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£128 million Phil Foden is rated as one of the three most valuable young players in the world

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Half of the top 10 most valuable young footballers in the world are English or play in the Premier League.

The new figures from the CIES Football Observatory underline the current dominance of the English game and the success of players’ development trajectories at the top clubs.

The analysis estimates the January transfer value for 60 players under 23 in the five major European leagues, the richest in the world. The Premier League has the largest share of the list with a total of 17 young stars.

And when it comes to the top 10, England’s top flight dominates with Manchester City’s Phil Foden (21) and Ferran Torres (21) and Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho, (21) and Mason Greenwood (20), all featuring, alongside another Englishman. in Jude Bellingham (18), who plays for Borussia Dortmund.

Not surprisingly, given the most valuable resource in football is goals, the top 10 most expensive young footballers are dominated by strikers.

At the top are Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland (21), Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr (21) and Foden, who, according to CIES, would each cost £128 million in the January window, with Greenwood, Sancho and Torres behind them.

Normally, Kylian Mbappe would be at the top of the list, but his contract with PSG means he will be eligible for a free transfer next summer, lowering his current transfer value.

Jude Bellingham (right) of Borussia Dortmund is ranked ninth in the list of the highest-rated young footballers in Europe, according to the CIES football observatory.

Bellingham's Dortmund teammate, Erling Haaland (center) tops the list together

Bellingham’s Dortmund teammate, Erling Haaland (center) tops the list together

TOP TEN MOST VALUABLE U23 PLAYERS IN EUROPE
Where the Player Nationality Age Contract expires
£128M Erling Haaland (Attack)
Borussia Dortmund
neither 21 06/24
£128M Vinicius Junior (Attack)
Real Madrid
Bra 21 06/24
£128M Phil Foden (attacker)
Manchester City
Scary 21 06/24
£119M Mason Greenwood (Forward)
Manchester United
Scary 20 06/25
£119M Florian Wirtz (Attacking Midfield)
Bayer Leverkusen
Ger 18 26/06
£119M Pedri (Attacking Midfield)
Barcelona
Spain 19 26/06
£111M Jadon Sancho (striker)
Manchester United
Scary 21 06/27
£102M Ferran Torres (Forward)
Manchester City
Spain 21 06/25
£102M Jude Bellingham (Middlefield)
Borussia Dortmund
Scary 18 06/25
£102M Alphonso Davies (full back)
Bayern Munich
Can 21 06/25
Source: CIES

Attacking midfielders also feature, with Bayer Leverkusen’s celebrated teenager Florian Wirtz (18) and Pedri (19) of Barcelona finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

Wirtz held the record for youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history at the age of 17 years and 34 days when he scored a curler against Bayern Munich last season, and is now second on the all-time list behind Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko .

Bellingham, a box-to-box midfielder, is at nine and the only defender to make the top 10 is Bayern Munich flying fullback Alphonso Davies (21).

The dominance of English players and the Premier League in the list of most valuable young players, particularly in the top 10, reflects the impact of the Elite Player Performance Plan, introduced in 2012 by the top flight in conjunction with the EFL and FA.

The plan is aimed at players from under-9 to under-23 and includes improving standards in academies, providing high quality games and tournaments and ensuring quality education for young people.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Florian Wirtz was the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Florian Wirtz was the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history.

Manchester City's Spanosh youngster Ferran Torres is also valued at more than £100 million

Manchester City’s Spanosh youngster Ferran Torres is also valued at more than £100 million

Among those benefiting are Chelsea’s Reece James (21), Mason Mount (22) and Trevoh Chalobah (22), all of whom are on the long list of valuable young players produced by CIES.

Liverpool’s Curtis Jones (20), West Ham’s Declan Rice (22) and Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe (21) also feature prominently. The rankings also show Premier League clubs’ ability to entice talent, whether that be English players lured to their native countries, such as Sancho, or young foreign stars, such as Torres.

