Matthijs de Ligt was left bemused by transfer stories circulating about him before his move to Juventus, particularly one concerning Manchester United and fears about his weight.

The Netherlands international completed a move to Juventus on Thursday in a deal that could cost the Serie A champions €85.5million.

De Ligt, 19, had been one of the most in-demand young players in the world following his exceptional performances as captain of Ajax, who won the Eredivisie and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

He was linked with a possible move to United until a story emerged in the Daily Mirror suggesting a scout had warned the Red Devils off making a bid as De Ligt would be susceptible to gaining weight as he got older, like his father.

De Ligt says such claims left him truly baffled, even amid the persistent speculation over where he would be playing football next season.

"Every day, there was something new," he told Voetbal International. "Suddenly, even my father was too fat and that's why one of the clubs wouldn't want me. That makes you go, 'Come on, man...'"

There was another rumour De Ligt turned down Paris Saint-Germain because he wanted a higher wage than Kylian Mbappe, something he previously told Algemeen Dagblad was "insane".

"Money played no role at all in my choice for a new club," he said. "Everyone who knows me, knows that. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I will respect that, but some people were saying things like that [PSG story] very easily."

De Ligt is the latest high-profile player to secure a big-money transfer through the hugely successful agent Mino Raiola, who counts Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti among his clients.

"He has a lot of experience," De Ligt said of Raiola. "I think there may be a certain negative image of him in Holland, but I certainly don't experience it that way.

"I think if you ask all of his players if Mino does a good job for them, everyone would say yes. That's the most important thing. It's not about what other people say about him, it's about what he can do for me."

Maurizio Sarri urged Juventus to show less naivety on the ball after Adrian Rabiot's late lapse led to a 3-2 loss to Tottenham in Singapore.

The Serie A champions succumbed to defeat in Sarri's first match in charge courtesy of Harry Kane's sublime lob over Wojciech Szczesny from inside the centre circle in the third minute of added time.

New signing Rabiot dallied on the ball and invited a tackle from Lucas Moura, from which the ball spilled into Kane's path.

Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo earlier scored to overturn Erik Lamela's first-half opener, before Lucas equalised in the 65th minute.

"It was a difficult game, there is a difference between us in our physical preparation," Sarri told reporters.

"Tottenham have players who have known each other for years and in the first half they seemed quicker, but it's normal.

"If we want to show our football we must defend further forward. In the first half we weren't high enough up the pitch, which made things difficult.

"In the second half we pressed better and we did some good things, even though we were naive with the lost balls.

"But I think this is also affected by the level of physical conditioning."

The International Champions Cup clash was the opening pre-season match for both clubs.

Debutant Rabiot said: "It was the first game, so there is still a lot of work to do. Physically I need to grow, but I felt good playing my first game.

"We are understanding each other very well within the team and with the coach."

Juve return to action against Serie A rivals Inter in China on Wednesday.

Harry Kane described his sensational goal against Juventus on Sunday as "probably one of the best of my career".

Tottenham appeared to be heading for a deciding penalty shoot-out in their International Champions Cup clash with the Italian champions in Singapore before Kane's spectacular intervention in stoppage time.

The England captain spotted Wojciech Szczesny off his line and beat him from just inside Juve's half with a precision strike to secure a dramatic 3-2 win in Spurs' first pre-season game ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

Kane has scored some wonderful goals during his career but he believes the one against Juve ranks alongside his very best.

"It's probably one of the best goals in my career," he said in a post-match interview.

"I saw in part of the game the keeper [Szczesny] was quite far off the line, so I thought if I get a chance to shoot, I'm going to shoot and thankfully it went in."

Kane was introduced as a half-time substitute and is satisfied to start getting pitch time under his belt ahead of the new season.

"It's been great to get 45 minutes," he added. "It's been a good start to pre-season; everyone is working hard.

"It's very hot here so it will definitely get us fit. We're looking forward to the next game [against Manchester United on Thursday] and we go from there."

