Among the big-money deals completed by Premier League clubs this summer, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ signing of Fabio Silva is among the most eye-catching.
Wolves have broken their transfer record to bring in the Portuguese 18-year-old, who only made his Primeira Liga debut for Porto last season.
That kind of outlay on a teenager can end up looking like a great investment or a bit of a waste, but in most cases it takes us a number of years to learn which is the case.
Silva goes straight in at number two among the most expensive teenagers in Premier League history, but how have the rest of the top 10 (per Transfermarkt) got on?
Anthony Martial – £36m
A fast start can certainly help when it comes to big money investments, and Martial’s debut goal against Liverpool did just that.
It’s not all been plain sailing for the Frenchman, who joined Manchester United from Monaco for an initial £36million in 2015, but there’s every chance United would be able to turn a profit if they were to sell him now.
The 2020/21 season could be a big one for Martial, who impressed at the end of last season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer settled on his best United XI.
Fabio Silva – £35m
£35m for a forward with three senior goals seems like a bold move, but Silva arrives with a lofty reputation.
He became Porto’s youngest ever Primeira Liga player last season, having scored five times in 2018/19 in his team’s run to Uefa Youth League glory.
However, while his ceiling is high, more established players have moved for less money.
Luke Shaw – £30m
Shaw felt like a no-brainer when he joined Manchester United, having starred in the Premier League for Southampton and earned a spot in England’s World Cup squad as an 18-year-old.
The £30m fee was a record for a teenager at the time, but he failed to hit the ground running and was dealt a further blow with a horrific double leg break in a Champions League game at PSV Eindhoven, just as he was beginning to find his feet at Old Trafford.
Shaw has shown his quality in fits and starts, and is still on United’s books, but some fans will feel he hasn’t quite fulfilled that high potential.
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Anderson – £27.25m
Things don’t always work out for expensive teenagers, but Anderson is another who looked very much worth the outlay when he was signed.
The Brazilian even won the Golden Boy award after joining Manchester United from Porto for €30m, and ended his first season there with a Champions League medal after scoring in the penalty shoot-out, but fitness issues saw things go south.
He retired in 2019, aged just 31, having struggled with injuries throughout the latter part of his career.
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Gabriel Jesus – £27m
Considering how long Gabriel Jesus has been a Manchester City player, it’s weird to think he’s still just 23 years old.
The Brazilian is the only player on this list signed from a club outside Europe, having joined City from Palmeiras a couple of months before his 20th birthday, and he’s already achieved plenty.
While the jury may still be out on his absolute greatness, the striker has 41 Premier League goals to his name at a rate of one every 131 minutes (per WhoScored) would be decent for a player in his prime, let alone one fighting for supremacy at his first ever European club.
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William Saliba – £27m
Arsenal fans are excited about William Saliba, and the huge outlay on the French youngster gives them good reason to be.
The former Saint-Etienne prospect made his Ligue 1 debut at 17 and has been integrated into the Gunners’ set-up ahead of the new season.
It remains to be seen whether the fee paid – a reported £27m – will prove to be a solid investment.
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Wayne Rooney – £25m+
Sometimes, a move for a teenage prospect is so natural it barely even feels like a gamble, and that was the case when United picked up Rooney off the back of his breakout international displays at Euro 2004.
Even so, the former Everton man arguably delivered even more than might have been expected of him, though his time at Old Trafford wasn’t without its occasional low points.
His 183 United goals are more than any other player has managed for a single Premier League club, making the north-of-£25m fee look like a snip.
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Moise Kean – £25m
Signed for €27.5m from Juventus, Kean looked like a real coup for Everton after breaking into the Juve and Italy teams before his 19th birthday.
However, he struggled in his first season in England, scoring just twice in the league and largely playing backup to a front two of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
He’s still just 20, though, and the presence of Carlo Ancelotti in the dugout could help Kean rediscover some of the exciting form he showed back home.
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Ryan Sessegnon – £25m
Sessegnon had a similarly tough time last season, and like Kean he was forced to adapt to a mid-season managerial change.
The left-sided player impressed for Fulham in the second tier and at times in the Premier League, explaining Tottenham’s £25m investment, but the English under-21 international played just six league games last season.
Time is on his side, though, and Sessegnon will hope to step things up in the 2020/21 season under Jose Mourinho.
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Diogo Dalot – £20m
One of a number of teenagers signed for just under £20m, with Transfermarkt putting him just above the likes of Calum Chambers and Phil Jones, Dalot has yet to receive a real run of games at Manchester United.
It didn’t help that Jose Mourinho, the man who brought him to Old Trafford from Porto, was gone within a few months. It helped even less that Mourinho’s replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, added another right-back to his squad in the form of £50m man Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Dalot has been linked with an exit this summer, having played just 20 league games in two years, but at 21 he could still prove a success somewhere, even if not at United.
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