Matthijs de Ligt: Where does new Juve signing rank among most expensive teenagers ever in football?
Juventus are set to confirm the signing of Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, 19, from Ajax in a deal worth a reported €75 million (US$85 million), making him one of the most expensive teenagers ever in world football.
De Ligt jetted in to Turin late on Tuesday night and has already underdone a medical ahead of penning a deal which will net him a reported €12 million a year.
The Dutch youngster was one of the most sought-after talents in world football after captaining Ajax on their sensational run to the Champions League semifinals last season – but where does he stand among football’s all-time most expensive teens?
RT Sport breaks down the biggest deals involving young stars down the years.
No. 5: Lucas Moura – €45mn
Current Tottenham star Moura is one of three Brazilians to move as teenager for a fee of €45 million.
He made the switch from Sao Paulo to Paris Saint-Germain in a megadeal back in August 2012 when aged 19, becoming the French club’s most expensive signing ever.
Adjusted for inflation, the fee would be significantly higher today, while at the time Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson described the deal as “mad.”
After an increasingly underwhelming experience in Paris he moved to Premier League side Tottenham for €28 million in 2017.
No. 5 (joint): Vinicius Jr – €45mn
Level with Moura is another €45 million Brazilian teen, Vinicius Jr of Real Madrid.
Vinicius officially moved to Real as an 18-year-old from Flamengo last year – although a deal had been in place for a season prior to that.
The pacey winger began at Real’s Castilla reserve outfit, but was fast-tracked into the senior team midway through last season.
He consistently impressed with his performances despite the turmoil in the team, although his season was curtailed by a calf injury he suffered in March.
Big things will be expected under manager Zinedine Zidane in Vinicius’s first full senior season.
No. 5 (joint): Rodrygo – €45mn
Vinicius’s countryman Rodrygo, 18, was officially unveiled to the Bernabeu faithful in June after his own €45 million move and is preparing for his first campaign with Real Madrid.
Similarly to with Vinicius, Real wrapped up a deal for the exciting youngster when he was aged just 17, but the forward remained with Santos in his homeland for a year before formally making the switch.
Rodrygo may well see his game time managed in the early stages by Madrid boss Zidane, but will be seen as a key part of the team in the years to come.
No. 4: Anthony Martial – €51mn
French forward Martial became the world’s most expensive teenager when he moved from Monaco to Manchester United as a 19-year-old on a four-year contract for a fee of €51 million in September of 2015.
Google News, Bing News, Yahoo News, 200+ publications
He announced himself to the Old Trafford crowd in the best possible way by scoring on his debut against Liverpool, and has since netted 48 times in 174 competitive games for the team.
Martial appeared set to quit the club at one point amid discontent with former manager Jose Mourinho last year, but in January penned a new deal to keep him at United until 2024 and appears integral to current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans.
No. 3: Matthijs de Ligt – €75mn
Dutch center back De Ligt comes in at number 3 in the charts following his move to Turin.
He is, however, the most expensive teenaged defender in the world, and is priced not far behind countryman Virgil van Dijk’s all-time record €83 million move from Southampton to Liverpool last year.
Juventus already boast stalwarts Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci at the back, but both are on the wrong side of 30 and De Ligt will be seen as a defensive lynchpin for years to come.
The youngster is calm and composed on the ball in the classic Ajax mould, and is a big aerial attacking threat at set-pieces.
Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly urged the Dutchman to link up with him at Juve when the pair appeared on opposite sides in the UEFA Nations League final this summer, with the Portuguese ace now getting his wish.
No.2: Joao Felix – €127mn
Portuguese starlet Joao Felix, 19, joined Spanish giants Atletico Madrid from Benfica this summer in a blockbuster deal which will rise to €127.2 million.
Atletico fought off considerable competition from the likes of Premier League champions Manchester City to land Felix, who is seen as the ideal replacement for Frenchman Antoine Griezmann, who recently joined Barcelona.
Felix is already capped by Portugal and could be the heir to Cristiano Ronaldo’s throne with the national set-up.
The deal to bring Felix to the Wanda Metropolitano is the fourth biggest in history for any player, meaning considerable weight will be on his young shoulders when Atletico begin their La Liga campaign in August.
No.1: Kylian Mbappe – €180mn
Still topping the teenage transfer charts is French forward Kylian Mbappe, whose mega-transfer to Paris Saint-Germain was the second biggest of any player ever when it was sealed in 2018.
Mbappe initially arrived at PSG on loan from Monaco as an 18-year-old in the summer of 2017, before PSG made the deal permanent one year later for a fee that could rise to a reported €180 million.
World Cup winner Mbappe has netted 60 goals in 89 appearances across all competitions for the club, continuing his ascent as one of the most prodigious strikers in world football.
With the speculation surrounding wantaway teammate Neymar, Mbappe has assumed even more importance as a leader at PSG despite still being just 20 years old.