The Premier League is widely regarded as the strongest league in Europe, certainly in terms of financial strength and probably competitiveness.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp believes the Premier League is Europe's toughest competition

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp believes the Premier League is Europe’s toughest competition

Liverpool forward Mo Salah was the last to confirm this view. Following the Reds’ 1-0 win over Wolves on Saturday, Salah discussed his future and desire to stay in England.

“I’d rather stay in the Premier League because it’s the strongest league in the world,” said Salah.

And his manager, Jurgen Klopp, expressed a similar sentiment last month. “The Premier League is the toughest in world football,” Klopp said. “This competition is unbelievable.

“When I was in Germany, people talked about the best league in the world – some thought it might be Germany. No, it’s not… It could be Spain; maybe there were times when it was Italy; but for a few years now it’s definitely the Premier League. There’s no doubt about that.’

U23 PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS IN TOP 60 MOST VALUABLE IN EUROPE
Where the Player Nationality Age Contract expires
£128M Phil Foden (attacker)
Manchester City
Scary 21 06/24
£119M Mason Greenwood (Forward)
Manchester United
Scary 20 06/25
£111M Jadon Sancho (striker)
Manchester United
Scary 21 06/27
£102M Ferran Torres (Forward)
Manchester City
Spain 21 06/25
£102M Jude Bellingham (Middlefield)
Borussia Dortmund
Scary 18 06/25
£85M Kai Havertz (Attacking Center)
Chelsea
Ger 22 06/25
£85M Bukayo Saka (Attacking Center)
Arsenal
Scary 20 06/24
£85M Reece James (full back)
Chelsea
Scary 22 06/25
£77M Mason Mount (Middle Offensive)
Chelsea
Scary 22 26/06
£77M Emile Smith Rowe (Attack Center)
Arsenal
Scary 21 26/06
£60M Curtis Jones (Defensive Center)
Liverpool
Scary 20 06/25
£60M Declan Rice (Defensive Mid)
West Ham
Scary 22 06/24
£34M Illan Meslier (goalkeeper)
Leeds United
fra 21 26/06
£34M Trevoh Chalobah (center back)
Chelsea
Scary 22 26/06
£26M Emmerson Royal (full back)
Tottenham Hotspur
Bra 23 26/06
£26M Conor Gallagher
Crystal Palace (Chelsea loan)
Scary 22 06/25
£21M Luke Thomas (full back)
Leicester City
Scary 20 06/24
Source: CIES

Premier League clubs’ revenues in 2018-19 were £5.9bn, compared to their closest La Liga rivals, who brought in £3.4bn.

The impact of player development trajectories and the financial strength of English clubs are now becoming visible in European competition.

Not only have English teams won the Champions League twice in the past three years, breaking Spain’s monopoly on the tournament, three of the top five and four of the top 10 clubs in the UEFA rankings now come from these shores.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are behind Bayern Munich and Manchester United are in ninth place.

Five years ago, the rankings looked very different. In 2016-17, only Chelsea made it to the top 10 and were in 10th place.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka is highly regarded among the 60 best U23 players in Europe

And Chelsea's Reece James is also well on the list

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (left) is highly regarded among the 60 best U23 players in Europe and Chelsea’s Reece James (right) is also well on the list

EUROPEAN CLUB RANKING 2021-22 AND 2016-17
UEFA Club Ranking 2021-22 UEFA Club Rank 2016-17
1. Bayern Munich 1. Real Madrid
2. Manchester City 2. Bayern Munich
3. Liverpool 3. Barcelona
4. Chelsea 4. Atletico Madrid
5. Barcelona 5. Juventus
6. Real Madrid 6. Paris Saint Germain
7. Paris Saint Germain 7. Borussia Dortmund
8. Juventus 8. Seville
9. Manchester United 9. Benfica
10. Atletico Madrid 10. Chelsea
Source: UEFA

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