, Lukaku scored 64 goals in 95 games, leading the side to a first Scudetto in 10 years. Chelsea paid a handsome fee of £97.5 million to bring back Lukaku, taking his total transfer fee to £293.5 million, the most for a single player ever. Neymar is second on the list of the most expensive players as his two transfers have cost a total of £279 million, and Cristiano Ronaldo has cost £207 million over three transfers. Lukaku is also the all-time top scorer for the Belgium national team with 64 goals in 98 matches. The striker reached the milestone of 300 career goals at the age of 27 and is 20th on the all-time English Premier League scoring charts.
Lukaku’s move to Chelsea would earn him around €12 million per annum, and the striker stated that he was happy to return home after a long time away. He reiterated that he had come to the club as a kid with so much to learn in 2011 and has gone on to experience numerous ups and downs in his career that culminated in his return to the club he holds dear. Chelsea had a problem of scoring goals last season, with their highest goal scorer in the Premier League being midfielder Jorginho with a measly seven goals. The Blues were close to signing Lukaku in 2017 before he moved to Manchester United, but his then-agent Mino Raiola wanted to collect a fee deemed unreasonable by the club. Chelsea ultimately signed Alvaro Morata, while Lukaku moved to Old Trafford.
Lukaku is highly valued by Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel, who was instrumental in convincing the striker to join his team by speaking directly to him over the phone. There is the belief that the Belgian would be the perfect solution to the goalscoring issues that have plagued Chelsea over the last few years. Lukaku has been handed the number 18 shirt he donned in his first stint at the club and would be unavailable for the first match of the season against Crystal Palace. He should be ready for the second match against Arsenal on August 21st.