Man Utd signed Wayne Rooney & Cristiano Ronaldo as teenagers | Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
18-year-old pair Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri are the latest teenagers to join Manchester United, securing transfers to the club on summer deadline day. The former will arrive from Atalanta in January, but the latter has immediately been made part of the first-team squad.
But they are far from alone in joining the club so young.
Ranked from worst to best, here’s a look at every teenager United have signed since 2000…
*list only includes first-team signings, not players brought into the academy ranks.
Dong Fangzhuo was Man Utd’s first east Asian player | MN Chan/Getty Images
Transfer: £500,000, rising £3.5m, from Dalian Shide (2004)
United Appearances: 1
Dong Fangzhuo was two weeks shy of his 19th birthday when he signed for United in January 2004, become the only Chinese player to date to play for the club.
Work permit issues ultimately meant he had to wait over three years to make his debut, an infamous clash against Chelsea in 2007, and it proved to be his only appearance before returning to China a year later and embarking on a journeyman career.
Angelo Henriquez only played in pre-season friendlies for Man Utd | JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/Getty Images
Transfer: £4m from Universidad de Chile (2012)
United Appearances: 0
Unlike Dong, whose sole United appearance underlined his lack of potential, the fact that Angelo Henriquez never played for the club ensured his ‘potential’ always remained intact.
The Chilean was immediately handed a first-team number, 21, upon arriving from South America in August 2012, although was loaned to Wigan within a few months. Henriquez later scored 30 goals in a season for Dinamo Zagreb, at which point United sold him permanently to the Croatian side.
Rodrigo Possebon was injured early in his United career | ANDREW YATES/Getty Images
Transfer: £3m from Internacional (2008)
United Appearances: 8
Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Possebon was about to turn 19 when he joined United from Internacional in January 2008. He became a member of the first-team squad and started to make his breakthrough early in 2008/09 until suffering a broken leg soon after.
Possebon went on to play eight times in total that season, but he spent 2009/10 on loan at Braga and then returned to Brazil when he was sold to Santos.
Nick Powell had already played 64 games for Crewe | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Transfer: £3m, rising to £6m, from Crewe (2012)
United Appearances: 9
Nick Powell had nearly two years of professional experience by the time he joined United in 2012, having helped Crewe secure promotion to League One with a wonder goal in his last game for the club.
The classy midfielder went on pre-season tour with the first-team squad in his first summer. He then played six times in all competitions in 2012/13, even scoring on his Premier League debut. A number of loan moves later followed, before a permanent departure to Wigan in 2016.
Diogo Dalot initially showed promise at Man Utd | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
Transfer: £19m from Porto (2018)
United Appearances: 35
Diogo Dalot had only just emerged as first-team player at Porto when United saw fit to pay £19m for him in the summer of 2018. Unfortunately, a lack of other business in what was a crucial transfer window put undue pressure on the young full-back.
Dalot has often been limited by injuries, although he did impress when he was fit and got the not to play. He was later bizarrely frozen out by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and is on loan at AC Milan.
Giuseppe Rossi scored four goals for Man Utd | Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images
Transfer: Free from Parma
United Appearances: 14
United plucked American-born Italian Giuseppe Rossi from Parma’s youth ranks in the summer of 2004 and handed him the first professional contract of his career.
Rossi made his debut not long afterwards and his future looked promising when he scored four times in 12 appearances during the 2005/06 campaign. Yet competition for places made it difficult to establish himself after two loans and he was sold to Villarreal in 2007, where he found form before injuries wreaked havoc on his career.
Gerard Pique won the Champions League with Man Utd | Phil Cole/Getty Images
Transfer: Free from Barcelona (2004)
United Appearances: 23
Having joined United from Barcelona in 2004 and returned to his boyhood club in 2008, Gerard Pique is one of only four players in history to have won the Champions League in consecutive seasons with two different teams.
Pique made his United debut when he was still only 17 and by 2007/08 had become the preferred stand-in for Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic. But then Barcelona asked for him back.
