A lot of money is thrown around as clubs seek to fill vacant positions or to inject more competition into already occupied spots. The goal ultimately is to fight for silverware or take the team to the next level.
Over the years, season after season, it has been discovered that player cost is constantly on the rise. With a single-player selling for about 100 million dollars or even more, you begin to wonder how agents and soccer clubs arrive at these amounts.
For instance, the transfer record of $252 Million made by Neymar’s move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017 remains unbeaten. But has the player lived up to the price tag?
Many uncertainties surround the welfare, productivity, and durability of soccer players. As a result, most clubs consider several factors to ensure they get value for their money. These factors sum up the basis of defining and putting a number on a soccer player’s market value.
So, let’s see some ways on how to determine the value of a soccer player.
- What is A Soccer Players Market Value?
- How To Determine The Value Of A Soccer Player?
- General performance at club level and national tournaments
- Level and status of the league, in both sporting and financial terms
- Development potential
- Skill and Position
- Marketing value
- Number & reputation of interested clubs
- Adaptability and Performance potential
- Experience level
- Injury susceptibility
- Different financial conditions of clubs and leagues
- “Trends” and Demands on the market
- Situational conditions
- Transfer Market In Other Types of Soccer
What is A Soccer Players Market Value?
A soccer player’s market value is the estimated monetary value of a player. This is how much a club would be willing to pay to secure the player’s services. Contractually, it is agreed upon by the soccer player, the club, and the agents representing both parties.
How To Determine The Value Of A Soccer Player?
Highlighted below are some general factors to help evaluate the value of a soccer player, with 4 additional situational factors that influence player value;
Aside from goalkeepers, younger players are more expensive than older players. This is because a younger player is expected to increase in ability over time. And this increase in ability eventually leads to a rise in the value of the player.
Hence the player gets sold for a higher value than the amount used in the purchase. Therefore, compared to older players who have a depreciating value, younger players are considered a long-term investment.
Like Chelsea, Ajax, and Dortmund, several clubs make a massive portion of their income by developing younger players and selling or loaning them off for larger amounts.
But, this is never always the case; some players hit their peaks at an advanced age. It all comes down to when a player gets to his peak, as there are early and late bloomers.
General performance at club level and national tournaments
Soccer seasons in most parts of the world start from August and run till May in the following year. Therefore, the value of a player who performed exceptionally during this period can increase rapidly. The same can be said for a player who does well during a national team tournament.
An excellent example of this is James Rodriguez of Colombia, who performed marvelously at the 2014 world cup in Brazil. His value rose from $51 million in 2013 to $85 million in 2014 after the world cup, when Real Madrid of Spain signed him.
Level and status of the league, in both sporting and financial terms
The difficulty of a league is also crucial in deciding the market value of a soccer player.
It is generally accepted that the big 5 leagues are the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, and Ligue 1. Therefore, a player in any of these 5 leagues is valued higher than players from other leagues.
Also, the buying power of soccer clubs from these leagues is much more significant due to TV rights and other sponsorship platforms. This means the transfer budget of a seemingly small club in England can be large enough to buy a big club in another league in Europe.
For established players who have proven themselves in the top 5 leagues globally, their market value tends to increase as they move from one club to another. And a good example is Romelu Lukaku of Belgium.
A front man that has the ability to hold up the ball is highly sought after in the modern game. This is what Romelu Lukaku brings to the table and as a result, he has built a fearsome reputation of bullying defenders and consistently finding the back of the net.
As a teenager, He signed for Chelsea Fc for $13.6 million. Still, after moving to other clubs and building his reputation over the years, he returned to Chelsea for $130 million in the 2021 transfer window. Now, that speaks a lot about a well-built reputation.
Alongside the age of a player, the development potential is also considered. Progress made by the player over the years is examined, and projections are made on expected future performance levels.
Scattered across the globe are many talented soccer players. But once in a while, you come across some who are highly gifted. Players like this may seem so raw initially, but they turn out to be well sought-after soccer stars with the proper guidance.
The prospect of a player moving from a raw talent to a superstar is also a core decider of market value. As some rise to the occasion, others crumble at the weight of expectation and fade into oblivion.
Usually, agents ponder several questions that can determine the player’s value. For instance, some questions like;
- How many more years can the said player thrive at the highest level of soccer?
- What areas are needed for improvements in overall gameplay?
- How quickly does the player learn instructions and set plays?
Skill and Position
Talent is a crucial factor in determining the value of a player. As scouts are constantly scanning the globe for flair players, and usually attackers are the most expensive. Generally, strikers, Wingers, and attacking midfielders attract the highest fees and the greatest fan love.
The ability of a player to score goals, make dashing runs and dribble past opponents sends fans into moments of hysteria. And these attributes culminate in increasing the value of a player.
In recent times, soccer clubs have been found to purchase players not only for their playing ability but for how well they can drive the marketing of club merchandise. Sales in jerseys, mementos, and club paraphernalia help in increasing club revenue.
Typically, players who combine their excellent performance on the pitch with social media relevance tend to get the highest transfer fees. Good examples are Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba..
