Success in modern football is often dictated by money. Or, to put it another way, the most successful squads are usually the most valuable, too.
The CIES Football Observatory, which produces research-based football analytics, has produced a pair of interesting financial reports over the last couple of months. In January, they published a list of the 166 footballers from the ‘big-5’ leagues who are worth more than £50m, going off each player’s estimated transfer value.
In March, they ranked every club in the big-5 leagues from most valuable to least. The order was determined by aggregating the 20 most valuable players at each club, resulting in an aggregate transfer value for every team.
So what do the results tell us? Below, we’ve used the CIES data to have a look at the 10 most valuable clubs – from Liverpool in first to Juventus in 10th – and picked out the most valuable player from each.
The results range from predictable to surprising…
1. Liverpool – Mohamed Salah
Club aggregated value: €1.41bn
Salah’s estimated transfer value: €175.1m
No surprise here, though Salah was run relatively close by Sadio Mane (€155.6m). With 91 goals in 144 appearances for Liverpool since his return to the Premier League, it would take a mammoth fee for the Merseysiders to part ways with the Egyptian.
Liverpool also possess the most valuable goalkeeper on the list, Alisson Becker (€87m), as well as the most valuable centre-back, Virgil van Dijk (€93m), and full-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold (€110m).
2. Man City – Raheem Sterling
Club aggregated value: €1.36bn
Sterling’s estimated transfer value: €223.7m
Like his club, Sterling has endured a mixed season in terms of form, but his value remains huge – likely a result of him being still just 25 and his history of improving year-on-year since signing for Manchester City.
Gabriel Jesus (€115.6m) is the closest City player to Sterling in value.
3. Barcelona – Lionel Messi
Club aggregated value: €1.17bn
Messi’s estimated transfer value: €125.5m
Despite entering his twilight years – he turns 33 in June – Messi is still Barcelona’s MVP, and for good reason. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is essentially priceless to his club, whose success over the last couple of years has been dictated by Messi’s ridiculous consistency.
As Messi gets older, however, there is a chance his Barcelona teammate Antoine Griezmann (€123.6m) will become more valuable than him.
4. Real Madrid – Eden Hazard
Club aggregated value: €1.1bn
Hazard’s estimated transfer value: €90.3m
Consider their ongoing quest to create teams consisting almost solely of superstars, it is perhaps a surprise that Real Madrid currently possess no players worth more than €90.3m. Though it’s worth noting the squad’s collective worth makes them more valuable than most.
Hazard could, of course, edge closer to the €100m mark if his form and fitness recover next season.
5. Chelsea – Tammy Abraham
Club aggregated value: €1bn
Abraham’s estimated transfer value: €103.1m
It’s remarkable to think that Tammy Abraham, now worth an estimate north of €100m, was playing on loan at Aston Villa in the second tier of English football last season. His nationality and goalscoring exploits for Chelsea have made him a huge asset for the Londoners.
Another Englishman at Stamford Bridge, Mason Mount (€94.1m), is also pushing the €100m mark.
6. Man United – Marcus Rashford
Club aggregated value: €1bn
Rashford’s estimated transfer value: €134.3m
Rashford has experienced a boost in reputation once again this season, hitting a hot run of goalscoring form before a back injury ended his campaign. His value alone has pushed Manchester United above the likes of mega-rich PSG on the list.
No other Red Devil really comes close to Rashford, with Paul Pogba now worth €80.4m – less than the fee United spent on him in 2016.
7. PSG – Kylian Mbappe
Club aggregated value: €979m
Mbappe’s estimated transfer value: €265.2m
Mbappe tops the list by €41.5m, making him far and away the most valuable player in Europe’s top five leagues, according to CIES. His age is definitely a factor; the 21-year-old could get even better than he is now, which is a mouthwatering prospect.
The next most valuable PSG player is Neymar, who is a whole €165m cheaper than Mbappe.
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8. Atletico Madrid – Joao Felix
Club aggregated value: €836m
Felix’s estimated transfer value: €100.6m
Joao Felix became the world’s second most expensive teenager last summer, which understandably makes him Atletico Madrid’s most valuable player.
After a fine start to life in Spain, the Portuguese starlet’s progress has been halted somewhat. But there is still huge potential, hence his value.
9. Tottenham – Harry Kane
Club aggregated value: €787m
Kane’s estimated transfer value: €150.5m
Whether Harry Kane ends up being a one-club man – a possibility that has been mooted on many occasions – could depend on whether a European superpower deems him worthy of his huge value. His goal record would suggest he will be targeted, but Kane’s injuries mean Spurs may retain him.
Dele Alli (€95.6m) is in a similar boat. His worth to Tottenham is big, but his performances and fitness record have hindered his price.
10. Juventus – Paulo Dybala
Club aggregated value: €783m
Dybala’s estimated transfer value: €91.2m
Having almost left the Allianz Stadium in the summer for a reported fee close to his CIES value, Dybala remains a key piece of the Juventus jigsaw on the pitch and in the books.
That he is worth more than his ageing but relentless teammate Cristiano Ronaldo (€80.3) says a lot.