Teenage talent is something that excites footballs fans, and clubs are often persuaded to pay over the odds for a player who may have tremendous talent, but may not have the temperament required to succeed at the highest level.
There have been some huge fees paid for teenagers over the years, with inconsistent results.
Here we take a look at the highest fees ever paid for the services of a player under the age of twenty years, with statistics provided by Transfermarkt.
5. Sergio Ramos | Sevilla to Real Madrid | Cost: £24m
The first of two players who arguably fulfilled both their potential and their transfer fee, Ramos recently brought up his century of caps for country Spain. With a market value estimated to be of £35.0m, he was certainy good value for money.
4. Antonio Cassano | AS Bari to AS Roma | Cost: £25m
After signing for Roma at the age of 19, Cassano was tipped to go all the way. However, after a tumultuous five-year stay during which a media frenzy followed his every move, he fell out with several managers, and eventually moved to Real Madrid for just €5m.
3. Anderson | FC Porto to Manchester United | Cost: £27.5m
Even though he is still 25 - and so has time to resurrect his career - even the most stubborn Manchester United fans could argue that the Brazilian has fulfilled his transfer fee.
His career at Old Trafford has been plagued by injury with a horrible cruciate ligament rupture being the most severe - and perhaps if he can stay injury free, he could begin to repay the transfer fee.
2. Javier Saviola | River Plate to FC Barcelona | Cost: £31.5m
Dubbed the “New Maradona”, Saviola made his debut for River Plate at just 16 and, after scoring 45 goals in three seasons, he made the move to Spanish giants Barcelona.
Although his form was not bad, no way did it justify the huge fee paid, and after a couple of loan spells, Barcelona allowed his contract to expire. To add insult to injury he signed for Real Madrid where, incidentally, he stayed two seasons and then was shipped off to Benfica.
1. Wayne Rooney | Everton to Manchester United | Cost: £32.5m
Rooney’s United career began in style as he netted a hat-trick against Fenerbahce - and since then he has not looked back.
He is England’s fifth highest international scorer at the tender age of 27, and has won England’s Player of the Year Award on two occasions. Without doubt Rooney has more than justified his fee, and is now worth an estimated £57m.
Who is the best or worst value for money? Have your say in the comments section below.
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