Harry Kane struck a sensational stoppage-time winner from the centre circle as Tottenham claimed an entertaining 3-2 International Champions Cup win over Juventus in Singapore on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side, who won the competition last year, forged ahead in the 31st minute courtesy of Erik Lamela's close-range strike, but the Serie A champions stormed back thanks to goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Half-time substitute Lucas Moura pulled Spurs level in the 65th minute, though, before Kane beat goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny from just inside Juve's half deep in added time.

Tottenham continue their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign against Manchester United in Shanghai on Thursday, while Juve face Serie A rivals Inter in Nanjing a day earlier.

 

Christian Eriksen put some of Europe's biggest clubs on alert when he declared he would "like to try something new" and now it seems the Tottenham star could make a surprise move.

Initial speculation suggested that Real Madrid would make a move for the talented Spurs playmaker.

As the 2019-20 season draws ever closer, however, it could be that another Spanish giant – and neighbours of Real Madrid – steal a march in the quest to land the Denmark international.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETI AND TOTTENHAM IN ERIKSEN TALKS

Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a productive transfer window – despite losing Antoine Griezmann, Rodri and Diego Godin – and could be set to swoop for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen.

The Dane has spent six seasons with the north London club but is ready for a new challenge and could join former team-mate Kieran Trippier in the Spanish capital.

AS reports that the two clubs have started discussions over a fee for the 27-year-old, with Spurs likely to demand in excess of €70million.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have found their target if Neymar gets his desired move away from the Parc des Princes. According to RMC Sport, Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala is PSG's top option if Neymar leaves.

- James Rodriguez is linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Napoli, and Real Madrid want around €40m for the playmaker, according to Marca.

- David de Gea will become the world's highest paid goalkeeper. The Manchester United shot-stopper has agreed to a six-year deal worth around £117m with the Premier League giants, according to The Telegraph.

- Arsenal could land Moise Kean from Juventus, but only if any deal includes a buy-back clause. The Daily Mail say Juve will insist on a £36m (€40.1m) clause in a possible deal involving the forward.

- Danny Rose is widely expected to leave Tottenham this close season, with numerous clubs linked with the left-back. Now, the Mirror report Serie A champions Juventus are the frontrunners to sign the defender.

- After Aaron Wan-Bissaka's move to Manchester United, Crystal Palace may have found their replacement. The Daily Mail report Palace have held further talks over a potential deal for Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

New Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has welcomed speculation that Neymar could make a dramatic return to the LaLiga champions.

De Jong, 22, was signed by Barca from Ajax in January for a reported €75million, but only made the move at the end of the season.

Neymar has reportedly told Paris Saint-Germain that he wants to leave the club during the close season, two years after his world-record €222million transfer from Barca.

The Catalan club appear to be keen on bringing the Brazilian superstar back to Camp Nou and De Jong says he would relish the opportunity to play alongside him.

"Of course I would like to play with Neymar," he told Sport. "I think he's a really good player but it isn't up to me to decide if he comes to Barcelona or not."

De Jong will be tasked with supplying a mouth-watering attack in the 2019-20 season, led by Lionel Messi, and the Netherlands international is looking forward to teaming up with a player he considers to be the very best.

"I think he's the best player in the world," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing with all the guys, not only with Messi."

Barca were linked with a move for De Jong's former Ajax team-mate, Matthijs de Ligt, but the 19-year-old opted to join Serie A champions Juventus.

De Jong says he would have loved De Ligt to have joined him at Barca but believes he has made a positive move.

Asked if he was disappointed by De Ligt's decision, De Jong said: "No, I'm not disappointed. Not at all. Of course, I'd be happier if he had decided to join Barcelona, but it's his decision and he made it with his family, his agent and girlfriend.

"I'm happy for him. He's made a great move. I would rather see him at Barcelona but Juventus is a good move for him."

