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Premier League Betting and Odds

Özil declines in value but was best attacking midfielder of the year!?!?!

By Tony Attwood

I’ve done several pieces of late which argue against the statement that “you can prove anything with statistics”.

But suddenly I find myself doubting my own argument, as the CIES Football Observatory has published its list of the most valuable players in world football.

Their statement is that the list takes into account age, ability, length of contract and players’ marketability .

Three Arsenal players appear in the top twenty at the moment and I was so struck by the way their value is calculated that I thought I would also take a look at a couple of Chelsea players to see what happened to them by way of comparison.

Santi Cazorla is 20th on the list and is valued at £31.73m, having cost Arsenal £16m.  That might well be right – although it is a massive valuation for a player in his 30s.  Arsenal’s fee was certainly a bargain and it came about because Santi’s club was in desperate financial trouble and needed to ship out players quickly.   It is interesting that when the silly little people who endlessly attack Mr Wenger make their comments about his bad management they forget deals like this.

Mesut Özil is 12th on the list with a valuation of £38.25m down from the £42m Arsenal paid for him.   This is interesting in that the weekly report from CIS Football Observatory has a section on attacking midfielders and Özil is top, with Hazard second.

Added to which, just about every observation at the moment suggests that Özil is now on top of his game, and getting better with every match, so how come he is dropping in value?

5th in the table is Alexis Sanchez who cost Arsenal £35m and is now valued at £61.43m.   He certainly has been a revelation since he came, and seemed to be getting better and better before the injury, so maybe that is right although it seems a huge jump.

But being a suspicious kind of bloke, as I said, I decided to have a look at two Chelsea players for comparison

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Cesc Fabregas comes in at 11, and he is valued at £44.7m, having cost Chelsea £26.3m.   And having watched him play, go round in circles and kick the ball deliberately at his own colleagues on the pitch, I can’t see how his value has gone up.

It is as if the calculators are saying that the decline of Chelsea is totally down to the manager and nothing to do with the players!  But if that is so, how do you value a player, if not as part of a team?

The last one I looked at was the highest valued player on the list: Eden Hazard.  He is now valued at £97.88m  having cost £32m.

His record shows the dramatic decline this season from his last three.  And that is my worry.  These figures don’t seem to take account of this season which in terms of Chelsea makes the figures useless.  Here is Hazard.

Season Lge played Lge goals Total played Total goals
2012–13 34 9 62 13
2013–14 35 14 49 17
2014–15 38 14 52 19
2015–16 19 0 26 0

Anyway, since I was looking at this stuff I moved on to another CIES feature, the best big-5 league players since the start of the season ranked according to a technical analysis of performance.

This certainly covers this season, and was last updated on 11 January

The top centre back is Laurent Koscielny, with Mertesacker in 8th – which shows why they are quite an amazing pairing.  The only pairing that rivals them on this table is Blind and Smalling for Man U who are 3rd and 7th.

At full back Arsenal have Monreal in 3rd and Bellerin in 6th, a pairing only beaten by Man City who have Kolarov and Sagna at 2nd and 4th.

For defensive midfield Santi Cazorla is top of the list, Ramsey in 4th.  The nearest rival pairing is Toure and Fernadinho of Man C in 2nd and 8th.

Attacking midfield gives us Özil top of the tree, way, way out in front of the rest.

As for the forwards, Lukaku is the top man, Sanchez is in 4th, Giroud is 9th.  Everton potentially look the most dangerous with Kone in 7th.

One more table from them has the best players of 2015 across all the top leagues in Europe

Koscielny was the fourth best centre back, Bellerin the second right back, Monreal the best left back.  Coquelin the 5th best defensive central midfielder (not bad considering he was thought to be useless by some who endlessly called for another DM to be bought) and Santi Cazorla the best central midfielder.

Özil of course was top attacking midfielder, but none of our players were in the top ten for forwards probably because we shared the duties around between Giroud, Alexis and Theo.

So can you prove anything with statistics?  Not really – because I can’t work out how these valuations and positions have been reached so I can’t judge the stats.  Why Özil is worth less than he was two and a half years ago I don’t know, but maybe there is a reason.  Maybe it was that long injury lay off, and the suspicion it might happen again.

