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£128m Phil Foden is rated as one of the three most valuable young players on the planet


Half of the top 10 most valuable young footballers in the world are either English or playing in the Premier League.

The new figures from the CIES Football Observatory underline the current dominance of the English game and the success of the player development pathways at the top clubs.

The analysis estimates the January transfer value for 60 players who are under the age of 23 in the five major European Leagues, which are the richest in the world. The Premier League boasts the largest share of the list with 17 young stars overall.

And when it comes to the top 10, the English top flight dominates with Manchester City’s Phil Foden (21) and Ferran Torres (21) and Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho, (21) and Mason Greenwood (20) all featuring, alongside another Englishman in Jude Bellingham (18), who plays at Borussia Dortmund.

Not surprisingly, given the most valuable commodity in football is goals, the top 10 most expensive young footballers are dominated by forwards.

Top of the pile are Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland (21), Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jnr (21) and Foden, who CIES estimate would each cost £128million in the January window, with Greenwood, Sancho and Torres behind them.

Kylian Mbappe would normally be expected to top the entire list, but his dwindling contract at PSG means he is eligible for a free transfer next summer, thus his current transfer value is diminished.

Jude Bellingham (right) of Borussia Dortmund is ranked ninth in the list of the highest valued young footballers in Europe, according to the football observatory, CIES

Jude Bellingham (right) of Borussia Dortmund is ranked ninth in the list of the highest valued young footballers in Europe, according to the football observatory, CIES

Bellingham's Dortmund team mate, Erling Haaland (centre) is joint top of the list

Bellingham’s Dortmund team mate, Erling Haaland (centre) is joint top of the list

TOP TEN MOST VALUABLE U23 PLAYERS IN EUROPE
Value   Player Nationality   Age   Contract Expires
£128M Erling Haaland (Forward)
Borussia Dortmund 
Nor  21    06/24
£128M  Vinicius Junior (Forward)
Real Madrid
Bra  21    06/24 
£128M  Phil Foden (Forward)
Manchester City 
Eng  21    06/24 
£119M  Mason Greenwood (Forward)
Manchester United
Eng  20    06/25 
£119M  Florian Wirtz (Attacking Midfield)
Bayer Leverkusen
Ger  18    06/26 
£119M  Pedri  (Attacking Midfield)
Barcelona
Spain  19    06/26 
£111M  Jadon Sancho (Forward)
Manchester United
Eng  21    06/27 
£102M  Ferran Torres (Forward)
Manchester City
Spain  21    06/25 
£102M  Jude Bellingham (Midfield)
Borussia Dortmund
Eng  18    06/25 
£102M  Alphonso Davies (Full Back)
Bayern Munich
Can  21    06/25 
Source: CIES           

Attacking midfield players also feature, with Bayer Leverkusen’s celebrated teen, Florian Wirtz (18) and Barcelona’s Pedri (19) listed at fifth and sixth respectively.

Wirtz held the record for the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history at the age of 17 years and 34 days when he scored a curler against Bayern Munich last season, and now sits second in the all-time list, behind Youssoufa Moukoko of Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham, a box-to-box midfielder, is in at nine and the only defender to make the top 10 is Bayern Munich’s flying full-back, Alphonso Davies (21).

The domination of English players and the Premier League in the list of most valuable young players, particularly in the top 10, reflects the impact of the Elite Player Performance Plan, introduced in 2012 by the top flight in combination with the EFL and FA.

The plan focuses on players from under-9 to under-23 and includes improving standards in academies, providing high-quality games and tournaments as well as ensuring a good quality education for youngsters.

Bayer Leverkusen's midfielder  Florian Wirtz was the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history

Bayer Leverkusen’s midfielder  Florian Wirtz was the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history

Manchester City's Spanosh youngster Ferran Torres is also rated as worth over £100m

Manchester City’s Spanosh youngster Ferran Torres is also rated as worth over £100m

Among those to benefit are Chelsea’s Reece James (21), Mason Mount (22) and Trevoh Chalobah (22), who all feature in the long list of valuable young players produced by CIES.

Liverpool’s Curtis Jones (20), West Ham’s Declan Rice (22) and Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe (21) are also prominent. The rankings also show the ability of Premier League clubs to tempt talent, whether that be English players who have been lured back to the country of their birth, like Sancho, or young foreign stars, like Torres.