Cristiano Ronaldo "can play anywhere" for Juventus but Maurizio Sarri plans to return his superstar forward to a familiar role at the outset of the season.

Portugal legend Ronaldo moved between multiple attacking positions in his first campaign with Juve, playing on the flanks, through the middle and in partnership with Paulo Dybala.

But the 34-year-old is set to initially be given a more defined brief under new boss Sarri, a coach noted for being unfailingly faithful to his favoured 4-3-3 system.

For Ronaldo that means moving slightly wider, to a role he performed with distinction at Manchester United and Real Madrid.

"I'm going to first use Cristiano on the left in attack," Sarri said.

"But really, with the quality he has, he can play anywhere.

"He's very experienced and has won everything, individually and collectively."

Sarri's first chance to experiment comes against Tottenham in the International Champions Cup in Singapore.

The Italian confirmed new signing Matthijs de Ligt will "certainly play part of the game" in a bid to quickly integrate the Netherlands international into his new surroundings.

De Ligt, 19, signed from Ajax this week in an €85.5million deal despite reported interest from Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.

The defender denied being swayed by the wage on offer in Turin, though, slamming reports which claimed otherwise.

"At a certain point it was a bit tiring [hearing all the reports]," he told Dutch newspaper AD.

"The most insane thing I read was that I wouldn't go to PSG because I wanted to earn more than Kylian Mbappe. What nonsense.

"Mino [Raiola] is my agent, he deals with the business side, but that only mattered after my sporting choice was made."

Maurizio Sarri has hinted he would like Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United and join Juventus.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has confirmed the midfielder wants to leave Old Trafford, three years after he returned for a second spell.

The France midfielder was nevertheless named in United's starting line-up for Saturday's International Champions Cup clash with Inter.

But Juve's new head coach Sarri, speaking ahead of their ICC game against Tottenham, opened the door to a potential transfer.

"I like him very much, but he's a Manchester United player," Sarri told a news conference. 

"I'm not the technical director [Fabio Paratici] so I don't know the situation."

Pogba, who played for Juve between 2012 and 2016, started renewed speculation over his future by saying he wanted a "new challenge" last month.

The World Cup winner has been linked with LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Juve.

The Neymar saga has dominated the narrative at Paris Saint-Germain in recent days, with his future yet to be settled.

But the Ligue 1 champions still have moves to make themselves in the remaining weeks of the transfer market.

And PSG might back themselves to tempt an out-of-favour Juventus star to make the switch to France.

 

TOP STORY – PSG MAKE APPROACH FOR DYBALA

If Neymar does leave Paris, Paulo Dybala would represent a fine replacement. He is an option, according to RMC Sport.

It is reported PSG have approached Dybala's camp, with any deal quite separate from Neymar's future.

A fee of less than €50million could be enough to see Juventus sell, with Dybala no longer a vital cog following Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival last year.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dybala might not be the only Juventus player heading to Ligue 1, though. Le Parisien have reported PSG interest in Blaise Matuidi, who Sky Sport Italia say is also a target for Monaco.

- Further movement in Serie A could see Suso heading off. According to Calcio Mercato, the AC Milan star is a target for Roma. The Rossoneri will ask for close to €40m despite the midfielder appearing to be out of favour.

- Working rather harder to keep a key man are Tottenham. They will offer Christian Eriksen £200,000 a week to keep Real Madrid at bay, according to the Daily Mail.

- With Laurent Koscielny's future at Arsenal uncertain, Unai Emery's captaincy group will look quite different next season. According to the Mail, Rob Holding or Calum Chambers could be in line to be skipper.

- Their London neighbours Chelsea, meanwhile, are set to temporarily part ways with Ethan Ampadu. The teenager is on the brink of joining RB Leipzig on loan, according to the Guardian, and could be joined at the Bundesliga club by Ademola Lookman of Everton.