But it does make the point: if you want to play with numbers you do have to be clear as to what you are basing your numbers on.

Two more memories (it’s Untold’s birthday)

  • 12 January 2003: Birmingham 0 Arsenal 4.  Two goals from Henry against Birmingham City took his Arsenal total to 100 goals in all competitions.
  • 12 January 2008: Arsenal 1 Birmingham 1.  Part of a 14 match run of 12 wins and 2 draws.  Untold Arsenal’s first ever report focuses on organised time wasting with the ball out of play with the report headlined, “Arsenal witness the end of football”.

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17 comments to Özil declines in value but was best attacking midfielder of the year!?!?!

  • colario

    I usually read the weekly CIES Football Observatory tables without suspicion but this one raised in my mind the questions you have asked here.
    I was particularly surprised at the rating of Özil and Cesc Fabregas. I wondered how it is that Cesc having played below his level has increased in value and Özil is down valued despite playing better than ever.

    Perhaps after all the CIES Football Observatory has a hidden biased agenda, I hope not.

  • Pete

    Fabregas is a couple of years older than Ozil too. I can only assume it was based on data up to the end of last season?

  • Jambug


    I’m sure one of our visitors who regularly accuses yourself, Walter, and Andrew, of bias and paranoia, will have a perfectly logical explanation.

  • Andy Mack

    One other point on the Cazorla buy.
    As the business is run with a cash reserve we were in a better position than many to pay at preferable terms for the seller. I don’t know what the payment structure was but I’m sure we made the best we could.
    So if someone else offered 18m in 10 six monthly instalments but we offered 16m in say nine monthly instalments (or in 2 yearly, whatever) it’s probable that the seller wanted the money quicker.
    Many teams have a problem doing that which is why the sugar daddy teams occasionally get a great deal, because they can. If we hadn’t been in that position then the purchase may not have been possible or may have cost us millions more.

  • TT

    There are factual statistics and then “Statistics” that are subjective. A valuation is by definition subjective, and going to be different to number of assists or something that is based in fact.

    Even if the valuation is derived from an average of what various clubs are willing to pay, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t subjective.

    The statistic may also reflect how much would be required to buy the player. In the past Arsenal have been more willing to sell players than Chelsea, so the number may reflect how much would have to be offered before Chelsea would sell.

    As Chelsea don’t need money, a player in their reserves could end up being worth more than Ozil.

  • Jambug


    “As Chelsea don’t need money, a player in their reserves could end up being worth more than Ozil.”

    I realise this is you making an extreme example but it would be interesting to know if factors such as buying and selling history, financial status etc. where taken into account.

    If they really looked into it in such depth then perhaps other factors such as, League position, potential failure to qualify for the CL/Europe would also have to be factored in?

    Surely these 2 factors would have a detrimental effect on a top players value as there is certainly the potential for said player to be angling for a move.

    So potentially another reason why any Chelsea players value should be down and not up.

    These are all possible factors as to a players value, and it would be interesting to see if they are factored in but some how I doubt it.

  • insideright

    The original cost of a player can include things that we don’t necessarily know about. Is it a coincidence that Ozil cost exactly half of what Real Madrid paid for Bale? Why did Man City say that is was ‘obviously not just about the money’ when they failed to get van Persie even though they offered more money? Didn’t we get Bellerin and Toral as art of the deal that took Fabregas to Barcelona and might their subsequent willingness (desperation?) to get rid of him force them to under value him when Chelsea bought him (partly to slight Wenger who was busy frying other fish entirely).
    Arsenal are past masters of using the market to achieve multiple ends. Nevet take any deal that they do entirely at face value.

  • Ben

    “As Chelsea don’t need money, a player in their reserves could end up being worth more than Ozil.”

    @TT Not if they get loaned out.

  • rusty

    It could also be related to the Webster ruling, that Ozil is closer to being able to terminate his contract than Cesc or Alexis (for example).

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, one has to dig deeper, such as Performance Analysis, Best Clubs and players of the big-5 league season!

    – The starting principle of our approach consists of considering that in football the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Historically, all of the great teams have been able to integrate individual talent in to the collective effort of the team. Individual talent should serve the collective, not the inverse. –

    And so on.

