Players that have signed for two clubs twice during their careers including Romelu Lukaku
Players returning to former clubs is something that is becoming more and more common in modern day football.
But this summer’s transfer window looks set to see Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba join an illustrious group of players that signed for two clubs twice during their careers.
Manchester United have confirmed Pogba will leave as a free agent for the second time in this career and he is set to re-join Juventus on a four-year deal, according to the Mail.
The World Cup winner moved to Old Trafford as a 16-year-old in 2009 from French side Le Havre. But after three years at Manchester United, Pogba decided to leave Sir Alex Ferguson’s Reds and head for Turin in the quest to secure regular first team football.
The talented Frenchman shined for the Old Lady and after four years with the Serie A giants, Manchester United splashed out a world-record £89m, in a deal dubbed ‘Pogback’, to bring the midfielder back to M16.
But after winning two trophies in his first season back at the Theatre of Dreams, Pogba hasn’t lifted a trophy at club level for five years.
And with his contract expiring this month a second stint with the Bianconeri seemed a formality. Pogba won eight trophies during his time at the Allianz Stadium, including four Serie A titles.
United’s former number six will be eager to pick up where he left off in Italy.
Pogba will likely be joined in Italy by his former United teammate Lukaku after Chelsea reached an agreement in principle with Inter Milan that will see the Belgian re-join the Italian club on a season-long loan.
Chelsea originally signed the Belgian from Anderlecht for £20m in August 2011, but after failing to secure a place in the Blues starting XI, Lukaku was sent out on loan to West Brom and Everton.
Belgian’s all-time top scorer joined the Toffees on a permanent deal which cost the Goodison Park side £28m in 2014.
After two seasons with the Reds and 42 goals from 96 games, Lukaku joined Antonio Conte’s Inter in the summer of 2019 for £74m and became the third most expensive buy in Italian history.
He scored 64 goals in 95 appearance in his two season at the San Siro, helping the Nerazzuri to a first Scudetto since 2010 in his final term.
His form in Italy resulted in Chelsea spending £97.5m to re-sign the 29-year-old last August. But Lukaku has endured a difficult time under Thomas Tuchel, scoring 15 goals in his first season back at Stamford Bridge, eight of which came in the Premier League.
Lukaku’s struggles prompted talk of a return to Milan this summer.
With Lukaku and Pogba set to return to Italy, TBR takes a look at the players that have signed for two clubs twice during their careers.
Players that have signed for two clubs twice during their careers
Romario – Vasco and Flamengo
The Brazilian legend and 1994 World Cup winner scored goals for fun no matter which team he played for.
The clinical striker started off his club career with Vasco before moving to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven where he won the Eredivisie three times, and he scored a total of 165 goals in 167 games.
In 1993, Romario moved to Barcelona and became a vital part of Johan Cruyff’s star-studded side, developing a lethal partnership with Hristo Stoichkov.
Romario won La Liga in his first season and finished the 1993-94 campaign as the league’s top scorer with 30 goals from 33 games. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1994 after being runner-up in 1993.
In 1995, Romario returned to his homeland to play for Flamengo where he spent a season before making the move to La Liga once again with Valencia.
But one of the greatest players of all time returned to Flamengo twice during his time at the Mestalla with his second move being a permanent deal after a prior loan spell.
Romario re-joined Vasco in 2000 and he was reunited with fellow international striker Edmundo. The pair combined to devastating effect to beat European champions Manchester United 3-1 in the 2000 FIFA Club World Championship, Romario scoring twice and Edmundo scoring the third.
From 2002 until 2004, he played for Fluminense. In February 2003, Romario signed a lucrative three-month contract in Qatar with Al Sadd but after a disappointing barren spell in front of goal he returned to Fluminense.
Romario would return to Vasco – the club where it all began for a third time in 2005. After spells in America and Australia – Romario would embark on a fourth chapter with Vasco in January 2007.
In May 2007, after scoring a penalty – it was claimed that Romario had scored his 1000th professional goal, but there was some controversy surrounding the accuracy of the figure given that his goals in junior, friendly and non-official games may have been included.
However, following the landmark goal, Vasco da Gama unveiled a statue of Romario at the Estádio São Januário.
With 55 goals in 70 appearances, Romário is the fourth-highest goalscorer for the Brazil national team, behind Pelé, Neymar and Ronaldo.
