Market valuations are incredibly important when it comes to football in modern times. With clubs paying a fortune to recruit top talent, the market valuation is the most realistic guide to what a purchasing club is getting in return. It suffices to say many factors go into calculating these market valuations.
A player's market valuation may not necessarily always reflect their quality. However, great footballers have high valuations unless the contract is about to end. Age also increases the valuation because younger footballers have more years to give.
It's no wonder that the footballers with the highest market valuations, according to the CIES football observatory, are all young and have years of football left in them.
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Donnarumma - €82M
It's quite a surprise when one realizes that Gianluigi Donnarumma is only 22, and he has already helped his nation to a Euro success. Donnarumma broke on the scene as a teenager for AC Milan and is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
He even won the Yachine Award in 2021 and was the main catalyst for Italy's success last summer.
Donnarumma moved as a free agent to French club Paris Saint-Germain last summer but is yet to become a regular. That has led to a slight dent in his valuation, but at €82 million, Donnarumma has the highest market valuation among all goalkeepers globally.
Centre-back: Ruben Dias - €121M
Ruben Dias has been one of the most transformative pieces of business for Manchester City. Since the retirement of Vincent Kompany, Manchester City have badly missed a quality centre-back and leader.
In Dias, Manchester City got both as the player has been impeccable since joining from Portuguese club Benfica. His addition greatly galvanized the defense, which was one of the major reasons Manchester City won the league last season and reached the Champions League finals.
Despite having poor Euro 2020 with Portugal, Dias had a wonderful 2021, and he is one of the best centre-backs in the world. He is defensively solid and chips in with timely contributions in the offensive area as well. With 26 appearances and a series of strong performances this season, Dias has the highest market valuation among all the centre-backs in the world.
Full Back: Alphonso Davies - €122M
Full backs have to balance between attack and defense, and one of the best pieces of evidence of that is Bayern Munich footballer Alphonso Davies. The Canadian left back is renowned for his exceptional attacking runs and accurate crosses.
Davis has quickly risen to the scene since moving from Vancouver Whitecaps. The youngsters has already become one of the best footballers at Bayern Munich and in the world despite a very young age.
Davies has been consistent in the current campaign as well. With age and world-class abilities, he is considered 'untouchable' by Bayern Munich. His market valuation is quite apt for his performance and talent, making Davies the highest valued full-back in the world.
Defensive Midfielder: Jude Bellingham - €130M
If a footballer is breaking into a side's first team at 16 and being linked with a club like Manchester United at 17, there's no doubt that the footballer is special.
Jude Bellingham has shown the world his abilities and has become a regular for Borussia Dortmund despite still being a teenager. Bellingham has several strengths: accurate passing, exceptional creativity, and sound technical ability.
But what sets him apart from others is his versatility as an Englishman can play in any position in the middle of the park.
Bellingham has the highest valuation globally when it comes to defensive midfielders, although he is as good as a central midfielder. In the current season, Bellingham has been a first-team regular as expected and has recorded 12 goal involvements in 24 appearances.
It remains to be seen for how long Dortmund will manage to keep hold of the England international.
Attacking Midfielder: Florian Wirtz - €133M
German wonderkid Florian Wirtz is one of the greatest talents to come up from the Bundesliga in recent times. Wirtz made the world notice him with his cameo performance on his senior debut. Bayer Leverkusen quickly identified the talent he possessed and fast-tracked his development to the main team.
Wirtz is an exceptionally gifted footballer who has incredible creativity and vision. His perfect position is in attacking midfield, and watching Wirtz play at full tilt fills fans with joy.
Like Bellingham, Wirtz is young but already one of the main players in the Leverkusen lineup. In just 21 appearances in the current season across all tournaments, Wirtz has managed an incredible 19 goal involvements.
With age, a long time on his contract and world-class abilities, Wirtz has the highest market valuation among all attacking midfielders on the planet.
Forward: Vinicius Jr. - €166M
Real Madrid missed out on Neymar seven years back and seeing his success, Los Blancos were desperate to bring in the next big thing in Brazilian football.
They paid a hefty fee for a footballer who was barely into his teens, and fans were duly hopeful of seeing the talent. But Vinicius Jr.'s start to his Real Madrid career was extremely patchy.
The Brazilian had those flashes and moments of brilliance. But at other times, he was extremely poor and indecisive, and many even questioned why the Merengues paid so much for him so early.
It has taken half a season under Carlo Ancelotti for Vinicius Jr. to show the world what he is capable of. He has been a complete revelation under the seasoned Italian manager and has become one of the mainstays of the star-studded side.
Vinicius has shared the main load of scoring goals along with Karim Benzema. From being deemed a waste of finances to becoming an invaluable asset, Vinicius has achieved an incredible rise.
He has managed 12 goals and nine assists in 25 appearances this season. Vinicius' valuation has risen massively over the last six months and is now the most valuable forward in world football.