It was surprising then that the then Athletic Bilbao defender continued to be overlooked by Didier Deschamps for a place in the France international team.
Years later and Laporte gave up on his chances of making the French first team, switching allegiances to Spain, with whom he reached the Euro 2020 semi-final stage.
Anthony Martial – £54m (Monaco to Manchester United, 2015)
More than a few eyebrows were raised when Manchester United splashed the cash on a teenager from Monaco back in 2015, but it was not long before Martial became a cult hero at Old Trafford.
An initial fee of £36m was paid before Martial had made a single international appearance for France, and add-ons over the seasons have risen the cost of this transfer to £54m.
The debate over whether this striker’s hefty transfer fee was worth it continues to rage on, and has led to a popular chant on the Old Trafford terraces, “£50m down the drain, ‘Tony Martial scores again.”
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – £49.5m (Crystal Palace to Manchester United, 2019)
The most expensive Englishman to have never played for England, big things were expected of Aaron Wan-Bissaka when he moved to Manchester United from Crystal Palace at the age of 21.
The right-back was unlucky to fall injured at the time of his first international call-up back in 2019 and has since appeared to have fallen off Gareth Southgate’s radar.
Currently struggling for form, the defender who was seen at the time as an investment for the future has even lost his place in Manchester United’s starting eleven – can he turn his fortunes around this season?
Sebastien Haller – £45m (Eintracht Frankfurt to West Ham United, 2019)
Expectations were high when West Ham signed forward Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt, despite him never making an appearance for the France first team.
Things did not work out for Haller in the Premier League, but a switch to Ajax brought on prolific form and the striker secured a lucrative move to Borussia Dortmund this summer.
In 2020, Haller put his attempts to make France’s first team to one side, declaring his allegiances instead to the Ivory Coast, with who he featured at the Africa Cup of Nations 2021.
Sebastien Haller is currently recovering from a tumour diagnosis, discovered this July, with the entirety of the footballing world wishing him a speedy return to full health.
Alex Teixeira – £45m (Shakhtar Donetsk to Jiangsu Suning, 2016)
Alex Teixeira may not be a name too familiar with Premier League fans, but he very nearly was, after coming close to joining Liverpool back in 2016.
After bagging an astonishing 22 goals in 15 games for Shakhtar Donetsk, Liverpool were interested in bringing the striker to Anfield, but where put off by the price tag of the player who had not made a single international appearance for his native Brazil.
Eventually securing a £45m switch to Jiangsu Suning of the Chinese Super League in 2016, the now 32-year-old Teixeira is still awaiting his first Brazil call-up.
Vinicius Junior – £40.5m (Flamengo to Real Madrid, 2018)
Spanish giants, Real Madrid certainly took a risk when they splashed over £40m on a teenager from Brazilian outfit, Flamengo, but this transfer would eventually pay for itself and then some.
Now a star player in Real Madrid’s first team, the Brazilian scored the winning goal in last season’s Champions League final against Liverpool – cementing his own place in football’s history books in the process.
Despite having made no international appearances at the time of his transfer in 2018, Vinicius Junior has gone on to play 14 times for Brazil, scoring once.
Now something of a staple in the Brazilian national team, it is hard to believe that when Richarlison made his high-profile switch from Watford to Everton that he had not a made single start for his home country.
The initial £35.3m fee was seen as a good deal for all involved parties, as the forward-thinking Richarlison netted 43 goals in 135 Premier Leagues for the Toffees before a £52.2m switch to Tottenham Hotspur this summer.