Premier League: Most Valuable XI, 2018/19 Season
Ah, the Premier League. The self-proclaimed "best league in the world". While that tag is certainly up for debate, there is no doubt that it is one of the most entertaining leagues in the world.
The primary reason for such high-quality entertainment is the league's financial success. The model of the equal distribution of broadcast and central income has allowed every club in the league to invest in players - be it heavily or wisely.
It is what allows a bottom-feeder to compete with a champion - at least for 90 minutes if not an entire season. As the level of competitiveness in the transfer market was raised, so too were player transfer fees.
The inflation of the transfer market can be attributed to the Premier League's spending power. Sure, there are outliers such as PSG who can afford to splurge, but it is the English clubs that have a distinct advantage in the market. And the league's reach and excitement are what attracts top professionals from around the world.
But a player's transfer fee is not always the same as his market valuation. Other factors such as contract length and the buying/selling club decide that.
With that in mind, what is the most valuable XI in the Premier League this season?
Note: Players picked according to a 4-3-3 formation. All market values taken from TransferMarkt.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)
Signed for: £18.9m in 2011
Current Market Value: £63m
“I think when a goalkeeper is a player of the season, it's because something is wrong." - Jose Mourinho
The Manchester United manager is not wrong but he isn't taking a potshot at De Gea either. It is a fair reflection of the current squad. The Spanish shot-stopper has won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award four times - including the last three years - since he joined the club.
For a traditionally attacking side such as the Red Devils, which has seen the most number of Golden Boot winners in the Premier League era, it is a matter of concern.
But take nothing away from De Gea who has slowly cemented his place at the very top. When he arrived in England, he was a youngster that was easily overpowered physically in the box.
Now, he is a commanding presence between the sticks and his reflex saves have become the stuff of legend.