The five highest transfer fees paid for footballers under 20

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In this era of heightened competition football clubs are always on the lookout for the next big thing and those who have the resources are not afraid to spend serous money on young startlets. But paying millions for a teenager is always a gamble. Let’s see how the five costliest transfers of this kind turned out.

Luke Shaw

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England international Luke Shaw became the world’s most expensive teenager during the summer of 2014 when after two impressive seasons at Southampton Manchester United spent more than £30 million to have left-back’s signature. Since then he has made 13 league appearances but he has all the time in the world to cement his place in the starting line-up, and if his progress goes unchecked he will be certainly one to watch in the future. So the jury is still out on this transfer.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney was an instant sensation when he entered the spotlight in 2002 aged only 16. He was branded as the saviour of English football, the kid who is destined to be one of the greatest players ever. Again, Manchester United was the first to act, who signed them in 2004 for £25 million. Over the last decade he broke record after record, playing more than 300 games and scoring almost 200 goals for United, while amassing a hundred international matches and scoring 46 goals, which is only three goals away from the all-time record. To top the numbers in addition to a plethora of individual awards he helped Manchester to several titles including the Champions League. Except a major success with the national team Rooney filled the part the pundits envisioned them, became one of the major players of his era and every club in the world would have been lucky to have him.

Javier Saviola

Saviola’s story characterises well the state of Argentine football nowadays. In just two years after making his debut he became a living legend at River Plate, and even before his twentieth birthday it was obvious that the Buenos Aires club cannot keep him anymore and a European contract is inevitable. In 2001 he duly moved to Barcelona for £15 million, where, although he scored regularly, never seemed to persuade a succession of coaches that he should be the indisputable first choice striker. After three seasons the club deemed him surplus and loaned him to Monaco and then to Sevilla. Later he spent a short and rather unhappy time with Real Madrid, and had spells with Benfica, Malaga and most recently Olympiakos. Currently he plays for Verona in the Serie A, where as of now he only managed to score once. In conclusion, no one can deny his talent, but he was never really able to live up to the expectations his initial performance suggested.


When Manchester United signed Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira in 2007 he was relatively unknown outside of Brazil, his native land, and Portugal, where he played for Porto for two seasons. He spent seven and a half years at Old Trafford where he was used as a utility player, often as a substitute, operating mostly on the midfield. He made 105 league appearances in Manchester, but never more than 24 in one season. His career was hampered by injuries, and he failed to earn a permanent spot in the Red Devil’s starting eleven. During the end of his stay in England he was loaned to Fiorentina and soon after that he and Manchester United parted ways when he agreed to move home to Internacional on a free transfer in February.


Marcos Aoás Corrêa, commonly known as Marquinhos was first signed by Roma after making only six appearances for Corinthians. The Brazilian centre-back’s debut European season proved to be so successful that nouveau rich Paris Saint-Germain did not hesitate to offer around €30 million for him in 2013. He plays regularly for the French club and was also called up to represent the Brazilian national team. Turned twenty in May last year, Marquinhos has everything lined up for him to become a hit.

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The five highest transfer fees paid for footballers under 20, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.