The Premiership is the richest and most popular league in world football and it continues to attract many of the world’s best players. Record TV revenues, sponsorship deals and foreign investment have left clubs able to shell out astronomical transfer fees and wages, while a core of exciting young English players has also emerged in recent years. Five Premiership teams will be gearing up for an assault on the Champions League in 2017-18 and they have every chance of ending a six-year drought for English clubs due to the depth of quality in the league. Here we have ranked the top 10 most valuable players:
- Dele Alli
The Tottenham number 10 shades teammate Harry Kane to seize the status of the Premier League’s most valuable footballer right now. He was signed for just £5 million from the MK Dons in 2015, but two years later Tottenham will do well to keep hold of him when offers north of £100 million start coming in from the world’s biggest clubs. Alli banged in 10 goals in 2015-16, a magnificent breakout season that heralded the arrival of a major talent, and rose to new heights last season, notching 18 goals. The timing of his runs into the box is exemplary and he is a wonderful finisher, but he can also pass, dribble and tackle, and looks to be on the peak of an outstanding career. Given the fees being currently bandied around, Alli must be worth close to £130 million due to his youth, his potential and his current ability.
- Harry Kane
Kane has proven himself to be the league’s deadliest striker by winning the Golden Boot twice in a row. He scooped the accolade last season despite playing eight games fewer than second placed Romelu Lukaku, and his minutes per goals ratio was streets ahead of all his rivals, from Sergio Aguero to Diego Costa. He looks a shoo-in to win the Golden Boot again next season and Tottenham look a good each-way bet for the title as the football betting odds on both outcomes are very attractive. Kane is just 23 and has already captained England. Both Alli and Kane would demand transfer fees north of £120 million and Alli would arguably only shade it by a fraction.
- Eden Hazard
Real Madrid have won the Champions League twice in a row and they have exceptional players in every position, but the one Premiership player you can really imagine winning a place in their attack is Hazard. He continues to be linked with the Bernebeu, but Chelsea will fight tooth and nail to keep him. Age is a huge factor in a player’s transfer value, and at 26 he is not as youthful as Alli or Kane, but he is more polished and in his prime. On his day Hazard is unplayable, the type of star capable of wreaking absolute havoc. His dribbling ability, goals, assists and dynamism set him apart and he would also be a £100 million-plus player.
- Paul Pogba
Man Utd broke the world transfer record to sign the French midfielder last season, and while he has not exactly set the Premier League on fire, he has shown signs of his supreme talent and at 24 seems only destined to get better. To prise him away from Old Trafford now would set you back more than £100 million.
- Kevin de Bruyne
Man City’s 25-year-old Belgian winger has established himself as one of the greatest creative forces in the Premiership, and you would have to double the £55 million Man City paid for him two years ago to sign him now. Not that they have any intention of letting him go, as De Bruyne will be central to City’s chances of winning silverware next season.
- Romelu Lukaku
Another Belgian is next on the list and he forms a terrifying attacking triumvirate along with Hazard and De Bruyne for the national team. Since leaving Chelsea he has established himself as a consistent goal scorer, despite playing for an Everton team that is outside the top six and does not create a huge amount of chances. He is strong, powerful and has plenty of pace, with excellent aerial ability. At a top club he would thrive and they are circling this summer, with a transfer tag of £100 million slapped on him by the Toffees and Chelsea interested in bringing him back to Stamford Bridge.
- Raheem Sterling
Sterling has been around for so long, terrorising full-backs for Liverpool, Man City and England, that it is easy to forget he is just 22. He is inconsistent and sometimes his end product is found wanting, but his blistering pace, incisive crossing ability, close control and dynamism make it an outrageously effective winger. He should improve and find consistency under Pep Guardiola.
- Alexis Sanchez
Apart from age, and obviously ability, the amount of time left on a player’s contract is the biggest factor in determining his value. Sanchez is 28 and only has a year left on his contract, but he still deserves a place in the top 10 most valuable Premiership stars. Last season he carried Arsenal and his explosiveness, goal scoring prowess, pace, determination and skill would make him an asset to any club in the world, so a bidding war this summer would send his transfer fee soaring.
- Cristian Eriksen
A third Spurs player in the top 10 shows what a fantastic group of players the club has managed to assemble in recent years, with the likes of Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris also capable of commanding huge transfer fees. Eriksen shades it ahead of Dier into this list because attacking players always command a premium and, with the likes of Barcelona said to be interested, Eriksen’s fee would be more than £50 million. He is a great creator and wonderful from dead ball situations, and is just 25, despite having bags of experience.
- Sergio Aguero
Aguero rounds out the top 10 ahead of Diego Costa, N’Golo Kante and all the rest. He is 29 but he is another player in his peak, like Sanchez, that will win his club points all by himself. He has had his injury problems, but on his day he is the most devastating striker in the league, a terrifying combination of pace, movement and finishing ability.