The 10 most expensive teenagers in PL history – and how they fared

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Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates after scoring in the Premier League game against Liverpool. Old Trafford, 12 September 2015.

Premier League clubs are always planning for the future and often invest large amounts of money on promising young talents. 

But it’s a very risky transfer strategy as a lot of young players struggle to deal with the pressure and can’t live up to expectations after a big-money move.

We’ve taken a look at the 10 most expensive transfers in Premier League history and how they fared after the transfer.

10. Ryan Sessegnon – £25m

Sessegnon made his senior Fulham debut at the age of 16 in August 2016 and went from strength to strength over the following three years before completing a £25million move to Tottenham.

But he made just six Premier League appearances during an injury-plagued debut season at Spurs and then spent 2020-21 on loan at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

The 22-year-old is starting to rediscover his best form and established himself as Antonio Conte’s first choice in the left wing-back role towards the end of the 2021-22 season.

9. Anderson – £26m

After earning rave reviews for his performances at Portuguese side Porto, Anderson moved to England at the age of 19 and joined Manchester United in a £26million deal.

He enjoyed an unforgettable debut season at United in 2007-08, helping the club win the Premier League title before firing home his penalty in their Champions League final shootout victory.

The midfielder received the prestigious Golden Boy award a few months later but was subsequently blighted by a series of injury problems and failed to live up to his huge potential.

He fell out of favour following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and joined Brazilian side Internacional on a free transfer in February 2015.

Anderson celebrates after Nani scores for Manchester United.

READ: A tribute to Anderson, Manchester United’s cult hero & great showman

=5. William Saliba – £27m

One of two Saint-Etienne academy graduates on this list, Saliba caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs around Europe and Arsenal won the race for his signature in 2019.

The defender remained at his boyhood club for the 2019-20 season and then spent the second half of 2020-21 on loan at Nice after being left out of Arsenal’s Premier League squad.

He was allowed to leave on loan once again ahead of the 2021-22 season and joined Marseille, where he produced a timely reminder of his abilities and won the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award.

The France international is now a key part of Arsenal’s first-team squad and produced a man-of-the-match display on his debut. A sign of things to come…

=5. Wayne Rooney – £27m

Manchester United spent £27million on Rooney in the summer of 2004, and he was worth every single penny.

What a player.

=5. Luke Shaw – £27m

A Southampton academy graduate, Shaw was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2013-14 and then completed a £27million move to Manchester United.

He had a difficult start to his United career, suffering a double leg break against PSV Eindhoven before having some very public battles with Jose Mourinho.

The left-back turned things around under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and started to fulfil his potential, winning the Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year award in both 2018-19 and 2020-21.

He even scored for England in the Euro 2020 final and was dubbed ‘Shawberto Carlos’ but has gone backwards in the last 12 months.

=5. Gabriel Jesus – £27m

Having starred at Palmeiras, Jesus was linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus before completing a £27million move to Manchester City in January 2017.

The striker managed to justify the price tag by scoring 95 goals in 236 appearances and helping Pep Guardiola’s side win four Premier League titles, three EFL Cups and an FA Cup before departing for Arsenal in 2022.

4. Moise Kean – £27.5m

Everton looked to have pulled off a real coup in 2019 when they announced the arrival of Kean, who had come through Juventus’ academy and was regarded as one of Italy’s best prospects.

But he scored just two goals in 33 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20 and was famously substituted just 18 minutes after coming on during a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

The 22-year-old spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Paris Saint-Germain before returning to Juventus on a two-year loan deal. The Italian side have an option to make the move permanent in 2023.

3. Wesley Fofana – £30m

After coming through the ranks at Saint-Etienne, Fofana made 30 first-team appearances for the club before joining Leicester City in a £30million deal in 2020.

The centre-back enjoyed a brilliant debut season, helping the club beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final and earning Leicester City’s Young Player of the Season award.

But he then suffered a horrific leg break in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal and spent most of the 2021-22 season on the sidelines.

Despite only making seven Premier League appearances last season, his stock remains high and Chelsea are currently trying to sign the 21-year-old, who is valued at around £85million.

2. Fabio Silva – £35m

Despite only making 12 Primeira Liga appearances for Porto, Silva still did enough to convince Wolves that he was worth £35million in the summer of 2020.

The striker was unexpectedly thrown in at the deep end when Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull and struggled to fill the huge void left by his team-mate.

He showed glimpses of his talent but finished his debut season with just four league goals, making him only the second-highest scoring Portuguese teenager in Premier League history after Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 20-year-old then failed to score a single goal in 26 appearances in all competitions during the 2021-22 season and even spent time with Wolves’ Under-23s.

Silva is now spending the 2022-23 season on loan at Belgian side Anderlecht and will be hoping to get his career back on track.

1. Anthony Martial – £36m

Martial was a relatively unknown teenager when Manchester United decided to sign him from Monaco for an initial £36million on transfer deadline day in 2015.

But the striker well and truly announced himself to the world on his United debut, coming off the bench to score a sensational solo goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

While he’s managed to score another 78 goals for the club, Martial has undoubtedly struggled to hit the heights expected of him and has been plagued by inconsistency in recent years.

The 26-year-old had a difficult spell on loan at Sevilla in the second half of 2021-22 but is set to be given one last chance to save his United career by Erik ten Hag.

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