The Premier League is widely considered to be the strongest competition in Europe, certainly in financial strength, and arguably in competitiveness too.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp believes the Premier League is the toughest competition in Europe

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp believes the Premier League is the toughest competition in Europe

Liverpool forward Mo Salah was the latest to assert this view. Following the Reds’ 1-0 win at Wolves on Saturday, Salah discussed his future and desire to stay in England.

‘I prefer to stay in the Premier League as it’s the strongest league in the world,’ Salah said.

And his manager, Jurgen Klopp, expressed a similar sentiment last month. ‘The Premier League is the toughest in world football,’ said Klopp. ‘This league is unbelievable.

‘When I was in Germany people spoke about the best league in the world – some people thought it may be Germany. No, it’s not… It could be Spain; maybe there were times it was Italy; but for a few years now for sure it is the Premier League. There is no doubt about that.’

U23 PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS IN TOP 60 MOST VALUABLE IN EUROPE
Value  Player  Nationality  Age  Contract Expires 
£128M Phil Foden (Forward)
Manchester City 
Eng  21  06/24
£119M  Mason Greenwood (Forward)
Manchester United 
Eng  20  06/25 
£111M  Jadon Sancho (Forward)
Manchester United 
Eng  21  06/27 
£102M  Ferran Torres (Forward)
Manchester City 
Spain  21  06/25 
£102M  Jude Bellingham (Midfield)
 Borussia Dortmund
Eng  18  06/25 
£85M  Kai Havertz (Attacking Mid)
Chelsea 
Ger  22  06/25 
£85M  Bukayo Saka (Attacking Mid)
Arsenal 
Eng  20  06/24 
£85M  Reece James (Full Back) 
Chelsea
Eng  22  06/25 
£77M  Mason Mount (Attacking Mid)
Chelsea 
Eng  22  06/26 
£77M  Emile Smith Rowe (Attacking Mid)
Arsenal 
Eng  21  06/26 
£60M  Curtis Jones (Defensive Mid)
Liverpool 
Eng  20  06/25 
£60M  Declan Rice (Defensive Mid)
West Ham 
Eng  22  06/24 
£34M  Illan Meslier (Goalkeeper)
Leeds United
Fra  21  06/26 
£34M  Trevoh Chalobah (Centre Back)
Chelsea 
Eng  22  06/26 
£26M  Emmerson Royal (Full Back)
Tottenham Hotspur
Bra  23  06/26 
£26M  Conor Gallagher 
Crystal Palace (Chelsea loan)
Eng  22  06/25 
£21M  Luke Thomas (Full Back)
Leicester City 
Eng  20  06/24 
Source: CIES         

The revenue earned by the Premier League clubs in 2018-19 amounted to £5.9billion, compared to their nearest rivals in La Liga, which brought in £3.4bn.

The impact of the player development pathways and the financial muscle of English clubs are now being seen in European competition.

Not only have English sides won the Champions League twice in the last three years, breaking the Spanish monopoly of the tournament, three of the top five and four of the top 10 clubs in UEFA rankings are now from these shores.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea line up behind Bayern Munich with Manchester United ranked ninth.

Five years ago, the ranking looked very different. In 2016-17, only Chelsea made the top 10 and they were ranked 10th.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka is highly rated among the top 60 U23 players in Europe

And Chelsea's Reece James is also well-placed in the list

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (left) is highly rated among the top 60 U23 players in Europe and Chelsea’s Reece James (right) is also well-placed in the list

EUROPEAN CLUB RANKINGS 2021-22 AND 2016-17 
UEFA Club Rank 2021-22 UEFA Club Rank 2016-17
1. Bayern Munich 1. Real Madrid
2. Manchester City  2. Bayern Munich 
3. Liverpool  3. Barcelona 
4. Chelsea  4. Atletico Madrid 
5. Barcelona  5. Juventus 
6. Real Madrid  6. Paris Saint-Germain 
7. Paris Saint-Germain  7. Borussia Dortmund 
8. Juventus  8. Sevilla
9. Manchester United  9. Benfica 
10. Atletico Madrid  10. Chelsea 
Source: UEFA   



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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