Premier League: Ranking the Most Expensive Footballer from Every EPL Club
The month of August is essentially chaos in the transfer market. Clubs get the better part of three months to wheel and deal, but it inevitably concludes with teams leaving things late.
For sides like Southampton, holding on to what you have is paramount. For clubs like Sunderland or Hull City the summer is about improving your standing before the meat of the EPL schedule hits. For the contenders, you weigh your competition and spend accordingly—hopefully giving yourself enough firepower to last until season's end.
Making deals in the summer also seems to be a more sane period. January transfers are normally rushed and ill thought; some sides get shafted, others get rich—the way of the world in many respects.
In either event, we are often left wondering: "Was Player Y even worth X amount of pounds?"
Some people make it their life's work to calculate and formulate what a player is worth based on performance, age, previous transfers and host of other meaningful factors, so why not explore their results?
A peer review of sorts.
The literal interpretation of the headline is rather boring: As Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City would carry the weight—whether by appraisal or actual transfer fee.
Let us, however, not be too languorous.
The methodology of the ranking system is as follows:
- There are 20 slots
- Each Premier League side is represented once
- All current market values come from TransferMarkt
- Any player who has moved on a free transfer is ineligible
- Where there are ties (*), we ask the simple question: "Who would you rather have?"
Each club's most expensive footballer is entered into the pool, comprising our 20-player ranking.
20. Danny Ings (Burnley)
Value: £2.6 million
Age: 22 (birth date: July 23, 1992)
Position(s): Centre-forward, attacking midfielder
If Burnley manager Sean Dyche's intention was to start positively, the Premier League schedule-makers were not so obliging.
In their first three matches the Clarets will host Chelsea, travel to Wales and face Swansea City then prepare Turf Moor for Manchester United. One point in August would be heavenly for the Lancastrians.
Dyche's leading goalscorer in the Championship was Danny Ings. In 40 matches last year, Ings scored 21 goals—producing five assists.
If the 22-year-old forward/midfielder can replicate half of that production in the EPL, Burnley's minute chances of survival should definitely increase, ever so slightly.
19. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)
Value: £3.1 million
Age: 27 (birth date: November 5, 1986)
Being the child of a legend must be special and frustrating altogether—playing the same position as your parent must multiply the levels by 100.
Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel, in the latter stages of his career, played for cross-town rivals Manchester City; his son Kasper entered the Citizens' academy.
After various loans and sales, Kasper Schmeichel found a home in Leicester and blossomed into a terrific Championship-level goalkeeper—gaining promotion this April.
For the Foxes to retain their Premier League status, they will need goals for sure—but Schmeichel's ability to keep shots out weighs just as crucially.
18. Dwight Gayle and Frazier Campbell (Crystal Palace)
Value: £3.5 million
Age: Gayle, 23 (birth date: October 20, 1990) | Campbell, 26 (birth date: September 13, 1987)
Position(s): Dwight Gayle: centre-forward, winger | Frazier Campbell: centre-forward
Crystal Palace broke their transfer record in July 2013, paying Peterborough United £4.5 million—as reported by Sky Sports—for Dwight Gayle. The 24-year-old striker gave a serviceable account of himself during 2013-14, scoring seven of the Eagles' 33 EPL goals.
Tony Pulis, wanting more options up front, opted to add Cardiff City forward Fraizer Campbell in July, for the bargain price of "around £900,000," per BBC Sport.
A side managed by Pulis will always be miserly, but adding Campbell to Gayle, Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh should improve Palace's attacking prowess in their second-straight Premier League campaign.
17. Stephane Sessegnon and Brown Ideye (West Bromwich Albion)
Value: £6.2 million
Age: Sessegnon, 30 (birth date: June 1, 1984) | Ideye, 25 (birth date: October 10, 1988)
Position: Stephane Sessegnon: attacking midfielder | Brown Ideye: centre-forward
Since Steve Clarke's 14 December sacking, West Bromwich Albion have played 23 matches and won four.
Continuing their Premier League stay was the main goal, so in that respect: Well done. But after running through Clarke, Keith Downing, Pepe Mel and current boss Alan Irvine in less than seven months, where the Baggies stand in relation to their direct competition would seem behind.
Shifty midfielder Stephane Sessegnon and new target man Brown Ideye—along with Victor Anichebe and Saido Berahino—will be tasked with producing enough goals for the club to stay out of the relegation zone.
16. Shane Long (Hull City)
Value: £7 million
Age: 27 (birth date: January 22, 1987)
Manchester United will not feature in Europe this season. The first time since all English sides were banned from continental competition after the Heysel Stadium disaster.
Hull City, however, will be playing in the Europa League.
Steve Bruce's side played well to avoid relegation last season, staying defensively compact and allowing their attackers to counter. One such forward being January transfer window signing Shane Long.
The Irish international, frustrated at West Bromwich Albion, found the back of the net four times in 15 games for the Tigers.
Long's contributions will surely be required again—both domestically and in Europe.
15. Asmir Begovic (Stoke City)
Value: £8.8 million
Age: 27 (birth date: June 20, 1987)
Mark Hughes was hired to turn Stoke City from a Cruiser to an Aston Martin DB9.
