Anthony Martial is the world’s most valuable footballer under the age of 21 according to new research.
The 2016 Soccerex 20 Under 21 index released by Prime Time Sport (PTS) places Manchester United’s France forward ahead of some very prominent young players.
Wunderkinder Leroy Sane, Renato Sanches, Dele Alli and Kingsley Coman complete the top five.
PTS ranked the players using their ‘Football Value Index’ which calculates variables such as club minutes, international appearances, on-pitch performance and technical ability, injury record, media and age.
Martial’s value is calculated at €47.15 million while Gianluigi Donnarumma, AC Milan’s 17-year-old goalkeeper, rounds out the list with a value of €13.75 million. The combined total of the 20 players reaches €455 million and averages out to €22.8 million.
PTS state that this research can be of benefit to the football industry and help clubs with recruitment, auditing, insurance and budgeting.
There are several interesting conclusions that can be drawn from the data.
The first is that Germany, and the Bundesliga, is without question the current wunderkind Mecca.
Nine of the 20 players in the list belong to Bundesliga clubs. While five of the players are German – the most of any nationality.
So not only is Germany producing excellent young players but German clubs are also investing in outstanding young talent such as Renato Sanches, Breel Embolo and Ousmane Dembele.
There are three South Americans on the list – two Brazilians and one Argentinian – and one Nigerian. The remaining 17 players are European. All four of these players are forwards which lends supports the argument that Europe buys top attacking players from Africa and especially South America.
It is notable however that the list contains no defenders. The fact that last years list featured five defenders illustrates the cyclical nature of such rankings. But this does reinforce the notion that attackers are more highly valued than defensive players.
There are two Englishmen on the list, Alli and Marcus Rashford, and four players from Premier League clubs – Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City is the other England based player.
There are no players from Spain or La Liga which perhaps tells us something about the recruitment practices of, and chances offered to young players, by Spanish clubs.
France has three players on the list but none are based in the French league. France’s role as an exporter of talent continues.
Only six of the players in the list have been already moved club. In addition to the aforementioned French players, and Sanches and Alli Borussia Dortmund’s midfield starlet Julian Wiegl has already made a move when he signed from 1860 Munich in 2015.
OF course many of the remaining 14 players will be on the shopping list of elite clubs.
It will be interesting to see whether any of them will move during the current transfer window and how any potential fees compare to the PTS calculations.
The 2016 Soccerex 20 Under 21 in full:
|Anthony Martial||Manchester United||€47.1m|
|Renato Sanches||Bayern Munich||€34.5m|
|Kingsley Coman||Bayern Munich||€30.7m|
|Marcus Rashford||Man United||€22.5m|
|Kelechi Iheanacho||Man City||€20.0m|
|Giovani Lo Celso||Rosario||€14.3m|
|Ruben Neves||FC Porto||€14.0m|
|G. Donnarumma||AC Milan||€13.7m|