15% of the most valuable players in the world play for Arsenal. But…



By Sir Hardly Anyone

Football Observatory has published a llist of the top 100 players by value, and to answer our own question, yes some of the top 100 players by value are at Arsenal.  In fact better than that we have six in the top 40 most valuable players.   And those are not the valuable players in the Premier League.  That’s in the world.  

Put another way, 15% of the 40 most valuable players in the world now play for Arsenal.  So let’s have a bit of a scout around.

In the top ten Arsenal have two such players, Saka €195m and Martin Ödegaard valued at  €135.6m.   Three of the top ten players play for Real Madrid, three are with Manchester City, tand one each for Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen.

Now if we just consider those clubs for a moment, Real Madrid won the spanish League by ten points, we know what Manchester City did and we’re waiting on the 115 charges, Barcelona did finally manage to push the City Group’s Girona into third place in the Spanish league, and Leverkusen won the German league.   Incidentally if you don’t follow German football you might like to note that perennial winners came third, 18 points behind Leverkusen.

To look at the Observatory’s top players across the world in another way, five play in the Premier League, four in Spain’t top league, one plays in Germany, and that’s it. 

Moving on, the most valuable players numbers 11 to 20 Arsenal again have two such players in the list, and you might be surprised with one of them, if you felt along with some of our correspondents that Arsenal did not win the league because Arteta chose to blow all the club’s transfer funds on Kai Havertz.

For in this second-ten Arsenal have two plyaers once again: Martinelli (who Man U let go for nothing as a teenager) at €127.1m and Kai Havertz at €116.4m.  Arsenal paid €76m for him.

This time the numbers are two for Arsenal, two for Mancheseter United, and one each for Manchester City, and Chelsea.   Beyond those six there are another two for Real Madrid, and one each for Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig. 

So overall out of the top 40 most valuable players in the Premier League we can see

  • Manchester City 4 players
  • Arsenal 4 players
  • Man U 1 player
  • Chelsea 1 player

That is a total of 10 players in four clubs in the top 40 valuable players.   We might also note some other valuable Arlsenal players such as Saliba (16th) and Rice (19th) at €105 and €103 respectively.    Saliba incidentally is the most valuable centre back.

But how much value for money have clubs been getting?   In the table below we look at the net spend in data provided by Squawka   We’ve then added a note about the club’s league position last season and this season.  (And I should stress the net spend is the money spent minus the money received.  I know you know that but sometimes the point is missed).


Club Net Spend League pos 2023 League pos 2024 £ per pos
Chelsea £204.7m 12 6 £34m
Tottenham £128.4m 8 5 £43m
Arsenal £124.7m 2 2
Man Utd £124.5m 3 8 – £25m
Bournemouth £109.9m 15 12 £37m
Liverpool £93.4m 5 3 £46m
Burnley £92.1m Ch 19
Newcastle £88.6m 4 7 – £29m
Man City £75.5m 1 1
Brentford £53m 9 16 – £7.57m


So if we just look at the teams that spent money and went up in thelr league position (Chelsea, Tottenham, Bournemouth, Liverpool), they spent on average around £40m per position they went up.

But three clubs (Brentford, Newcastle and Manchester Utd) spent money and ended up lower in the league: they spent £20m for each position in the league they went down.

Then to round all this off, we have Arsenal and Manchester City who on average spent almost £100m each to stay where they were.

The 10th club in our table is Burnley who spent £53m trying to stay in the Premier League but didn’t.  I’ve not included them in the calculations.

So what can we conclude?  Basically it costs on average around £43m in net transfer costs to go up one place in the league from one season to the next.  But when a club is at the very top (as Arsenal and Manchester City are) it can cost around £102m to stay where you are.

So if Tottenham, by way of example, want to get up to third next season it is probably going to cost them about £86m.

As for Arsenal overtaking Manchester City, at the very, very least Arsenal will probably have to match Manchester C’s spending.

Except for one thing.   The table does not take into account age.  Maybe we’ll work on that another next time, but for now, it is clear that spending money on transfers is certainly no guarantee of success, at last not in the first season of the new players.  Four clubs spent money and went up the table, three clubs spent money and went down the table.  Two clubs (Arsenal and Manchester City) spent money, and stayed where they were.

As they say, it is an expensive ol’ game.


4 Replies to “15% of the most valuable players in the world play for Arsenal. But…”

  1. To save money on transfers, Arsenal need to look to their academy and fringe players first.
    Viera will improve this year as he was unlucky not to have a lot higher assists. He did create one of the most accumulation of big chances created only for his recipients not to score or miss the target. If they had scored after he laid it on a plate for them he would be up their with Saka for assists. He was just unlucky. This year I believe he will be a contender for the advanced midfield role along side Odeguaard and Rice. He needs to muscle out a bit and gain some physical strength.
    Also their are a list of academy players who need promoting to be regular first team squad members to train on a regular basis with the first team or go on loan to a newly promoted premier team to be tested.
    This together with one or two galactic additions should see Arsenal improve. We have the academy players coming through into midfield positions but not so much in defence and center forward positions maybe a bid for Florian Worth the second best striker in the world( in my opinion) would improve Arsenal to take the league this year.

  2. Sorry I meant Florian WIRTZ, check him out on YouTube and Sofascore. He reminds me of a young Neymar in his prime. Unbelievable striker and ball control, check him on YouTube. No wonder he won Germany player of the year. Unbelievable ball control. Perfect for Arsenal. A cross between Berkamp and Henry.

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