Inter’s 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Cameron Smith
Romelu Lukaku, Inter, 2022/23
© ProShots

With achievements such as their treble win in 2010, and legendary players like 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.

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With all this success, they’ve managed to attract world-class players to the San Siro, some of whom came at a pricier cost than others.

Below, FootballTransfers lists Inter’s 10 most expensive signings of all time.

10. Alessandro Bastoni – €31.1m (from Atalanta, 2017)

Inter were so confident in Alessandro Bastoni‘s ability they splashed over €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, before he was given his break on loan at Parma.

Alessandro Bastoni, Inter
© ProShots – Alessandro Bastoni, Inter

He returned to Inter for the 2019-20 campaign and became a key part of their backline, helping the club win the 2021 Serie A title under Antonio Conte.

9. Nicolo Barella – €32.5m (from Cagliari, 2020)

After progressing through the Cagliari youth system, Nicolo Barella emerged onto the Serie A stage in 2016-17 and after three years of consistent form, he joined Inter on loan in 2019.

One year later, the Italian giants made the deal permanent for €32.5m and Barella has gone from strength-to-strength ever since.

His first season as a permanent player at San Siro saw Inter emerge triumphant in the Serie A title race, while he helped the side reach the 2023 Champions League final.

8. Milan Skriniar – €34m (from Sampdoria, 2017)

Signed in the same summer as Alessandro Bastoni, Milan Skriniar became a key player upon walking through the door at Inter and he played every single league minute in his debut campaign.

After that, the Slovakian established himself as one of the outstanding centre-backs in Europe, helping Inter to win their first Scudetto since 2010 when they were victorious in the 2020-21 season under Antonio Conte.

Milan Skriniar left Inter in 2023
© ProShots – Milan Skriniar left Inter in 2023

Skriniar joined Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract in 2023 but he left as one of of Inter’s most successful signings in recent years.

7. Geoffrey Kondogbia – €36m (from Monaco, 2015)

This was a move that was certainly not money well spent. Geoffrey Kondogbia arrived at Inter during a period in which the club were extremely disappointing.

They finished eighth in the season before he joined, and whilst he helped them climb back to fourth during his first year, Inter fell back down to seventh the following season.

He was then loaned and subsequently sold to Valencia for €22m 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 – €38m (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 €38m 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 times and grabbed three assists in his first Serie A campaign for Inter, but he then moved to Cagliari on loan to be closer to his wife.

Nainggolan spent both the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 seasons at Cagliari, before leaving permanently to return to Belgium in the summer of 2021.

5. Hernan Crespo – €40m (from Lazio, 2002)

In 2002, after selling Ronaldo to Real Madrid, Inter picked up a more than adequate replacement in the form of Hernan Crespo.

The move ensured Inter poached another top centre-forward from the Biancocelesti, after signing Christian Vieri in 1999.

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

He was sold to Chelsea just one year after joining Inter, a decision that was criticised by team-mate Vieri, with whom the Argentine had formed a formidable partnership.

4. Achraf Hakimi – €43m (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 system – 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 €68m to acquire his services.

Achraf Hakimi joined PSG in 2021
© ProShots – Achraf Hakimi joined PSG in 2021

3. Joao Mario – €44.8m (from Sporting CP, 2016)

Much like many 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 during the 2018-19 campaign, Mario 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.

2. Christian Vieri – €46.5m (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, Lazio would only enjoy him for a single season as a year later he became the most expensive player in history, at the time, joining Inter for a world record fee of €46.5m.

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

1. Romelu Lukaku – €74m (from Man Utd, 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.

Romelu Lukaku joined Roma on loan in 2023
© ProShots – Romelu Lukaku joined Roma on loan in 2023

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 back to former club Chelsea for €113m in 2021 due to their financial crisis, but that deal proved a masterstroke as the Belgian returned to Inter on loan one year later after a poor stint at Stamford Bridge.

The 10 most expensive Inter signings of all time

Player From Fee Year
1. Romelu Lukaku Man Utd €74m 2019
2. Christian Vieri Lazio €46.5m 1999
3. Joao Mario Sporting €44.8m 2016
4. Achraf Hakimi Real Madrid €43m 2020
5. Hernan Crespo Lazio €40m 2002
6. Radja Nainggolan Roma €38m 2018
7. Geoffrey Kondogbia Monaco €36m 2015
8. Milan Skriniar Sampdoria €34m 2017
9. Nicolo Barella Cagliari €32.5m 2020
10. Alessandro Bastoni Atalanta €31.1m 2017

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