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Depay, Janujaz, Iheanacho – Five talented young players who were sold with buy-back clauses

Rhian Brewster has just signed for Sheffield United from Liverpool in a club-record deal, the young forward leaving the Premier League champions in search of regular first-team football.

Brewster has long been regarded as a star of the future and has impressed for England at youth level, finishing as the tournament’s leading scorer as the Young Lions won the U-17 World Cup three years ago.

The 20-year-old impressed during a loan spell at Swansea over the second half of last season but has found his pathway to the first-team blocked at Anfield, with Sheffield United now prepared to hand him his opportunity in the top flight after edging closer to a £23.5m deal.


Liverpool, however, are aware of the potential Brewster possesses despite agreeing to his sale, and have insisted on a buy-back clause in the deal that will remain valid for the next three years.

It is not the first time a Premier League side has inserted a buy-back clause in the sale of a young talent, and we’ve decided to revisit five notable names who were sold on similar terms.

Here are five talented young players who were sold with buy-back clauses included:

Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay arrived at Manchester United with a burgeoning reputation after starring in the colours of PSV Eindhoven, finishing as the division’s leading scorer after helping the Dutch side to the title in his final season at the club.

Big things were expected of the winger after he inherited the club’s fabled number seven shirt and linked up with compatriot Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, but he struggled to make an impact and scored just two league goals during his debut campaign.

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His fortunes worsened still following the arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager and he lasted just a further six months before being sold to Lyon, though United were quick to include a buy-back clause in the deal for a player who failed to reach his potential in English football.

Depay’s fine form since moving to France – scoring 47 league goals in just 105 appearances for Lyon – has once again seen his name linked with Europe’s biggest clubs, but a return to Manchester remains unlikely despite his development.

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho became a trailblazer for young English talent seeking an opportunity after deciding to leave Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund, a decision which has proven inspired following the winger’s rapid rise to the elite of the game.

Sancho has become one of the most exciting young players in world football since moving to the Bundesliga, compiling staggering statistics for goals and assists and flourishing in an exciting Dortmund side.

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The 20-year-old is now established as a senior England international and has been courted by the giants of the game in recent months, Manchester United having embarked on a summer long pursuit of the youngster.

Whilst City don’t possess a buy-back clause they do have first refusal should Dortmund accept any bids, bids that are likely to be in excess of £100m for a player sold for less than a tenth of that three years ago.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Another young player who chose to leave Manchester City in search of first-team football, Kelechi Iheanacho enjoyed an impressive goalscoring record during his cameo appearances at the Etihad.

The signing of Gabriel Jesus, however, pushed the Nigerian further down an attacking pecking order fronted by the prolific Sergio Aguero and he was allowed to leave for Premier League rivals Leicester.

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Pep Guardiola confirmed the club had inserted a buy-back option into the £25m deal that took the forward to the King Power Stadium but his fortunes since leaving mean a return is hugely unlikely.

Iheanacho has scored just nine league goals over three seasons with the Foxes and has struggled to displace Jamie Vardy in attack, his lack of opportunities stunting the development of a player once tipped for a huge future.

Nathan Ake

Nathan Ake became a Manchester City player this summer after completing a £40m transfer from relegated Bournemouth, though it could have been different for the Netherlands international had former side Chelsea activated their buy-back option.

Ake came through the academy ranks at Stamford Bridge and enjoyed loan spells at Reading, Watford and Bournemouth before joining the latter on a permanent basis, the £20m deal including a clause that could see Chelsea re-sign the player for a fee of £40m.

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The west London side were continually linked with activating the clause given their defensive struggles of late, but decided against the move with Ake instead heading to join Pep Guardiola at the Etihad this summer.

Adnan Januzaj

Adnan Januzaj was tipped as a star of the future after bursting onto the scene at Manchester United, scoring twice on his first start for the club in a comeback victory at Sunderland.

His immediate impact saw the winger swiftly establish himself in the first-team, with David Moyes labelling the youngster as ‘the best young talent’ he had worked with alongside a certain Wayne Rooney.

After being handed Ryan Giggs’ iconic number 11 shirt at the end of his debut season it soon began to unravel for the Belgian, however, finding himself out-of-favour under new manager Louis van Gaal.

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Januzaj became an increasingly peripheral figure and spent uninspiring loan stints with Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland before signing for Real Sociedad on a permanent basis, though United gave themselves an insurance policy with the inclusion of a buy-back.

Despite winning 12 caps for the senior Belgium side he has failed to kick on as hoped, his buy-back another unlikely to be activated.

Read – Five of the greatest teenage talents in Premier League history

Read Also – Five wonderfully entertaining Premier League teams that won f*ck all

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