Alphonso Davies has finalized an MLS-record transfer to Bayern Munich, and the 17-year-old's journey has been anything but straightforward to getting there.
Bayern Munich has completed a record move for Vancouver Whitecaps and Canadian international winger, Alphonso Davies, signing the rising star through 2023. It is believed that the 17-year-old will cost the reigning Bundesliga champions roughly $13 million up front, with the fee rising as high as $22 million through performance-based add-ons and incentives.
Still an unknown quantity for fans in Europe, Davies's move to the Allianz Arena will break MLS's transfer record.
The teenage sensation will remain at his current club for the remainder of their season. But with Davies' move to Bayern Munich just around the corner, here's everything you need to know about Canada's most expensive player ever.
Escaping War as a Refugee
Davies might be a fully-fledged Canada international, who has also represented the country at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels, but he has had to battle through adversity to be able to represent the North American country.
Coming from a family with Liberian descent, Davies was actually born in Buduburam, Ghana - a refugee camp that his parents were living in after they fled the Second Civil War within their home country. It is understood that the conflict displaced more than 450,000 people.
Shortly after his fifth birthday, Davies' family secured passage to Canada where they settled in Windsor, the southernmost city in the country. Three years later they moved to the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, Edmonton.
First Steps in Football
Davies found himself on trial with local side Edmonton Internationals as a child, a team that he admits was eager to accept almost all of the players who attended that day.
"I went for a tryout and basically everyone who was there made the team," Davies jokingly told Whitecaps' website. "That’s how I started."
The youngster also spent time with the Edmonton Strikers before becoming part of the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency in 2015.
Davies had a brief spell with the club's second team, which has since been disbanded, with the Whitecaps favoring to partner with Fresno FC. During that time the Ghana-born winger because the USL's youngest player ever signed to a contract, as well as the league's youngest goalscorer - both coming at the age of 15.
In June 2016, Davies made his first team debut for the club after signing on a short-term deal, and less than one month later, the teenager had signed two-year contract with Whitecaps that tied him down until 2018 - with the option of extending the deal until 2020.
At the time of signing his pro contract, Davies was the youngest active player in Major League Soccer. He became one of the youngest players to ever make an appearance in MLS soon after, second only to Freddy Adu.
His first career goal for the Whitecaps came in September that year with an injury-time strike against Sporting Kansas City during the Concacaf Champions League.
During his first season in MLS, the Whitecaps welcomed scouts from Europe's biggest clubs who we keen to catch a glimpse of the young winger. Davies was even named as one of the best young talents in world football in 2017.
Davies had already represented Canada at Under-17 and Under-20 levels, but after being officially granted citizenship on June 6, 2017, he made the step up to senior level at the age of 16.
Following his debut against Curaçao during a friendly match, where he became the youngest player to ever represent Canada, Davies was involved in its 2017 Gold Cup run. He scored a brace in the opening match against French Guiana, becoming the youngest goalscorer in Gold Cup history.
As a lighting fast, left-footed attacker who most notably is a self-proclaimed Barcelona fan, there are no surprises that Davies idolizes Lionel Messi. Interestingly, however, he has admitted that he even watches clips of the Argentina international star before matches.
"I look up to him. I actually try to watch videos of him before games," Davies told WhitecapsFC.com. "I like his playing style, his dribbling, passing, shooting. Just everything about him.
"The way he carries himself on the field, he doesn’t cry, he doesn’t whine, he doesn’t dive. He’s just a great role model.
"Barcelona [are my favorite team]," he added. "Partly because of Messi, but as a whole team, I just like watching them play. They have some really great players on that team."
MLS, Canadian Transfer Record
With the move to Bayern Munich just around the corner, Davies is set to eclipse the MLS transfer record, as well as the record move for a Canadian.
MLS set its current record transfer when Atlanta United signed Ezequiel Barco from Argentine side Independiente in January, arriving for roughly $15 million. Davies may also come close to doubling the league's record sale of Jozy Altidore to Villarreal back in 2008.
Interestingly, only three Canadian players have ever broken the €1m transfer barrier.
The first two were set by Paul Peschisolido and Jim Brennan when they joined Fulham and Nottingham Forest before the turn of the century, while the record move was that of Everton fan-favorite Tomasz Radzinski back in 2001, who moved to Goodison Park for an estimated €6.75m.