Fabio is the lesser known Da Silva twin | Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Age: 16 (18 when he moved)
Transfer: £2.7m combined fee from Fluminense (2007)
United Appearances: 56
Along with his twin brother, Rafael – more on whom later, Brazilian full-back Fabio was first spotted by United at a youth tournament in Hong Kong aged just 15. A deal to sign the pair was agreed in February 2007 and they eventually became eligible to join officially when they turned 18.
Fabio struggled with injuries throughout his United career, as well as having to compete with Patrice Evra for a place in the team, although he did start the 2011 Champions League final at right-back.
Luke Shaw was the world’s most expensive teenager in 2014 | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Transfer: £30m from Southampton (2014)
United Appearances: 142
Luke Shaw has definitely not justified a £30m price tag that once made him the most expensive teenager in world football. But a large part of that has been as a result of injuries, especially the devastating broken leg that ended a very promising start to the 2015/16 season.
Having outlived adversary Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, he was named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year and United Player’s Player of the Year for 2018/19.
Phil Jones lived up to the hype early in his Man Utd career | VI-Images/Getty Images
Transfer: £16.5m from Blackburn
United Appearances: 224
Phil Jones now and Phil Jones as the teenager United bought in 2011 were completely different prospects. Back then, the 19-year-old was seriously impressive, powerful and athletic beyond his years, playing 41 times in all competitions in his debut season.
Jones has never reached his full potential, mostly thanks to persistent fitness trouble that has stopped him getting a consistent run of games since 2012. But he is still a Premier League champion.
Rafael played 28 Man Utd games at the age of 18 | Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Age: 16 (18 when he moved)
Transfer: £2.7m combined fee from Fluminense (2007)
United Appearances: 170
While his twin brother Fabio struggled to make an impact, Rafael thrived upon joining United and took full advantage of a lack of an established starting right-back to make an impressive on Sir Alex Ferguson and the coaching staff.
The Brazilian went on to inherit Gary Neville’s number two shirt in 2012 and it was a surprise and arguably a mistake that the club sold him when they did in 2014.
Martial was still a teenager when he joined from Monaco | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Transfer: £36m, rising to £58m, from Monaco (2015)
United Appearances: 225
It is only in the last 14 months that Anthony Martial is finding his feet at United once more. A surprisingly strong first season following a shock transfer from Monaco was lost after he was shunted to make room for others, but he has slowly become the main man again.
Martial scored a famous goal against Liverpool on his United debut and even now at 24 still has the potential to become a superstar if he keeps developing.
Anderson won the 2008 Golden Boy award at Man Utd | Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Transfer: £20m from Porto (2007)
United Appearances: 181
Although he has ultimately gone down as a flop, retired at 31 having been destined for superstardom, it is difficult to argue with Anderson’s early record at United.
The Brazilian brought youthful energy and bravado to a central midfield that largely lacked pace and mobility at that time. He instantly became a firm fan favourite and played a crucial role in winning the Champions League in 2008, as well as collecting four Premier League medals.
Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick on his Man Utd debut | PAUL BARKER/Getty Images
Transfer: £25.6m from Everton (2004)
United Appearances: 559
Wayne Rooney was injured when he first joined United for Everton, making fans wait a few weeks for his debut. But it was worth it when it came as the 18-year-old scored a hat-trick in a Champions League thrashing of Fenerbahce to set the tone for he next 13 years.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Rooney at Old Trafford – he wanted to leave the club at least once or twice – but he eventually went on to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goal record that had stood for 44 years.
Cristiano Ronaldo became the best player in the world at Man Utd | Stu Forster/Getty Images
Transfer: £12.24m from Sporting CP (2003)
United Appearances: 292
Sir Alex Ferguson had tremendous faith in Cristiano Ronaldo from the moment he arrived at United from Sporting CP, insisting he take the number seven shirt vacated by David Beckham. That faith was repaid and then some by what the Portuguese winger went on to achieve.
After early inconsistency, Ronaldo exploded into life for United from 2006 onwards, becoming a goalscorer and a gamechanger. He was central to back-to-back-to-back Premier League titles, won the Champions League and was the first United player in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or.
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