15. Guido Carrillo, £19.1m (Monaco to Southampton)
Four days after a 1-1 draw with Tottenham led to Saints slipping into the Premier League relegation zone in January 2018, they broke their transfer record to acquire Monaco striker Carrillo for £19.1m. The uncapped Argentine hadn’t exactly pulled up trees in the principality, and it didn’t take long for Saints supporters to realise the signing wasn’t going to be a success.
Currently on loan at Leganes – managed by former Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino – Carrillo is unlikely to ever usurp the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi in his country’s centre-forward pecking order.
14. Alassane Plea, £20.7m (Nice to Borussia Monchengladbach)
New Nice boss Patrick Vieira hasn’t had the easiest of starts to life in European management, with key players Jean Michael Seri, Maxime Le Marchand and Plea all having departed the club this summer. Mario Balotelli was hoping to push through a move to Marseille, but appears to be staying put for now.
Plea scored 21 goals in all competitions for les Aiglons last term, but even such a healthy haul wasn’t sufficient for the 25-year-old forward to force his way into France reckoning in a World Cup year. In fairness, Didier Deschamps’ charges did all right without him.
13. James Maddison, £22m (Norwich to Leicester)
Maddison is a different type of player to Riyad Mahrez, but the former Norwich man will be expected to fill the creative void at Leicester following the Algerian’s switch to Manchester City. The 21-year-old has shown his quality in Premier League games against Manchester United and Wolves, and Foxes fans will hope he can again hit double figures after scoring 14 goals (and providing eight assists) in the Championship last season.
Should Maddison continue to be productive in the final third, an England call-up might not be too far away. For now, though, he remains one of the most expensive uncapped players in the world.
12. Issa Diop, £22m (Toulouse to West Ham)
West Ham splashed the cash this summer, spending £99m on new recruits to usher in a new era under Manuel Pellegrini at the London Stadium. Diop was their second-priciest purchase at £22m, but unlike the £36m Felipe Anderson, the French defender has never represented his country at senior level.
The 21-year-old still has time on his side, although displacing Raphael Varane or Samuel Umtiti from Les Bleus’ first-choice XI will be a tall order. Diop has played for France at every youth level since the U16s, and will hope to make the final step in the next couple of years.
11. Theo Hernandez, £22.8m (Atletico Madrid to Real Madrid)
Hernandez crossed the Spanish capital in 2017, swapping Atletico Madrid for Real Madrid before he’d made a single first-team appearance for the Colchoneros. The left-back featured in 23 games for Zinedine Zidane’s side last season, before agreeing a loan move to Real Sociedad for the 2018/19 campaign.
A three-time France U20 international, the youngster will have to compete with Benjamin Mendy and namesake Lucas Hernandez for a place in the senior squad. Regular football with la Real will no doubt aid his cause.
10. Abdou Diallo, £24.8m (Mainz to Dortmund)
After a successful first season in Germany with Mainz in 2017/18, Diallo earned himself a £24.8m move to Borussia Dortmund this summer. The central defender, bought as a replacement for Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos, is BVB’s second-most expensive signing of all time, ahead of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcio Amoroso and Andriy Yarmolenko, and behind only Andre Schurrle.
Diallo’s future international prospects look promising: he’s currently captain of France’s U21 side and previously played for five different age-group teams. Born to a Senegalese father, the centre-back could even switch allegiance if a Bleus call-up isn’t forthcoming.
9. Fabian Ruiz, £26.6m (Real Betis to Napoli)
Spain may have underwhelmed in each of their last three tournament appearances, but they still possess tremendous strength in depth right across the pitch – particularly in midfield. Andres Iniesta and David Silva have now retired from international duty, though, so Ruiz will hope he’s given a chance to show what he can do by new manager Luis Enrique.
The 22-year-old joined Napoli from Real Betis last month, penning a five-year contract after the Partenopei triggered his £26.6m release clause. Having played five times for the under-21s, Ruiz could make a step up before the season’s out.
8. Anthony Modeste, £31.3m (Cologne to Tianjin Quanjian)
Modeste was linked with a host of Premier League clubs after scoring 25 Bundesliga goals for Cologne in 2016/17, but no English outfit could match the financial package offered by Tianjin Quanjian. Initially signed on a loan deal, Modeste made the move permanent for £31.3m at the end of the 2017 Chinese Super League season.