    The cumulative opinions of:-
    Drs. Raffaele Poli, Loïc Ravenel and Roger Besson

    You know it makes sense??

  • Jambug

    This just gets more and more complicated.

    Looking at all the factors that have been highlighted I am beginning to think there is no way they’d factor all of it in.

    Surely it’s down to form.

    Either way, if both Cesc and Ozil where up for sale tomorrow I’m pretty sure who would demand the highest fee.

    So whatever they use it doesn’t seem to work very well.

  • thierryhenry22

    Haha very interesting

  • Pat

    Any valuation that has Ozil at 38 million and Hazard at 93 million can only be subjective.

  • Menace

    January 12, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    ‘if both Cesc and Ozil where up for sale tomorrow I’m pretty sure who would demand the highest fee.’

    Dude you forget the greed factor! Cesc wins demand 😉 but Ozil is ‘because he’s worth it!’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    May be they have factored in the potential that they think the player has in reserve . Like that special switch in you have in your soup upped vehicle , that will boost you speed to jump galaxies !

    As well as knowing that the golden goose will always lay you an egg a day ?

    For example , Hazard has the inherent potential to get you at least 10 penalties per season due to the sharpness of his mind and the quickness of his feet ( aided and abetted by the gullibility and/or acquiescence of the PIGMOB.), or ..what the fuck ..or by just diving at the merest of contacts !

    And having got that penalty (and probably the defender sent off !), he not only converts it himself , but has now also weaken the opposition and has the potential to score again or to gain another penalty . And probably 3 undeserved points. And another player of the year award .

  • Abhishek Kumar

    @brickfield.. your comment is the most awaited one for me..

  • Bill

    I think the Gunners will have a player in their squad in the next season or two who will show the value of their youth development.

    Rangers supporter here (who’s English club is Arsenal) talking about Arsenal kid Gedion Zelalem, currently on loan at Glasgow Rangers.

    There’s been so much talk about this young guy, even before he came to Rangers. Now though he is well and truly under the spotlight. He has his critics, mostly from sour faced Celtic supporters. Some of these blokes are dead set half-wits.
    Rangers supporters love the kid. We can all see his ability. Some of our crowd though are a really impatient lot. They want to see him performing like an Ozil or a Brady and they want to see it NOW! I can forgive them. They’re right behind the kid. They’re just daft, not vindictive like that other mob.
    He’s eighteen years old. Anyone can see that the young bloke is a real talent. Wenger, Liam Brady and Rangers manager Mark Warburton will testify to that.
    His ‘detractors’ keep saying he is too lightweight to make it at Arsenal. I don’t buy that. He looks to me to have put on a couple of pounds of muscle even in the short time he has been at Ibrox. He is playing against men and he is, more often than not, the player who is on the ball more than anyone else during games. An 18 year old kid ‘bossing’ games, on a regular basis is pretty unusual wherever he plays in senior football.
    Gio van Bronckhurst was 23 when he came to Ibrox. He’d been out on loan from Feyenoord to a smaller club before Rangers signed him. Even though he was older than Gedion is, he was only a few pounds heavier than Gedion is today and about the same height. Same applies to Mehmet Ozil.

    Gio went on to become a good player for Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona. Mehmet Ozil is a wonderful player.

    Obviously, young Zelalem is not in their category just now. That doesn’t mean that he won’t be some day. Nobody can expect him to do much more than he’s doing now. More often than not he is the most cultured player on the park and dominates the play.
    He will get stronger and eventually will add goals to his game. Will he succeed at the Gunners? Nobody can say for sure.
    If Arsenal play him, he’ll be facing a lot of excellent players. He’ll also be playing WITH a lot of great players. I think he’ll do well back at Arsenal. I’d like Rangers to have him for another year, but I doubt that will happen. It could but I doubt it.
    It seems more likely he will join the Arsenal squad or be loaned out to an EPL or English Championship side to continue his development. I don’t know if he’ll break into the Gunners first team as a regular, but he’ll do that somewhere at a high level. Good luck to him.

    This kid could blow them all out of the water in “value for money” in a few years.

    All the best to all Gunners fans. Not getting ahead of myself here, but things are looking pretty good at the moment. Here’s hoping.

    Cheers all,