Romario, who had a spell being manager of Vasco, played his last game in November 2009.
Jermain Defoe – Tottenham, Bournemouth and Sunderland
Defoe showcased his burgeoning talented with 19 goals from 31 games during a loan spell with Bournemouth in 2000-01.
After five years at West Ham United which brought 41 goals from 105 games, Defoe got his move to Tottenham Hotspur in February 2004 at the age of 21.
Defoe spent four-and-a-half seasons with Spurs and during that time had to battle for game time alongside the likes of Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent.
In his first stint at Spurs, Defoe scored 64 goals from 176 games before moving to Portsmouth in January 2008 and linking up with his former Hammers boss Harry Redknapp.
After only a year with Pompey, Defoe followed Redknapp to White Hart Lane and made his return to Spurs in January 2009.
During his second chapter with Spurs, Defoe scored 79 goals from 186 games and he is sixth on Tottenham’s all-time scorers list with 143 goals.
In January 2014, Defoe headed for the MLS with Toronto FC but he only spent a year in America before moving back to England.
In January 2015, Defoe signed for Sunderland in a deal which saw Jozy Altidore move the other way. After two-and-a-half years with the Black Cats, Defoe re-joined Bournemouth following the Stadium of Light side’s relegation to the Championship. Defoe scored 37 goals from 93 games for the red and whites.
Defoe’s winner for Bournemouth against Brighton in September 2017 meant the striker had scored in 17 different Premier League seasons.
But after only making eight appearances for Bournemouth in the 2018-19 season, Defoe joined Scottish giants Rangers in January 2019 on an initial 18-month loan.
A debut goal against Kilmarnock meant that Defoe had scored a debut goal for five of his last seven clubs. With his contract at the Cherries expiring, the former England international signed a pre-contract agreement with the Ibrox side, and would join the club permanently in the summer of 2020.
Following a player coach role under Steven Gerrard up north, Defoe departed Rangers in January 2022 and re-signed for Sunderland on a short-term contract, until the end of the end of the season, in the same month.
However, Defoe who sits eighth in the Premier League’s all-time top scorers announced his retirement from professional football in March.
Of the players that have signed for two clubs twice during their careers – Hummels has only played for two club sides during his trophy-laden career.
The German 2014 World Cup winner was a product of Bayern Munich’s youth academy, but the centre-back joined rivals Borussia Dortmund, initially on loan in January 2008.
Hummels struck up a good partnership with Neven Subotic and in February 2009 Dortmund took up the option to sign him on a permanent deal.
Hummels won back-to-back Bundesliga titles under Jurgen Klopp, but was part of the Dortmund side that lost the 2013 Champions League final against Bayern at Wembley.
In May 2016, it was announced that Hummels would be re-joining the Bavarian giants and he won three league titles in a row at the Allianz Arena.
But after three years with Bayern, Hummels made the switch back to Signal Induna Park and the 33-year-old has remained with the die Schwarzgelben ever since.
Steve Claridge – Bournemouth, Cambridge United and Weymouth
The former striker whose career was known for its longevity is currently the manager and director of Salisbury.
After failing to gain a permanent contract with Bournemouth, Claridge spent three years at Weymouth, which was his longest playing spell with any club.
Across an eight-year spell from 1988 to 1996, Claridge played for several football league sides and he scored 46 goals for Cambridge United across two spells with The U’s.
Claridge moved to Leicester City with whom he played in the Premier League and won the 1997 Football League Cup with. Claridge scored the Foxes’ winning goals in both the 1996 play-off final which gave Leicester promotion to the Premier League and in the 1997 League Cup final replay.
Following spells with Portsmouth, Wolves and Millwall, Claridge dropped down to the Southern Premier League and returned to Weymouth as player manager.
After his time in charge of Weymouth ended in 2004, Claridge played for ten different clubs across a variety of leagues, which included a return to Bournemouth (2006-07).
He re-signed for the Cherries for a month in December 2006 on a pay-as-you-play-basis and his 1,000th first-team match was a 4-0 defeat to Port Vale, at the age of 40.
In September 2009, Claridge came out of retirement to play unpaid for his former club, the Conference South side Weymouth, who were in severe financial difficulties.
The 56-year-old has also worked as a pundit on BBC Sport football shows. Claridge completes TBRs list of players that have signed for two clubs twice during their careers.
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