- But as one young prospect arrives in Germany, another might be on the way out. Bild say Barcelona are keen on Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, who is also said to be in the sights of Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

Juventus have included Gonzalo Higuain in their tour squad despite reports Roma have agreed a deal to sign the striker on loan.

Higuain is back at Juve after Chelsea, for whom he scored five Premier League goals during the second half of last season, opted not to extend his loan or trigger a purchase option.

The Argentinian, however, has been linked with an exit with his opportunities at Juve seemingly limited as they boast Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala among their forward options.

Higuain thrived under new Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri when they previously worked together at Napoli and the 31-year-old may yet get a chance to stake his claim in pre-season.

Juve are set to face Tottenham, Inter and Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup as Sarri's side warm up for the 2019-20 campaign.

Reports in Italy claim Roma have agreed a loan deal for Higuain with Juventus but that the striker is yet to accept the move.

The Giallorossi are said to want to secure Higuain as a replacement for Edin Dzeko, who is reportedly a target for Inter.

Speaking last month, however, Higuain's brother and agent Nicola said the striker will not play for another Serie A club this term.

"Higuain in Italy will play only for Juventus," Nicola Higuain tweeted. "Two years of [his] contract remain and will be respected."

Juve's tour squad, announced by the club on Friday, includes new signings Matthijs de Ligt, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon, but fellow arrival Aaron Ramsey is not on the list and veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini is also absent.

Mattia Perin is missing after his move to Benfica was postponed on Thursday when a medical found the goalkeeper's shoulder injury will keep him out of action for a further four months.

Matthijs de Ligt denied Cristiano Ronaldo convinced him to join Juventus but cited Maurizio Sarri as an important factor in his €85.5million move.

Netherlands defender De Ligt spoke to the media and was presented with the number four shirt on Friday, 24 hours after completing a high-profile transfer from Ajax.

The 19-year-old attracted interest from Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain but confirmed his heart was already set on Juve by the time he crossed with paths with Ronaldo in Portugal last month.

They locked horns in the Nations League final, during which the Bianconeri superstar told centre-back De Ligt to choose Turin as his next destination.

"At that moment I was pretty sure it was Juventus but obviously it was nice that someone big like Cristiano Ronaldo asked me if I wanted to join," De Ligt said.

"It was a big compliment but it was not the difference between me joining and not joining."

Rather, De Ligt's interest in a switch to Serie A stemmed from his deep-rooted admiration of Italian defenders, including former Juve man and World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro.

Sarri's tactical approach runs counter to many of the country's established ideals but proved every bit as enticing for De Ligt, a player educated in possession football at Ajax.

"I spoke to him on the phone really briefly just to get to know each other," the ex-Ajax captain said.

"He's one of the reasons I wanted to come to Juventus because I heard a lot of good stories about him, the way he plays, the philosophy he has - attacking football - the defending line and how he prepares them.

"Obviously there was a big reason to come here."

Already considered one of Europe's finest in his position, the teenager is now seeking to accelerate his already advanced development as part of a star-studded dressing room.

"Ajax was a younger environment and here I hope that I can learn from great champions like [Giorgio] Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon, Cristiano and many others," he said.

Maybe Juventus are not ready to give up on signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba just yet.

Pogba, 26, has been linked with a return to Turin and a move to Real Madrid as he looks for an Old Trafford exit.

But, just as it looked like Juve were struggling and Madrid was the midfielder's most likely destination, that may have changed.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE TO OFFER THREE PLAYERS IN MOVE FOR POGBA

Juventus could offer a fee plus three players in their move for Manchester United star Pogba, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Full-back Joao Cancelo, attacker Douglas Costa and midfielder Blaise Matuidi are the players mentioned for potential moves in the report.

Meanwhile, ESPN FC report Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has told coach Zinedine Zidane that it will be very difficult to sign Pogba this close season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are still trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain. According to Sky Germany, Barca are offering €100million plus two players, having given PSG a list of six that includes Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo and Malcom. That is up from the earlier offer of €40m plus two players. According to Sport, Barca have made Coutinho and Rakitic priorities to be sold.

