How players’ price tags have changed over their careers

06.04.2020 14:03:19 Euan McTear
Kylian Mbappé of PSG
  •  A look at the 10 top-rated players in the world
  •  Evaluating their market values over recent years

  

With transfer market inflation, the most expensive players in the world nowadays cost so much more than the most expensive players of a decade ago or even a few years ago. The likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar have price tags that are astronomical. 

Yet even the current most valuable players weren’t always so costly. In this article, we take a look at how the top players in football have seen their price tags evolve over the course of their careers. To do so, we look at the estimated market values over the years on Transfermarkt for the current 10 highest valued players.  

 

Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Transfermarkt have Kylian Mbappé rated as the most valuable player right now, with his hypothetical price tag set at £180m. They’ve had him rated this high since last October, while he has been valued above £100m since the start of 2018. 

Amazingly, he was valued at just £9m just three years ago, but then the 2016/17 season saw Mbappé burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old as he helped inspire Monaco’s run to the Champions League semi-finals, where they ultimately lost to Juventus

 

Kylian Mbappé’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £0.1m

April 2017 £9m

April 2018 £108m

April 2019 £180m

April 2020 £180m

 

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

In the past two years, now that he has added goals to his game, Raheem Sterling’s market value has doubled. The Englishman was always a highly rated prospect and even moved for almost £60m from Liverpool to Manchester City in 2015 as a 20-year-old, but now he is scoring like an elite forward and this has seen his value soar even further. 

  

Sterling’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £45m

April 2017 £40.5m

April 2018 £72m

April 2019 £108m

April 2020 £144m

 

Neymar (PSG)

Neymar’s price tag has always been a murky question, as proven by the question marks over how much exactly Barcelona actually paid for him back in 2013. What is known is that he moved to PSG from Catalonia for just under £200m when his release clause was activated in 2017. 

By Transfermarkt’s calculations, he wasn’t worth that much then and he isn’t worth that much now. In fact, his value has fallen to be worth £144m right now in 2020, partly because he is getting older and partly because he has had injury issues that haven’t allowed him to complete the season in each of the past two years. But Neymar is still a top-rated talent, just as he was when coming out of Santos. Even as a 20-year-old at Santos, his market value was still a cool £27m.

 

Neymar’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £90m

April 2017 £90m

April 2018 £162m

April 2019 £162m

April 2020 £144m

 

Sadio Mané (Liverpool)

It’s often forgotten, but Sadio Mané finished fourth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or voting. The Senegal international was a major reason for Liverpool winning the last Champions League title. For that reason, it’s no surprise that Mané has seen his market value almost double in the past year. 

 

Sadio Mané’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £18m

April 2017 £34.2m

April 2018 £54m

April 2019 £76.5m

April 2020 £135m

 

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Between 2013 and 2017, Mohamed Salah gradually saw his market value creep up from around £10m to £40 as he passed from Basel to Chelsea to Roma. But since moving to Liverpool, his value has skyrocketed. 

That’s because the Egyptian is playing his best football under Jurgen Klopp. After never scoring more than 15 league goals in a season, he netted 32 and 22 in the Premier League in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively, before scoring 16 goals in the first 26 matches he played this term. 

 

Mohamed Salah’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £20.7m

April 2017 £27m

April 2018 £72m

April 2019 £135m

April 2020 £135m

 

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Harry Kane did spend a couple of spells out on loan very early on in his career, but his explosive rise has taken place entirely at Tottenham. When he returned from his most recent loan at Norwich in 2013 his value on Transfermarkt was £0.5m, but then Kane started playing for the Spurs first team and he started scoring goals. Now, the two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner is one of the most valuable assets in the game. 

 

Harry Kane’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £27m

April 2017 £45m

April 2018 £108m

April 2019 £135m

April 2020 £135m

 

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

When Kevin De Bruyne first arrived in England at Chelsea in 2013, his value was set at just £13.5m. It didn’t increase much at Stamford Bridge as he didn’t have a coach who believed in him there. Yet he absolutely has a coach who believes in him at Manchester City and that’s why it’s no surprise to see that his value has exploded under Pep Guardiola. The Catalan coach has basically built his Manchester City side around De Bruyne and the Belgian’s recent dominance is reflected in his price tag’s increase. 

 

Kevin De Bruyne’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £54m

April 2017 £58.5m

April 2018 £99m

April 2019 £135m

April 2020 £135m

 

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

For so long, Messi was the top player in Transfermarkt’s market values. The only reason he is now only the eighth highest ranked player is because he is approaching his 33rd birthday. 

It’s difficult to accurately say how much Messi has been worth over his career because he has been around for so long and has seen transfer market inflation hit only in the last few years. His peak may have been in the calendar year of 2012 when he scored 91 goals, but he was only rated at £90m this time eight years ago. 

Right now, he’d still fetch a fee that could be a record if he ever hit the actual market, but Transfermarkt put his worth at £126. It’s down on his peak value of £162 from a couple of years ago, but it’s certainly not bad for a 32-year-old.

 

Lionel Messi’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £108m

April 2017 £108m

April 2018 £162m

April 2019 £144m

April 2020 £126m

 

Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

It’s amazing to think that Jadon Sancho only just turned 20 in March. Given that he’s so young, it makes sense that his transfer market value has risen so much only recently. He is now rated at £117m when just two years ago he was valued at just £7.2m, when he’d only recently arrived at Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City

 

Jadon Sancho’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: N/A

April 2017 N/A

April 2018 £7.2m

April 2019 £72m

April 2020 £117m 

 

Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)

Antoine Griezmann had been linked with a move away from Atlético Madrid for a few years and finally made it last summer, joining Barcelona. He moved for £108m, which was the value of his release clause and which is his current market value.

He owes a lot to Diego Simeone for seeing his value rise so much in recent years, as he was given the keys to Atlético Madrid’s attack and allowed to shine and see his value rise at the same time. 

 

Antoine Griezmann’s market value over the past few years

April 2016: £54m

April 2017 £72m

April 2018 £90m

April 2019 £135m

April 2020 £108m


 

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