The game of football has become more than just a sport and this trend has resulted in the transfer value of players witnessing a steady rise. In recent years, though, the value of players has skyrocketed to break new records in the transfer market. The transfer fees paid by a club over the course of acquiring a squad, which would largely range from 23 to 27 players, is starting to occupy a greater proportion in the balance sheet figures. The transfer value of a player is determined on the basis of a variety of parameters. While clubs have a lot of information on their hands, fans can get an idea of the transfer value of a player by taking a look at the list published by CIES Football Observatory. Since 2010, CIES Football Observatory has become the definitive guide when trying to learn about the market value of the player.
How do they work?
CIES Football Observatory has brought about a scientific method when it comes to estimating the transfer value of players. Several variables are brought into play and they have even out the areas where it is possible to get the numbers drastically wrong. Even to the common eye, some of the transfers do not make any sense. For example, Liverpool paid a whopping £20 million to sign Stewart Downing in 2011. He ended up leaving the club just two years later for around £5 million. The Reds, meanwhile, signed Philippe Coutinho for just £8.5 million in 2013 before selling him five years later for an incredible £141 million. Such numbers can be misleading statistics for the club or the fan. Therefore, several variables are brought into play to accurately assess the transfer value of a player. The parameters would be:
- Contract duration
- Performances on the pitch
- Economic impact
- Progression of the career
- International status
Age – This is one of the significant parameters since the value of a player goes down with age. A young player, who has many years of football left in him, is obviously going to be worth a lot of more than a player in the mid-30s.
Contract duration – CIES Football Observatory takes the duration left on the player’s contract quite seriously. Since any player above 23 can effectively join another club for free if their contract runs out, this substantially impacts the transfer value.
Performances on the pitch – A crucial factor in any situation, the recent performances from the player has a direct impact on their transfer value. The assessment of this parameter is done over the last six months or less. Anything longer than six months would go by the historic values, which may not be an accurate reflection of the player’s current transfer value.
Economic impact – The economic impact provided by a player to a new club has a strong impact on the transfer value. One of the best examples in recent times would be the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus for €100 million even if the Portuguese superstar was in his mid-30s. This transfer value was largely arrived due to the incredible commercial impact of Ronaldo.
Inflation – There has been a steady growth in transfer values by taking into account the inflation. It was not long that the world record transfer fee was only £1.2 million back in 1975 when he switched from Bologna to Napoli. Now, it would be difficult to find even young players in lower leagues at this price bracket.
Progression of the career – The progress made by a player throughout his career has an influence on their transfer value. If a player has been consistently moving up the ranks and making a stronger impact at bigger clubs, there is a high probability of success at an even bigger club.
International status – The player’s ability to feature for their national team has a strong impact on the transfer value. Of course, the pedigree of the international team also has a role to play, but a strong jump in transfer value can be seen once a player makes a debut for top teams like Germany, England, and more.
List of most valuable players
Due to the various factors that come into play when determining the transfer value, the latest list put out by CIES Football Observatory will feature some surprising names at the top and down the few places. At the start of 2021, the top 10 players according to their transfer value are:
- Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) – €165 million
- Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) – €152 million
- Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – €151.6 million
- Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) – €151.1 million
- Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Germain) – €149.4 million
- Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) – €148.3 million
- Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) – €141.5 million
- Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) – €139.2 million
- Alphonso Davies (Manchester City) – €136.9 million
- Kai Havertz (Chelsea) – €136 million
Even though Kylian Mbappe holds the record for the most expensive transfer amongst these 10 players, the PSG superstar finds itself in the fifth spot largely due to the less time that he has left on his contract. The 22-year-old’s contract runs out in the summer of 2020. It is very likely that PSG will offer the Frenchman a new deal. Until then, Mbappe value will be on the decline even if he is very young.
Despite having won many of the Ballon d’Or awards in the last decade, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do not feature on this list due to different reasons. Messi has just six months left on his contract at Barcelona and he is also entering into the last few years of his career. At more than 33, Messi might be playing at the top level for a couple of years. Meanwhile, Juventus are considering the likelihood of offering Ronaldo a new contract to replace his existing deal, which runs out in the summer of 2022. However, the Portuguese superstar will soon be 36. Despite his excellent shape even at this age, it has a hugely detrimental impact on his transfer value.