- After being linked to Bayern Munich, Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to re-sign with Chelsea. The Daily Mail report the 18-year-old England international will sign a five-year deal worth more than £100,000 per week to stay at Stamford Bridge.

- Giovani Lo Celso apparently wants to join Tottenham, but Spurs are unwilling to meet Real Betis' £60m (€66.8m) asking price, according to The Sun, who say Erik Lamela could be added into a deal. Danny Rose could also reportedly leave Spurs and Sky Sports say PSG are interested in the left-back.

- Arsenal have beaten their north London rivals to the signing of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, according to ESPN FC. Arsenal will complete the signing of Saliba for £26.9m (€30m) and loan him back to the Ligue 1 club despite late interest from Spurs, the report says.

- Another reported Arsenal target, Wilfried Zaha, has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave, according to The Sun. Arsenal have reportedly had a £40m bid for the attacker rejected.

- Bayern Munich are ready to meet Celta Vigo midfielder Brais Mendez's €25m release clause, according to Kicker. Mendez, 22, was handed a Spain debut late last year and scored six goals while providing seven assists for Celta in LaLiga in 2018-19.

Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin must wait for his move to Benfica after the Portuguese champions postponed the transfer following a medical on Thursday.

Perin, 26, was set for a €15million switch to Benfica after Gianluigi Buffon's return to Turin left the two-time Italy international behind the veteran goalkeeper and Wojciech Szczesny in the pecking order.

However, the shot-stopper only underwent shoulder surgery in April and a longer than expected recovery will see his move to Benfica delayed.

"Sport Lisboa e Benfica informs that in the medicals aftermath, held today, was concluded that the goalkeeper Mattia Perin has a higher than expected recovering process, of approximately four months," a statement from Benfica read.

"In this regard, there was an agreement between the clubs and the player's representatives so that the recovering period might take place at Juventus, completing the transfer process only after its conclusion."

Perin, who arrived at Juventus from Genoa last year, made nine appearances in 2018-19.

Juventus have won the race for Matthijs de Ligt and handed Maurizio Sarri an €85.5million asset set to immediately challenge for a starting spot.

The Netherlands international commanded the attention of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and more before agreeing a five-year contract in Turin.

De Ligt, 19, captained Ajax with distinction in Europe and the Eredivisie last term and compiled a set of statistics consistent with a player who could change the look of Serie A's strongest defence. 

Our dive into the Opta data illustrates why one half of Juve's established centre-back pairing might be looking over his shoulder.

Bonucci battle brewing

De Ligt has walked through the doors at Allianz Stadium in rather more triumphant fashion than Leonardo Bonucci did almost 12 months ago.

The Italy international returned from an ill-fated stint at AC Milan and resumed his partnership with Giorgio Chiellini at the heart of the four-man defence regularly employed by Massimiliano Allegri.

The results were not as intended.

Juve conceded more goals – 30 – in Serie A than in any of their previous seven title-winning campaigns, and were breached twice in the Champions League on four separate occasions.

De Ligt could apply serious pressure to the 32-year-old's position.

New boss Sarri favours a 4-3-3 system and his shiny new acquisition outperformed fellow right-footer Bonucci in most key defensive measures last term.

Across all competitions, De Ligt won more duels (5.48), aerial contests (3.77) and tackles (0.61) per 90 minutes, while also completing a greater average number of clearances (3.95) and recoveries (6.53).

Dwarfed in each category by the Dutchman, Bonucci ranked last behind Chiellini, Daniele Rugani and the now-retired Andrea Barzagli for duels (3.02), aerial contests (1.75) and clearances (2.86).

 

Aerial prowess an alternative weapon

Sarri's Chelsea were accused of being a one-dimensional team that sought only to break opposition sides down through often tedious passing sequences.

Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain floundered in their attempts to spearhead the front three and the Blues scored the fewest goals of all top-six sides in the Premier League.

Tormenting defences domestically should be no trouble for Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Moise Kean and Juve's high-class attacking cohort, but Sarri would be wise to seek out a variety of scoring sources for an assault on multiple fronts.

In De Ligt, he has an aerial ace capable of climbing above any pack.

The 19-year-old conjured seven goals for Ajax last season: three in the Eredivisie, one against rivals Feyenoord in the KNVB Beker, and a further three in the Champions League.

Six of those were headed, including the towering effort which knocked Juve out of Europe while he also nodded an equaliser for Netherlands in their Nations League victory over England.

Bonucci, scorer of three goals, was the only Bianconeri defender to manage more than two.

Crucial interventions in big matches could tip the selection scale in De Ligt's favour.

 

Durability threatens established order

In the wake of Barzagli's retirement and the end of Martin Caceres' short-term loan, Juve reinforced their defensive stocks by signing Turkey international Merih Demiral from Sassuolo.

The 21-year-old will almost certainly find his place in the pecking order behind Rugani, a favourite of Sarri's since their time together at Empoli.

Bringing in a fifth centre-back to compete for one of two positions could lead the Italian champions to consider replenishing a diminished bank balance.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have reportedly shown interested in Bonucci, whose future is at least less certain than that of captain Chiellini.

What is in no doubt is De Ligt's readiness to carry the load required of a regular starter.

Throughout a demanding 2018-19 season, the reigning Golden Boy award winner turned out more times (55) than Chiellini and Rugani combined. Bonucci, Juve's top appearance-maker, started 14 fewer games.

Sarri demonstrated appreciation for a high degree of availability as he consistently paired David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger together at Stamford Bridge until a knee injury removed the latter from calculations.

Now, armed with hard evidence of De Ligt's excellence, the Bianconeri boss might forge a fresh partnership in Turin to herald the beginning of a new era.

Matthijs de Ligt's protracted move to Juventus has finally been completed, with the defender becoming one of football's priciest teenagers.

The Ajax captain will play for the Serie A champions next term after Juve saw off competition from clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Manchester United.

De Ligt's star rose last term with Ajax reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, as well as claiming a domestic double under coach Erik ten Hag.

But he now faces justifying a fee of €75million, potentially rising to €85.5m, that makes him the most expensive under-20 defender of all time. Omnisport takes a look at the 10 most expensive teenage transfers and how they fared.

Kylian Mbappe: Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain - €180m

Likely to remain the world's most expensive teenage signing for some time, Kylian Mbappe is already well on the way to justifying the €180m outlay PSG made to prise him away from Monaco two years ago. Mbappe had fired Monaco to a shock Ligue 1 title triumph before departing and his goals have continued to flow in the French capital with 33 in just 29 Ligue 1 games last season. Still just 20, Mbappe has arguably eclipsed team-mate Neymar already, while he has won a World Cup with France. Pele has acknowledged comparisons with the forward, who looks a certain Ballon d'Or winner in the near future. It would take a world-record fee to buy Mbappe, but he has hinted he could be open to leaving PSG.

Joao Felix: Benfica to Atletico Madrid - €126m

Potentially rivalling Mbappe for top individual honours in the years to come could be Joao Felix, who shoulders the burden of replacing Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid, assuming the forward forces through his desired move away from the Wanda Metropolitano. Joao Felix hit 20 goals in all competitions for Benfica last term, three of those strikes coming in the Europa League, to announce himself among the world's top talents. It remains to be seen whether he is ready for the step up, with Atletico gambling €126m that the 19-year-old is a star of the future.


