Young talent is a valuable commodity in world football and clubs are willing to pay premium prices to secure the signature of youngsters to long-term contracts. By purchasing these players ahead of their fully realized potential carries certain risks, such as injury, derailing a promising career. However, by taking a risk on a young talent clubs can be rewarded with years of faithful service for a price that is often below their true market value. They can also avoid excessive transfer fees, which are growing to record levels with every transfer window.
Many of these young players have already undergone the transfer process at least once in their careers. These players are making decisions that will affect the rest of their career in football and possibly their lives. The pressure from agents and surrounding figures to sign gigantic contracts to cash in on their talents is enormous. Every day these players risk injury in training and matches. This creates additional internal pressure for these players to consider when they are making long term decisions.
In recent years, some of the largest transfers of all time have involved players just three or four years older than the players on this list. A few of these players could be candidates to join the list of the most expensive transfers of all time. Whether they are youngsters with attacking flair or defenders with poise beyond their years, these players represent the future of the sport. In this list are future household names and others that will fade into obscurity. Familiarize yourself with them now.
*All figures taken from transfermarkt.com
20 T18. Maximilian Arnold – Wolfsburg - €10 million
19 T18. Kurt Zouma – Chelsea - €10 million
18 T18. Adnan Januzaj – Manchester United - €10 million
17 T11. Memphis Depay – PSV Eindhoven - €12 million
16 T11. Gerard Deulofeu – Sevilla - €12 million
15 T11. Timo Werner – Stuttgart - €12 million
14 T11. Youri Tielemans – Anderlecht - €12 million
13 T11. Calum Chambers – Arsenal - €12 million
12 T11. Matthias Ginter – Borussia Dortmund - €12 million
11 T11. Emre Can – Liverpool - €12 million
10 T6. Hakan Calhanoglu – Bayer Leverkusen - €15 million
9 T6. Max Meyer – Schalke 04 - €15 million
8 T6. Aymeric Laporte – Athletic Club (Bilbao) - €15 million
7 T6. Domenico Berardi – Sassuolo - €15 million
6 T6. Ross Barkley – Everton - €15 million
5 Mateo Kovacic – Inter Milan - €19 million
4 T3. Lazar Markovic – Liverpool - €20 million
3 T3. Raheem Sterling – Liverpool - €20 million
2 Luke Shaw – Manchester United - €22 million
1 Marquinhos – Paris St. Germain - €25 million
Paris St. Germain currently has a wealth of Brazilian center back talent at their disposal. Marquinhos will learn from two of the best, with David Luiz and Thiago Silva being the perfect role models for the 20-year-old center back. Last season, Marquinhos helped PSG to another Ligue 1 title, and featured in 22 matches for the club. He was omitted from Brazil’s 2014 World Cup squad by ousted manager Luiz Filipe Scolari, but has since been recalled by Dunga. Marquinhos appears to be one of the world’s elite young central defenders and has a bright future ahead of him.
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