Player valuation update: Bundesliga – a talent incubator?


With the 2020 winter transfer period behind us, and European club competitions back in full swing, KPMG Football Benchmark have released their updated player market value estimates.

Updated market value estimates from KPMG's Football Benchmark team include over 5,000 players from 12 leagues based on the latest sporting statistics provided by Opta. The estimates cover footballers in the first divisions of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey, as well as the EFL Championship. It is important to note that the market value estimates provided are only comparable to fixed transfer fees and do not take into account performance-based bonuses that could be part of a potential player transfer fee.

Inter Milan and Argentina striker Lautaro Martínez sits at the top of the list of the 10 football players who have increased their market value the most since November, after gaining more than EUR 31M in market value in the past 3 months. He is followed by Borussia Dortmund’s new signing, Erling Haaland, and RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner. Dortmund's English forward Jadon Sancho is 4th in this ranking and the gains in his market value made him one of the 10 most valuable players in the world. Four of the top 10 players by value increase are under 22 years of age, the youngest one being Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood (18). The oldest player among them is United’s new signing, Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes, at 25.

The chart below shows the top 10 increases in market value (in absolute terms) since November 2019.

Twenty-two-year-old Lautaro Martínez, who has scored 16 goals in 31 appearances this season, is a reported target for both Real Madrid and Barcelona in the upcoming summer transfer window. Others in this group have also been subject to transfer rumours and speculations: Jadon Sancho is a reported target for Manchester United, who are also set to battle Liverpool to sign on RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, too, according to some reports. It is yet to be seen if Dortmund may also lose Moroccan right-back Achraf Hakimi, who is on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the current season.

Among the top 10 players with the largest increase in their market value, the German Bundesliga is represented by the most players (five), followed by the English Premier League (four), while the Italian Serie A is contributing only one player to this select group.

The fact that the Bundesliga is represented by five players in the top 10 increases ranking but only by one player in the list of the top 10 players by absolute value, suggests a tendency where the German top tier is an ideal league for young talents to develop and then continue their career abroad at more affluent clubs.

Besides spectacular on-pitch performance, these values are also impacted by the duration of players’ contracts: all these footballers have at least 2 more years left in their current contracts, a factor which increases their worth in the market. Another factor affecting player values is age: indeed, the average age of these 10 players is just above 22. Only Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes is older than 24. Nine of these players play an attacking role, with the only exception being Dortmund’s right-back Achraf Hakimi.

The top 10 ranking by absolute market value has also changed since November. Kylian Mbappé remains the world’s most valuable player, with no change to his value. While both Lionel Messi and Neymar lost value over the past 3 months, they kept their positions in the top three. Recent injuries cost Eden Hazard the heaviest loss (almost EUR 17M), causing a slip from the 4th to the 8th spot. Similarly, Harry Kane suffered a EUR 5M loss in value and dropped two positions due to having been out of action since the beginning of the year with a long-term injury. Yet another player with a decreased value (of over EUR 6M) is Antoine Griezmann, who thus has dropped out of the group, landing in the 11th spot. Interestingly, there are only three players in the top 10 whose value has grown recently: Jadon Sancho, a new joiner to the elite, boasts an over EUR 23M value increase, which elevated him to the 7th spot, while the continued spectacular performance of Liverpool duo Sadio Mané and Mo Salah could also improve their positions with increased values.

The chart below shows the composition of the overall top 10, whose average value is EUR 156M—the same figure reported in our November update.

There are another five players with a value of over EUR 100 million: Antoine Griezmann (EUR 119M), Virgil van Dijk (EUR 115M), Frenkie de Jong (EUR 109M), Marcus Rashford (EUR 109M) and Alisson Becker (EUR 102M).

Considering these 15 players, interestingly, there are no Spanish, German or Italian footballers among them. The player with the highest market value from Germany is now RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, who is 16th in this ranking with a value of EUR 94M, taking that spot from Manchester City’s Leroy Sané, who lost EUR 15M in value, due to his long injury. Spain’s top player is Manchester City’s Rodri, (32nd with a value of EUR 83M), while the most valuable Italian player is Jorginho (55th at EUR 67M).

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba suffered the biggest decrease in value since the beginning of the season. In our September update he was valued at EUR 128M, which dropped down to EUR 115M by November, and he has seen a further EUR 25M decrease in value over the past 3 months. With his current value at EUR 90M, Pogba is 18th in our ranking. His contract at the club is set to expire in June 2021.

We have also put together a 'dream team' according to absolute market values, orchestrating a 4-3-3 formation.

You can find more information on these players’ market value on the KPMG Football Benchmark website – our Player Valuation Tool includes data on more than 5,000 players from 12 different leagues. Launched in September 2018, and based on KPMG proprietary algorithms, this analytics platform enables industry stakeholders to take informed decisions regarding player valuation.