Matthijs de Ligt: Ajax to Juventus - €85.5m

Barcelona were linked with De Ligt, having already sealed a deal for club and country team-mate Frenkie de Jong, but the Ajax captain has instead opted for Serie A. There, he will work under the new Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri with European success demanded after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo failed to deliver the prized Champions League. Domestic dominance is virtually assured, but De Ligt will have to show he can slot straight into one of the planet's tightest defences. A high-profile mistake against England in the Nations League semi-finals showed De Ligt is not yet the complete package, but Italy could be the ideal finishing school.


Anthony Martial: Monaco to Manchester United - €60m

Eyebrows were raised when United parted with €60m for Martial in 2015, with one British newspaper describing the deal as a "waste of money" in a back-page splash. Martial has not quite proved that assessment wrong, although he scored 10 goals in 27 Premier League appearances last term. At 23 he has further development to come and the departure of Jose Mourinho, whose lack of faith in the France forward appeared clear, might well help him make a jump to the next level under successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.


Rodrygo Goes: Santos to Real Madrid - €45m

Real Madrid have been signing young talent in recent seasons in a departure from their Galactico-focused days, although the signing of Eden Hazard and a potential deal for Paul Pogba may change things. Rodrygo Goes will link up with Zinedine Zidane's squad for 2019-20 having remained on loan with Santos after completing a transfer to the LaLiga giants. The 18-year-old is full of promise and Madrid will hope he can be their Neymar.


Vinicius Junior: Flamengo to Real Madrid - €45m

Rodrygo is following in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian Vinicius Junior, who was a rare shining light for Madrid last term, scoring two LaLiga goals. It remains to be seen where Zidane sees Rodrygo and Vinicius fitting in, especially as Hazard seems certain to take up one of the attacking positions and Luka Jovic has also arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt to compete for a striking berth. Fitting everyone in seems set to be a challenge, but Vinicius could be Madrid's future along with Rodrygo.


Luke Shaw: Southampton to Manchester United - €37.5m

Like Martial, Luke Shaw is another player who seems to have laboured under a large price tag at times – which perhaps should be a warning sign for new arrival Aaron Wan-Bissaka after the 21-year-old joined from Crystal Palace. Shaw also had a fractious relationship with Mourinho but made the United left-back spot his own with 29 Premier League starts in 2018-19. The 23-year-old will hope to make further progress this term, but did not make the cut for Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Nations League Finals, with Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose preferred.


Wayne Rooney: Everton to Manchester United - €37m

Wayne Rooney certainly repaid his fee – he was British football's most expensive teenager – becoming United's all-time leading goalscorer and winning five Premier League titles at the club, as well as the 2007-08 Champions League. Rooney will go down as a United great despite affairs such as agitating for a move and falling out with Alex Ferguson. Rooney dropped out of favour in the latter years of his time at Old Trafford and was also sidelined for England, with a return to boyhood club Everton failing to spark. But joining MLS strugglers DC United has been a clever move and Rooney, now 33, is inspiring their rise.


Renato Sanches: Benfica to Bayern Munich - €35m

Bayern thought they were signing a player who would become one of the era's dominant midfielders when they snapped up Renato Sanches from Benfica, but the transfer has not worked out at all. Bayern bought Sanches before he won Euro 2016 with Portugal but, three years later, that remains the highlight of his career. Sanches flopped in a loan spell with Swansea City in the Premier League and seems surplus to requirements at Bayern. The 21-year-old desperately needs to kickstart his career with a move away and has been linked with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.


Gabriel Jesus: Palmeiras to Manchester City - €32m

Handed City's number nine shirt ahead of the 2019-20 season, Gabriel Jesus seems set for a defining campaign. At times after his arrival from Palmeiras the Brazil striker – who just helped his side win the Copa America on home soil – seemed to be preferred to Sergio Aguero by City boss Pep Guardiola, but the tables were turned last term as the Argentina attacker finally won his manager's total faith. Jesus was restricted to just eight Premier League starts in 2018-19 but still scored seven times and he was picked over Aguero for the FA Cup final demolition of Watford, in which he scored a brace.

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