8 Arsenal men in most valuable players list, and which stadia had spare seats in 2022/3?




By Sir Hardly Anyone

An article in Issue number 425 of the Weekly Post from CIES Football Observatory, offers us the top 100 estimated transfer values using the statistical model developed by the Observatory.

As a preliminary I might add that although one might read different values for players in different publications, the key point is to use the same source of data throughout so that the one compares data using the same statistical source throughout. 

Manchester City and Erling Haaland are inevitably at the top of the list for the most valuable team and most valuable player, with Haaland’s value now put at €250 million (with any eventual buy-out clause not considered in this valuation).  Haaland’s value is of course enhanced by his age, and indeed the next two players on the list are also under 23 years old.  They are Vinícius Júnior and Bukayo Saka, .  Saka is valued at 195.8m on this list.

Also in the list from Arsenal was Martinelli valued at 152.9m coming in at 12th.   Odegaard comes in at 23rd with a value of 88.0m.

Three more Arsenal players appear in the full list that has been published by the Observatory – both at position 53.   William Saliba is estimated at worth 70.9M and Gabriel Magalhães at the same valuation while Aaron Ramsdale is above them on the list at 78.6m.

Arsenal we may recall paid €35m for Odegaard, rising to €40m with add-ons.  Ramsdale is reported as costing up to £30m (€34m).  Seemingly the Arsenal transfer observatory knows its stuff!

Looking at the top 20 players on the list therefore we have five players from Real Madrid, four players from Manchester City, two each from Arsenal and Barcelona, but only one each from Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain, RB Leipzig, AC Milan, Chelsea (Enzo Fernández), and InterMilan.

Pulling all this together, if we consider the top eight in the Premier League the number of players each club has in the list Manchester City five, Arsenal five, Liverpool two, Manchester United one, Brighton and Hove Albion pme, while Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are on zero – Harry Kane is valued at 61.4m.

Which overall means that Saka is now the most valuable English player in world football.

And while looking at statistics, one other set caught my eye this morning although on an utterly different topic: that of where the empty seats are.  This comes in an analysis from Footballwebpages

No ground is ever full, even if the club tells you that all the tickets have been sold, simply because some people don’t make it on the day, and some tickets are put up for re-sale by people who have bought them and then not sold.

Now you might think that all clubs would want to have a full ground, but many have restrictions in place on how a person can re-sell their seats, making it for example, an offence (punishable by removal of one’s season ticket or club membership) within their terms and conditions to allow a friend to use your ticket when you can’t go yourself as is the case at Arsenal

The biggest number of spare seats on average through the season (spare meaning that ultimately no one sat there) was at Southampton with 2145 empty places (according to the club’s own statistics).

The total number of empty seats across an entire season in the Premier League is 348.441.

As we all know Manchester United has the biggest ground and on average it had 495 empty seats per match – about 0.07%.  Arsenal had 74 empty seats each match (0.13% of the seats in the stadium).

According to these figures, the lowest average number of empty seats in a Premier League stadium for each match across the league season was 38 for West Ham, which I find utterly amazing and in fact difficult to believe but I haven’t been there this season to look.

In terms of percentages the grounds that had the most empty seats per game as a percentage of the number of seats available were


Average Attendance Capacity Missing Missing percentage
Crystal Palace 25,213 26,309 1096 4.17%
Chelsea 40,002 41,841 1839 4.40%
Nottingham Forest 29,188 30,602 1414 4.62%
Southampton 30,464 32,609 2145 6.58%
Fulham 23,746 25,700 1954 7.60%
AFC Bournemouth 10,309 11,329 1020 9.00%


Overall the total is 18,339 per match week.  There are 19 home games per club thus 348,441 empty seats per season.

The biggest percentage of spaces is at Bournemouth, followed by Fulham.  But to come back to the smallest number of spaces, this is where we might start to wonder about what clubs are counting – as we are of course only able to take the figures provided by the clubs themselves.  Are West Ham for example not counting empty seats but counting seats sold as season ticket seats as always being occupied?  Maybe, or maybe they have fans who will turn up no matter what the club is achieving or not achieving on the pitch.

But the big shock of course is Manchester City.  Here we have a club that is winning everything with ease, and successfully holding off a major enquiry by the other 19 clubs into what they are doing, and yet they have 1848 empty seats per game, by their own admission.  That is strange.


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