Talent is crucial in determining market value, but popularity plays a significant role in the modern game and digital world. The market value also depends on a player’s ability to amass followers online and on the pitch. This eventually increases the player and the club’s commercial value.
Number & reputation of interested clubs
In peculiar situations where more than one club is bidding for a particular player, parent clubs tend to hike the price of such players. And like what you will find at an auction, the highest bidder usually wins.
This means even if a player is valued at a specific amount, this can change rapidly by a bidding process. Also, the reputation of the interested club can influence the price tag of a player. The higher the reputation, the greater the amount requested by a parent club.
An example is the case of Jack Grealish of Manchester City. Formerly donning the colors of Aston villa in England and valued at $100 million. But as top clubs in Europe contested for his signature his value rose and he was later sold for $139 million.
Adaptability and Performance potential
Alongside the player’s reputation, the potential of a player to quickly adapt to a new league often results in changes in the player’s market value. When switching leagues or continents, players tend to struggle regardless of talent.
Some players take up to a year to adapt to the conditions of the new league. And this uncertainty of whether or not a player will adapt reduces their value, with clubs preferring veterans over greenhorns.
Another way to determine the value of a player is the level of experience of the player. It determines how well they handle big matches, the media, and dressing room tensions.
However, even though it is a good attribute, it doesn’t necessarily translate into a high market value. While some clubs prefer signing well-proven veterans for these attributes, others prefer younger players for their sell-on value.
In some cases, the experience can translate into a higher market value. For example, players within the peak range of 24 – 29 years are considered experienced and would sell for more when compared to players in their 30’s and approaching retirement.
Players with a track record of a high level of proneness to injuries command lesser fees than players known to be less prone. Injury-prone players are considered as risks; even with no dispute on a player’s ability.
Susceptibility to injuries makes it difficult for clubs to depend on the services of such players. Often clauses are added to the contracts of such players requesting that they play a certain number of games before an agreed amount add-on gets paid.
Especially with most leagues’ long and arduous nature, injury-prone players spend too long on the treatment table and need extra time to come back up to speed. This eventually results in a drop in their performance and a reduction in market value.
Different financial conditions of clubs and leagues
The financial demands of running a soccer club often take their toll on the executives, and usually, they end up selling off their most prized soccer stars. This helps in reducing the wage structure and in balancing the books.
But, unfortunately, in situations like this, players are sold for less than their value. Due to the different buying powers of soccer clubs in Europe, UEFA (Europe soccer governing body) established the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations.
The FFP was implemented in 2011 to curtail excessive spending and ensure that clubs do not spend more than they earn. This has helped to reduce the inflation of player prices in the transfer market.
“Trends” and Demands on the market
Every transfer window has its unique demands for players. There are times when quality strikers are in short supply, leading to a hike in the price of strikers. Hence depending on positions and the players needed in the current market, prices tend to fluctuate.
Situational conditions are unique instances that influence the market value of a soccer player. They include:
Desire or interests of the player
In special cases where a player hands in a transfer request to join another team, the market value of such a player increases should the club be unwilling to sell.
Conversely, if the club is willing to sell, they can reduce their stance and the cost of the player. This is done in most cases to remove an unsettled player and preserve team chemistry.
The player goes on strike
There have been instances when a club refuses to sell a player. This usually ends in the player staying at the parent club. However, some players choose to go on strikes to force the hand of their parent club.
This usually spoils the relationship between player and club resulting in the offloading of such a player. Unfortunately, this scenario has played out in leagues across the world in recent times, leading to the playing being sold off for a price lower than the actual market value.
High-earning players are difficult to sign and only available to an exclusive array of clubs. As a result, clubs seeking to reduce the size of their wage bill have been found to reduce the market value of their players.
On the other hand, high-earning players have the highest market values and control the transfer fees in normal situations.
Club wants to sell a player
Often clubs have been found to have more than two players in all positions across the field. In most competitions, clubs must submit a list of players (usually within 23 – 30) they intend to use for the campaign.
This results in some players being left and eventually disgruntled. Most clubs prefer to sell such players to other clubs to preserve the bond in the dressing room.
The coronavirus pandemic hit all areas of human life including soccer. The consequence of closed stadiums all around the world led to a massive reduction in the revenue of soccer clubs.
To date like many families, many clubs are still yet to fully recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. This made it increasingly difficult to buy new players and most clubs preferred to hold on to the players they had. Others willing to sell had to do so at lower prices.
Transfer Market In Other Types of Soccer
Apart from association football, another popular type of soccer is Futsal. The methods used in determining the value of a Futsal player are much similar to that of Soccer. But due to the low followership of the game, players cost less than when compared to mainstream soccer.
Considering all the factors mentioned earlier, evaluating a player’s market value is not rocket science. However, you will always find variants like older players commanding huge prices.
Moreover, moderately talented players who have a high social media following and a cult fan base tend to have huge price tags as well.
Such players drive the market in their unique way. This shows you the game’s evolution and what counts is what you bring to the market on and off the pitch.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!