The CIES Football Observatory, a part of the International Center for Sports Studies in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, is a leading center for the analysis of football. Their studies include whether or not tall teams win more often, whether or not converting clear-cut chances correlates to winning, and all manner of serious, important information for the advancement of football.
That’s all very impressive, but this week, they released a report ranking all top-tier clubs in the biggest leagues in Europe by the estimated transfer value of their squads, as well as transfer value rankings of the individual players. We’re suckers for contentious rankings around here, especially when they have the veneer of “science” to back them up.
According to the rankings produced by CIES (and I’m imagining a computer taking up an entire wall of their laboratory with all manner of flashing lights, spitting out a punch card), the current value of the Leicester City squad is €417 million. How does that compare to other top clubs in Europe? The Foxes are the 19th most-valuable squad in Europe, right between Internazionale and RB Leipzig.
That top 5 clubs are:
- Manchester City - €1,196
- Tottenham Hotspur- €1,173
- FC Barcelona -€1,130
- Chelsea -€1,044
- Manchester United -€919
Within England, City have the 7th most-valuable group of players, behind the four above as well as Liverpool (€901 million) and Arsenal (€666 million). That makes us the top club outside of the Big 6, just ahead of Everton (€381) and Southampton (€359). That’s probably just about right and gives one a good sense of the gap between the biggest clubs and the chasing pack.
Now for the fun part: The individual player rankings! The CIES method takes several factors into consideration, the greatest of which apparently are performance and age. Given equal performance, a younger player is going to command a higher fee than an older one. With that in mind, take a moment to guess who the three most-valuable Foxes might be. Ready? Here we go:
3. Riyad Mahrez €49m
Mahrez is still fairly young and, although he is credited with very little in the way of defensive contribution, he has a skill set that is highly valued by the kind of clubs with a lot of money to spend. CIES takes into account the type of team likely to buy a player, a factor which helps boost the Algerians value in their eyes.
2. Jamie Vardy €50m
While their system prefers younger players, Vardy’s scintillating performance means that he can still command a tremendous transfer fee. The former Fleetwood Town man’s pace and goal scoring record, like Mahrez’ trickery, are traits that attract the attention of Europe’s biggest-spending clubs.
1. Wilfred Ndidi €55.4m
Did you have Ndidi as that most valuable player on the squad? If not, consider that he’s only 20 years old and already established himself in one of Europe’s top leagues. Barring injury, he’s only going to get better. Hopefully, he’ll do so at the King Power as players like the Nigerian international are exceedingly rare, particularly at the fee we paid to get him.
Rounding out the ten most-valuable players in the Leicester squad are:
- Harry Maguire -€31.6
- Demarai Gray -€23
- Islam Slimani -€22.1
- Marc Albrighton -€19.4
- Kasper Schmeichel -€19.3
- Kelechi Iheanacho -€19
- Daniel Amartey -€18.2
Take any rankings like these with a grain of salt, but they are fun to talk about. For the most part, they look about right to me. I might quibble a little bit with putting Albrighton above Schmeichel and Iheanacho, but we’re only talking about a few hundred thousand euros difference in the values and, lest we forget, the former Villa winger is a very, very good player.
What do you think? Do you see anything that looks out of place? Anyone missing from the top ten, or anyone who should be there that isn’t? Let us know in the comments.