With both Oscar and Lucas Moura linked with big money moves to Chelsea and Manchester United this summer, we look at the teenagers who joined a Premier League club for big money in the past. Here are Premier League’s top 10 most expensive teenagers.
10. GARETH BALE: SOUTHAMPTON –> TOTTENHAM – £7m
The young Welsh full-back burst onto the scene at Southampton as a 16-year-old in 2006, immediately becoming the Saints’ first choice left-back and free-kick specialist. Manchester United and Arsenal were both interested in the teenager but Bale signed for the White Hart Lane club in 2007 for a fee in the region of £5m (rising to £10m based on appearances), but a year later it was settled to £7m. The Welsh international had a bizarre start to his career at White Hart Lane as he struggled with injuries and bad luck. Bale eventually settled in at the club and made a name for himself as a left winger. Bale is one of the most dangerous left wingers around in the game and also won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award in 2010-11 for his eye-catching performances in the league and in Europe.
9. CONNOR WICKHAM: IPSWICH –> SUNDERLAND – £7m (RISING TO £12m)
Wickham made a name for himself in the nPower Championship with Ipswich Town by scoring a total of 15 goals in two full seasons. The England under-21 international attracted a lot of interest from many Premier League clubs, but in the end Sunderland made the move and brought him to the Stadium of Light at the start of last season. The 6ft 3in striker, who is tipped to be a future England star, had a bad first season in the Premier League as he managed to find the back of the net just once in thirteen appearances.
8. THEO WALCOTT: SOUTHAMPTON –> ARSENAL – £9m
The pacey winger was roommates with Gareth Bale at Southampton, but Walcott chose the other side of North London as he made the big money to Arsenal in 2006. The then 16-year-old grabbed all the headlines when he was picked by Sven Goran Eriksson in the England squad for the 2006 World Cup after failing to make a single first-team appearance for the Gunners that season. Walcott didn’t feature at all in Germany and was later overlooked by Fabio Capello for the 2010 World Cup. The 23-year-old is now one of the important members of the Arsenal squad and is also an England regular.
7. CRISTIANO RONALDO: SPORTING LISBON –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £12m
Liverpool and Arsenal were both interested in the signing the Portuguese prodigy back in 2003, but eventually Manchester United brought him to Old Trafford after they played against his team in a pre-season friendly. It took sometime for the Portuguese to settle in England and get used to the Premier League, but once he got used to it he became the club’s star performer. The Portuguese international spent six seasons at Old Trafford making 292 appearances and scoring 118 goals. He helped the Red Devils win three Premier League, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup title before joining Real Madrid in 2009 for a whopping £80m. It was the best business ever done by Sir Alex Ferguson during his time with Manchester United.
6. ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: SOUTHAMPTON –> ARSENAL – £12m (RISING TO £15m)
Another talent from Southampton’s youth academy. Oxlade-Chamberlain made himself known to top teams in the Premier League by scoring 10 goals in the first full season at the St. Mary’s. Arsenal snapped him up last summer and he made his debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The 18-year-old became the youngest ever Englishman to score in the Champions League when he scored the opening goal against Olympiakos. The England under-21 international won the hearts of the Arsenal fans by some impressive displays in his debut season in the top flight and was also selected in England’s UEFA EURO 2012 squad.
5. ROMELU LUKAKU: ANDERLECHT –> CHELSEA – £13m (RISING TO £18m)
Lukaku was already a regular first team member of his club – Anderlecht and his country – Belgium before Chelsea signed him up in the summer last year. The then 18-year-old strong centre forward was brought in as a potential replacement for Didier Drogba but he failed to get much playing time last season as he made just eight appearances for the Blues in the Premier League. Lukaku, who has a very good goal-scoring record in Belgium, is expected to go out on loan this season in order to get some first-team action and Fulham are said to be the favourites.
4. PHIL JONES: BLACKBURN –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £16.5m
The then 19-year-old had made just 35 first-team league appearances for Blackburn but that didn’t stop Ferguson activating his release clause and bringing him to Old Trafford. The versatile defender – who played as a right-back, a center-back and as a defensive midfielder – had a great first season with Manchester United, making a total of 41 appearances in all competitions and also found the back of the net twice. The 20-year-old’s impressive displays for the Red Devils earned him an England senior team call-up and was also picked up for the Euros in Poland/Ukraine this summer by Roy Hodgson.
3. ANDERSON: FC PORTO –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £18m
It seems very unbelievable that the Brazilian costed United more than Ronaldo, but it’s true. Ferguson had to pay a whopping fee of £18m to bring the young Brazilian, who was dubbed as the ‘next Ronaldinho’, to Old Trafford in 2007 when he was 19. Anderson has had something of a stop-start career at Old Trafford mostly troubled by injuries. The Brazilian international has won three Premier League titles, one League Cup and one Champions League title with the Red Devils during his five years at the club, but has been often linked with a move away from Manchester in the past couple of season. It look’s unlikely that United will be getting their money back if the Brazilian does leave in the near future.
2. MARIO BALOTELLI: INTER –> MANCHESTER CITY – £24m
Even though Balotelli signed for the reigning Premier League champions two days after his 20th birthday, he makes this list as the deal between the two clubs had been agreed when he was still in his teens. The Italian, who costed around £24m, has had a controversial time at the Eastlands both on and off the field. Super Mario has shown the maturity of a boy half his age and has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons’ in the past two years. But, whenever in mood, he has shown the world his true potential with some eye-catching displays for both City and Italy. He also played a vital role in helping Italy finish runners-up at this summer’s European Championship in Poland/Ukraine.
1. WAYNE ROONEY: EVERTON –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £27m
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Wayne Rooney for a staggering £27m in the summer of 2004, after he had starred for England at Euro 2004 in Portugal. Rooney, 18, when he joined United, already had two compete seasons under his belt in the Everton first-team and was one of most sought-after teenagers around. He announced himself to the United supporters with a hat-trick on debut and has become one of the key players for the Red Devils in the recent years. The 26-year-old England international has helped United win four Premier League titles, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup in his eight years at Old Trafford.