He's spent a fair few pennies...

Where are they now? Thomas Tuchel’s most expensive signing from every season since 2010

Thomas Tuchel has garnered a rather polarising reputation over the last few years, reflecting a conflicting body of work across Europe.

It’s hard to deny his credentials as a top-level manager, though, if not for winning the Champions League with Chelsea, then for taking Paris Saint-Germain to their first-ever Champions League final after years of reckless spending and underperformance.

The German is an astute tactician and a strong personality, not afraid to handle big names and the pressure that comes with big clubs. He doesn’t come without demands, either.

We’ve taken a look at Tuchel’s most expensive signing for every season since 2010, and how they’re doing now.

2010-11: Eugene Polanski

The Polish midfielder had his loan move turned permanent in 2010 as Tuchel’s Mainz side finished a lofty fifth in the Bundesliga, having only been promoted from the second tier the season before.

Polanski – who had lived in Germany from infancy – represented them at under-21 level but switched allegiance to Poland in 2011 and featured at Euro 2012. He left Mainz for Hoffenheim in 2013, spending five years with the club before his retirement in 2018, captaining the side under Julian Nagelsmann in his final two years as a player.

These days, he’s coaching Borussia Monchengladbach’s under-21 side. Remember the name.

2011-12: Anthony Ujah

Tuchel and Mainz won a race for Ujah in the summer of 2011 following a prolific 2010-11 campaign that had seen him draw interest from a number of sides around Europe.

He only spent one season with the club, however, before moving to Koln on loan and eventually making it a permanent transfer. The Nigerian striker returned to Mainz for a season in 2018-19, spending the bulk of his career in Germany – with a brief spell in China wedged between.

Aged 33, Ujah is still going strong, leading the line for second-tier side Eintracht Braunschweig. There are plenty of stars in the 2. Bundesliga

READ: 8 forgotten ballers we can’t believe are now playing in the 2. Bundesliga

2012-13: Niki Zimling

A mid-season signing from Club Brugge, Zimling quickly settled in as a regular in Tuchel’s midfield at Mainz. However, injuries would quickly derail him and severely hamper the rest of his time at the club, with loans to Ajax and FSV Frankfurt not doing much in the way of offering a comeback.

He returned to Denmark with SonderjyskE in 2017 before retiring in 2019 and becoming the sporting director for first division side Kolding IF. Now aged 39, he’s serving as the under-19 manager for fellow Danish side AGF.

2013-14: Ja-cheol Koo

Koo was another mid-season signing for Tuchel and was again trusted to make an instant impact, signing from Wolfsburg. However, he only spent 18 months at the club before heading to Augsburg for a second spell.

Capped 76 times by South Korea, the midfielder enjoyed a strong career in German football before leaving Europe for Qatar in 2019. Now 35, he’s made his way back to South Korea and is currently turning out for Jeju United.

READ NEXT: Where are they now? Jose Mourinho’s most expensive signing from every season since 2010

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2015-16: Gonzalo Castro

After a year’s break, Tuchel returned to the touchline with Borussia Dortmund, replacing Jurgen Klopp and making Castro his most expensive signing that season, snapping him up for €11million from rivals Bayer Leverkusen.

He only spent three years with Dortmund, however, leaving for Stuttgart in 2018 before eventually retiring with Arminia Bielefeld in 2022.

2016-17: Ousmane Dembele

£13million for Dembele in the summer of 2016 felt like somewhat of a steal for a winger who had quietly become Europe’s most promising talents at Rennes.

By the end of the season, it had proven daylight robbery. With 10 goals and 21 assists from 49 games in his debut season, a star had been born – and he was whisked away from Dortmund for a whopping £97million plus add-ons in the summer of 2017, with Barcelona swiftly replacing outbound Neymar.

Ironically, Dembele now finds himself at the club Neymar ditched Barcelona for, joining PSG in the summer of 2023. His return to French football has been modest thus far, but the 26-year-old has time and the signs are there.

2018-19: Kylian Mbappe

Tuchel took another year out of the game before taking the reigns at Paris Saint-Germain, arriving in a chaotic summer where Mbappe’s loan move from the season prior was to be made permanent for around £165.7million.

In the years since, he’s failed to win the Champions League, but he’s reached the final with Tuchel won the World Cup, six Ligue 1 titles and become the club’s all-time top scorer, by the age of 25.

The best part? He’s earned an unspeakable amount of money on an outrageous contract and will cement his legacy imminently when he moves to Real Madrid for free this summer. Makes you sick.

Mbappe has scored goals for fun in the Champions League.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every club Kylian Mbappe has scored against in the Champions League?

2019-20: Abdou Diallo

Technically the signing of Leandro Paredes was Tuchel’s most expensive buy during the calendar year of 2019, but we’re looking at the 2019-20 season, where the spending was a little more reserved after two summers of chaos.

Tuchel looked back to his former employers and took defender Diallo off their hands in a £30millon deal in the summer of 2019, but by 2022 he’d been loaned back to Germany with RB Leipzig, then sold a year later to Qatari side Al-Arabi.

At only 27, it’s a bit of a shame to see him head to the Middle East so soon.

2020-21: Mauro Icardi

One of football’s ultimate supervillains, PSG splashing £45million on Icardi feels rather apt for a club equally as chaotic.

The deal was completed following his loan spell a year earlier, but in the same summer that Diallo was shipped off, Icardi was too – to Galatasaray.

He made his move to Turkey permanent in 2023 and has been banging them in for fun ever since, in what feels like a match made in heaven.

2021-22: Romelu Lukaku

Having joined Chelsea at the beginning of 2021 after being sacked by PSG in late 2020, Tuchel led them to the Champions League that year, but the bulk of his first summer war chest went on Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5million return to Stamford Bridge.

After a bright start, that return inevitably went up in flames by the end of the year, with Lukaku giving an exclusive interview to Sky Italia and essentially pleading for Inter to take him back. Neither him nor Tuchel ever really recovered from the incident and both would leave the club in 2022.

Lukaku is still technically a Chelsea player, spending the 2022-23 campaign on loan at Inter and the current season on loan with Roma, where he’s recaptured some of his previous magic. The issue? Nobody is willing to take on the 30-year-old’s lofty wages.

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2022-23: Wesley Fofana

Tuchel’s final summer as Chelsea manager again saw the club splash the cash, parting with £70million to sign Wesley Fofana from Leicester.

Unfortunately, the highly-rated defender has had to battle rotten luck since signing a seven(!)-year deal, suffering a serious knee injury mere months into his first season, recovering in early 2023, only to rupture his ACL that summer.

Chelsea have signed some stinkers in the last few years – a few of which Tuchel was responsible for – but you feel that Fofana will become a huge asset if and when he shakes off his injury troubles.

2023-24: Harry Kane

The ‘will he, won’t he?’ game finally came to an end last summer when Bayern Munich coughed up £86.4million to pry Kane away from Tottenham, which looked to restore Bayern as a European threat and guarantee Kane some silverware.

The Englishman has delivered on his end, sitting on 43 goals in all competitions at the time of writing, but his first season at the club ended up being the first time since 2012 that Die Roten have failed to win the Bundesliga, with Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen sealing the title in spectacular style while Bayern imploded.