Unlike many players on this list, the striker isn’t young and it would take a remarkable turn of events for him to force his way into the France reckoning; now 30, Modeste’s chances of a call-up in effect ended when he moved to Asia.
7. Clement Lenglet, £32m (Sevilla to Barcelona)
Another young French defender who’s yet to pull on the famous blue jersey at senior level, Lenglet’s international prospects were boosted when Barcelona paid Sevilla £32m for his services in July.
The centre-half first moved to La Liga from Ligue 1 side Nancy in January 2017, immediately establishing himself at the heart of the Rojiblancos' backline. He made further strides last season as Sevilla finished seventh and reached the Champions League quarter-finals, prompting Barcelona to pay his release clause this summer.
6. Arthur, £35.5m (Gremio to Barcelona)
Arthur enjoyed a brilliant breakout campaign with Gremio in 2017, playing 50 times in all competitions as Renato Gaucho’s side won the Copa Libertadores. The midfield metronome’s impressive displays led to calls for him to be included in Brazil’s World Cup squad, but Tite resisted the temptation to tinker after a hugely impressive qualification campaign.
The 22-year-old started in the Spanish Super Cup triumph over Sevilla on Sunday, which suggests he’ll receive plenty of playing time at the Camp Nou this term. Arthur’s maiden international appearance can’t be too far around the corner either, as Brazil begin their preparations for next summer’s Copa America on home soil.
5. Malcom, £36.5m (Bordeaux to Barcelona)
Malcom was on the verge of joining Roma earlier this summer, with excited Giallorossi supporters even gathering at the airport to welcome the Brazilian to Italy. Barcelona intervened at the last minute, though, paying £36.5m to bring the Bordeaux forward to the Camp Nou – much to the dismay of Roma sporting director Monchi, who’s since threatened legal action.
Malcom scored 12 goals and provided seven assists for Bordeaux last season, and will be competing with Ousmane Dembele for a starting spot under Ernesto Valverde. If the winger impresses in La Liga, his Brazil debut will be just around the corner.
4. Alex Teixeira, £38.5m (Shakhtar Donetsk to Jiangsu Suning)
Heavily linked with a transfer to Liverpool, Teixeira instead left Shakhtar Donetsk for Jiangsu Suning in January 2016, as the Chinese side splashed £38.5m on his signature. Not only did that move take the forward away from Europe in his mid-20s, it also damaged his chances of earning a first Brazil call-up.
Playing in China hasn’t prevented Paulinho and Renato Augusto from appearing for the Seleção, but – unlike Teixeira – the midfield pair were already established in the national team setup before their moves to Asia.
3. Vinicius Junior, £38.7m (Flamengo to Real Madrid)
Born in July 2000, Vinicius was just 16 years old when Real Madrid agreed a £38.7m deal to bring him to the Spanish capital on his 18th birthday. When the agreement was struck, the Flamengo forward hadn’t even played for Brazil’s U20s, although he did star as the Seleçãowon the U15 South American Championship in 2015, and the U17 equivalent two years later.
Vinicius is unlikely to be a regular starter for Madrid this season, but he’ll gain invaluable experience from any first-team minutes he’s afforded by Julen Lopetegui. Brazil are blessed with numerous wide forwards, but it surely won’t be long before the teenager is selected by Tite.
2. Richarlison, £40m (Watford to Everton)
Another wide forward targeting a first Brazil call-up, Richarlison’s move from Watford to Everton raised a few eyebrows this summer, largely because of the £40m fee. The 21-year-old has responded in the best way possible, though, scoring twice on his debut against Wolves and then again in victory over Southampton.
The former Fluminense flyer played 10 times for Brazil’s U20s, scoring three goals; he’ll now be aiming to make his senior bow in the coming months, particularly as the Copa America takes place in his homeland next summer.
1. Aymeric Laporte, £57.2m (Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez became Manchester City’s record signing when he joined the Premier League champions from Leicester for £61m this summer, pushing January arrival Laporte into second place. Yet while the Algerian has pulled on his country’s shirt 39 times, his new team-mate has yet to win a senior international cap.
Eligible for both France and Spain, the defender has represented the former at U17, U18, U19 and U21 level without ever turning out for the senior side.