Top 20 Most Expensive Teenage Footballers Ever

Now more than ever, the best young players in world football command some of the most astonishing transfer fees clubs are willing to pay. Some managers prefer to invest in proven quality despite the premium price tag carried by such players, while others opt to comb through several countries across the globe in search of hidden gems.

The facilities of a club’s youth academy can play a key role in uncovering and nurturing the stars of the future. For example, the likes of Ajax, Barcelona and Southampton are renowned for producing the cream of the crop. It’s because not every club in world football has the capacity to develop the next Ronaldo or Messi that gives rise to the huge fees paid to take the best young players away from their boyhood clubs.

Special players who tick both boxes in terms of youth and ability come along every now and then. As the transfer market grows increasingly competitive, it seems clubs are ever willing to take risks on these starlets. Although it’s understandably difficult to gauge how a player will develop beyond his teenage years, it’s becoming more common for clubs to splash millions on a supposedly promising youngster before cutting their losses on a failed investment and selling them on at a significant loss.

However, like any high-profile transfer, not all of the inclusions in the list have achieved what many coaches, scouts, teammates and supporters had hoped they would. Some have developed into footballers ranking almost the best on the planet despite shouldering the burden of a hefty transfer fee. On the other hand, many youngsters have comparatively failed to live up to the hype generated by the astounding wealth ploughed into their acquisition.

Here the top 20 most expensive teenage footballers ever.

20 Stephan El Shaarawy – £10.85m 

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

19 Miralem Sulejmani – £11.38m


18 Erik Lamela – £11.9m 

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

17 Cristiano Ronaldo – £12.25m

16 Ever Banega – £12.6m 

15 Phil Jones – £13.51m 

14 Robbie Keane – £13.65m 

13 John Obi Mikel – £14m 

12 Calum Chambers – £14.16m 


11 Sergio Agüero – £15.19m

10 T9. Romelu Lukaku – £15.4m 

9 T9. Alexandre Pato – £15.4m 

8 Sergio Ramos – £18.9m

7 Antonio Cassano – £19.95m 

6 Marquinhos – £21.98m 

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

5 Anderson – £22.05m 

4 Javier Saviola – £25.13m 

3 Wayne Rooney – £25.9m 

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

2 Luke Shaw – £26.25m 

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

1 Anthony Martial – £35m 


Anthony Martial has hardly placed a foot wrong since overtaking his Manchester United teammate Luke Shaw as the most expensive teenage footballer of all-time. The 19-year-old attacker completed his move to the Red Devils from Monaco in September 2015 for £35m, a fee which caught most of the football public by surprise. The amount could potentially rise to an astonishing £58.8m, which would fall just short of eclipsing the current British transfer record of £59.7m paid for Angel Di Maria. But the Frenchman looks the real deal so far, with four goals in seven appearances for his new club.

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Top 20 Most Expensive Teenage Footballers Ever