With his orders in hand, Hughes led the Potters to more eight points and 11 more goals than in 2012-13, but Stoke City's calling card has been—and will be until further notice—their stout defence.
Marshaled by human shield Asmir Begovic, Stoke's back four has consistently been among the Premier League's hardest to break down.
They conceded more than one goal just nine times during the 2013-14 EPL campaign. By comparison, Liverpool allowed two or more goals in 16 games last season.
14. Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United)*
Value: £10.6 million
Age: 27 (birth date: March 7, 1987)
Position(s): Attacking midfielder, winger
Newcastle United's most expensive player is French—no surprise there.
Were this list made before January 29, another Frenchman, Yohan Cabaye, would have taken Newcastle's slot. In any event, Hatem Ben Arfa is the man for this occasion.
Despite his evaluation, the Daily Mail's Simon Jones reports Alan Pardew has deemed Ben Arfa an auxiliary piece—making the creative midfielder train with the reserves for "the past fortnight."
Might this be a heady move? Anything is possible, but ostracising one of your better players—especially after finishing 10th last season—could prove the nail in Pardew's proverbial coffin.
13. Jack Rodwell (Sunderland)*
Value: £10.6 million
Age: 23 (birth date: March 11, 1991)
Position: Central midfielder
Two years ago, Everton allowed a promising young talent to leave Merseyside for Manchester City. After playing 16 EPL matches in 24 months, Jack Rodwell and the Citizens have split company.
Sunderland bid £10 million—per BBC Sport—for the Englishman, and it would seem Gustavo Poyet has found an option worthy of controlling the Black Cats' midfield.
Rodwell's confidence should be lifted, being an automatic first-choice player, but the major question with him is fitness. Missing 32 games via injury while in Manchester, Rodwell—and his new employers—will hope to discover a newfound sense of durability.
12. Loic Remy (Queens Park Rangers)*
Value: £10.6 million
Age: 27 (birth date: January 2, 1987)
Position(s): Centre-forward, winger
In one of English football's more intriguing cases, we find Queens Park Rangers forward Loic Remy.
After a successful loan spell in Newcastle and the transfer of former-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona, the Reds need firepower.
With very little else surrounding, QPR's bid to stay in the Premier League might hinge on their ability to keep the French international.
Harry Redknapp's side will need goals. Remy—and fellow journeyman Adel Taarabt—would prove vital to that effort's success.
11. Victor Wanyama (Southampton)
Value: £12.3 million
Age: 23 (birth date: June 25, 1991)
Position: Central midfielder
Is there a "for-sale" sign hanging from atop St Mary's Stadium?
Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert have left. While former manager Mauricio Pochettino wants Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin with him at Tottenham, as noted by Ben Burrows in the Mirror.
Victor Wanyama, though, seems to be safe.
The brickhouse midfielder—alongside James Ward-Prowse and hopefully the aforementioned Spurs targets—will be relied upon to keep the Saints afloat in the Premier League.
As new money should mean new signings, Southampton supporters will hope their new acquisitions mesh properly before they find themselves in a relegation scrap.
10. Wilfried Bony (Swansea City)
Value: £13.2 million
Age: 25 (birth date: December 10, 1988)
Michael Laudrup's curious departure from Swansea City in February must have sent shock waves through the Welsh side—particularly for summer-2013 signings like Wilfried Bony.
Bought for £12 million, the Cote D'Ivoire international scored 16 goals in 34 EPL appearances. A respectable record for any centre-forward. Naturally, Bony's 2013-14 performances have him linked with moves to perennial top sides Liverpool and Arsenal, per Daily Star's Chisanga Malata.
Interestingly, Bony's previous team, Vitesse Arnhem, is known to have a working relationship with Chelsea. In dire need of goals last year, how Chelsea failed to bring the Ivorian to Stamford Bridge remains a mystery all its own.
9. Andy Carroll (West Ham United)
Value: £14.1 million
Age: 25 (birth date: January 6, 1989)
From Newcastle to Liverpool for £35 million, then from Anfield to West Ham United for £15 million, £50 million has been spent shipping Andy Carroll southward. It makes rather amusing reading considering in 124 Premier League appearances the gargantuan forward has just 29 goals.
That equals one goal per every 387 minutes of football.
Sam Allardyce will have to wait four months to get his striker back from ankle surgery, per BBC Sport. After his recuperation, Carroll will surely be needed for West Ham's mid-season push. Although by now, the Hammers should be used to playing without their oft-injured forward.
8. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
Value: £15.8 million
Age: 23 (birth date: December 3, 1990)
Had Christian Benteke not ruptured his Achilles tendon in April, he would have started for Belgium in the World Cup and his Aston Villa stay might be in question; for Paul Lambert and Co. the centre-forward staying in Birmingham would seem a godsend.
Signed from Genk for £7 million in 2012, Benteke's EPL one-goal-per-two-matches ratio certainly had larger clubs interested, but rumours have rather died considering.
Whether the Villains are in the relegation scrap, mid-table or fighting for the Europa League rests largely on their talismanic striker's ability to fully recover from one of sport's worst injuries.
7. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
Value: £17.6 million
Age: 24 (birth date: September 1, 1989)
Chelsea rather fluffed their lines selling Daniel Sturridge. Scoring 31 Premier League goals since his January 2013 transfer, the Blues' loss was the Reds' gain.
Brendan Rodgers has established a free-flowing, attacking style of football at Anfield, but the loss of snappy forward Luis Suarez figures a major blow. Sturridge—along with new striking partner Rickie Lambert—must regain the slack lost by the Uruguayan's Catalonian exodus.
Already a European champion with Chelsea, Sturridge will be principal in Liverpool's first UCL campaign since 2009-10. How the Reds deal with their battle of attrition will certainly be attention-worthy.
6. Roberto Soldado (Tottenham Hotspur)*
Value: £22 million
Age: 29 (birth date: May 27, 1985)
Honestly, this appraisal should make one question everything they know about football.
Tottenham will have thought they were spending Real Madrid's money wisely last summer, purchasing Valencia's Roberto Soldado for £25 million, but the Spaniard scored just two goals from open play in 28 Premier League appearances.
Yet, astonishingly, his value has remained above £20 million.
Scoring 24 goals from 33 La Liga appearances in 2012-13 would suggest Soldado has the makings of a prolific goalscorer somewhere, but his age—added with form, the resurgence of Emmanuel Adebayor and the up-and-coming Harry Kane—makes £22 million seem grossly inflated.
5. Romelu Lukaku (Everton)*
Value: £22 million
Age: 21 (birth date: May 13, 1993)
"I didn't want to be on the [Chelsea] bench for 10 years."
A quote taken from Romelu Lukaku's presser after his £28 million move from west London to Everton; can you really blame him? Jose Mourinho brought Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba in consecutive summers, almost begging to start trouble.
The Belgian international felt a move was best, and the transfer looks positive for him.
Everton have received a motivated, clinical goalscorer—exactly what Roberto Martinez needs to take his Europa League side and turn them into Champions League-spot contenders.
Chelsea, in turn, received substantial compensation. Strange sentence, that.
4. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)*
Value: £39.6 million
Age: 28 (birth date: October 24, 1985)
Position(s): Centre-forward, trequartista
Simply put: Manchester United struggled in 2013-14.
With Rooney's favoured position taken by Robin van Persie, newly appointed manager Louis van Gaal has flirted with the 3-5-2 formation in pre-season; allowing Rooney to play striker and Juan Mata the space required to be a "No. 10."
Should United's actual No. 10 repeat his production from last season—combined with other various improvements—the Red Devils should soon find themselves in contention for silverware.
3. Sergio 'Kun' Aguero (Manchester City)*
Value: £39.6 million
Age: 26 (birth date: June 2, 1988)
Sergio Aguero scored 17 goals in 23 Premier League appearances last year; what kept the Argentinian from competing for the 2013-14 PFA Player of the Year Award was injury. It seems Aguero cannot stay healthy.
Despite his proclivity for the trainer's table, the Citizens still won a domestic double—including their second Premier League crown in three seasons.
If Manuel Pellegrini's side manage to get 38 games from Aguero, combined with extraordinary play from David Silva, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany, expect a repeat bid from the Sir Alex Ferguson-dubbed "noisy neighbours."
The key word there being: "If."
2. Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)*
Value: £44 million
Age: 27 (birth date: May 4, 1987)
Position: Attacking midfielder
The Spanish international will find himself entering a Blues squad primed to win trophies. What was missing during Chelsea's title push last season were goals—something Fabregas has a knack for creating.
How and where the Spaniard will play under Jose Mourinho does seem a quandary. Oscar is an adept "No. 10," and Fabregas is not exactly built for the pivot.
Possessing problems like these, however, are unlikely to have the west London boss losing sleep.
1. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)*
Value: £44 million
Age: 25 (birth date: October 15, 1988)
Position(s): Attacking midfielder, winger
For nearly 10 years, Arsenal were berated for their seeming reticence to splash cash. While the likes of Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri left the Emirates, Arsene Wenger was comfortable promoting lesser-known commodities.
Frustration reached its boiling point last summer, and the Gunners swooped in for Real Madrid's surplus midfielder Mesut Ozil on transfer deadline day.
Helping secure Champions League football and end their nine-year trophy drought, the £42.2 million purchase—per BBC Sport—may have been worth breaking Arsenal's transfer record; Ozil gave the north Londoners six goals and 11 assists from 34 appearances in 2013-14.
Comments Section: What Have We Learned?
Firstly, were biting people not one of Luis Suarez's pastimes, there is every possibility Liverpool would have kept their Uruguayan striker, and he would have topped this list.
So while you cannot have your cake and eat it too, Italian shoulders seem up for debate.
Next, 1987 was a great year for footballers.
Including the recently departed Count Suarez: Frazier Campbell, Asmir Begovic, Loic Remy, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cesc Fabregas were all born 27 years ago. Purely coincidental, but interesting.
Lastly, plan on being a defender? You might want to work on your first touch and move up the pitch. The absence of centre-backs or full-backs on this list is rather amazing—as poor ones are extremely hard to hide on any given matchday.
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