The recently concluded summer transfer window saw several high-profile players switch clubs for nine-figure fees.
With all due respect to Cristiano Ronaldo’s earth-shattering transfer to Real Madrid in 2009 for a then-mind-blowing fee of €94 million, Paris Saint-Germain’s market movements in 2017 were revolutionary.
PSG’s acquisitions of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe forever changed the landscape of the transfer market, significantly inflating the prices for future deals.
Barcelona’s effort to fill the void left in Neymar’s wake had an identical impact, with the Catalans splashing out monstrous figures on Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann in the aftermath.
While the COVID-19 outbreak briefly put a stop to extravagant spending in Europe, numerous top clubs have splashed the cash in its aftermath.
A new superpower has emerged in the Middle East, with loaded Saudi Pro League clubs causing cataclysmic events in the summer transfer market in 2023.
Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar laid the foundations for a mass exodus from Europe, encouraging other elite stars to embrace the riches of Saudi Arabia.
Insane asking prices and premium wage demands have not deterred the Saudis from depriving top European clubs of some of their most prized assets, including Karim Benzema, Neymar and Riyad Mahrez.
However, some players have been outside their reach, proving money cannot buy everyone.
Bayern Munich’s decision to part with upwards of €100m to sign Harry Kane was their response to the Saudis’ spending spree, while Madrid replied with a €100m acquisition of Jude Bellingham.
Chelsea maintained their free-spending recruitment programme under the new regime of Todd Boehly, highlighted by the arrival of Moises Caicedo, with Arsenal chipping in with a lucrative purchase of Declan Rice.
However, of the six players whose market value hits a €200m threshold according to CIES, only Bellingham swapped allegiances in the transfer window just gone.
Los Merengues poured a fortune into Borussia Dortmund’s bank accounts to land the prodigious midfielder, whose early life in La Liga has been making daily headlines.
Bellingham’s outrageous form in his early days at the Santiago Bernabeu has seen his market value double up, making him one of four stars with an estimated €200m price tag.
The 20-year-old’s Madrid teammate Rodrygo, Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka and PSG talisman Mbappe are the members of the €200m-market-value club.
Mbappe’s exorbitant price tag was the only reason his dream of teaming up with Bellingham in the Spanish capital failed to materialise in the build-up to 2023/24.
Determined to wear the famous white jersey by the beginning of the 2024/25 campaign, he turned down a mammoth contract offer from Al-Hilal in July.
Given Mbappe’s mind-boggling numbers in Ligue 1 over the past five years and his mesmerising performances for France in the last two World Cups, it’s odd his value doesn’t surpass the €200m milestone.
It’s equally confusing that the ex-Monaco forward’s worth is on par with Saka. Despite his significance to Mikel Arteta’s team, he has yet to reach the heights of his PSG counterpart.
But as one of the hottest prospects in Europe, let alone the Premier League, there’s no doubt that the left-footed winger deserves a prominent ranking.
Speaking of the Premier League powerhouses, Manchester City striker Erling Braut Haaland is rightfully at the top of the tree following his memorable maiden campaign at the Etihad Stadium.
The 23-year-old netted a whopping 36 goals in his first season in the Premier League, setting a new record in the competition.
His unparalleled scoring prowess inspired Man City to a historic treble, helping his market value soar to a staggering €250m.
Madrid superstar Vinicius Junior is right up there with Haaland.
Scoring a winning goal in the Champions League final does wonders for your market price, but the Brazilian’s overall performance for Los Blancos makes a solid case for his stature.
Vinicius possesses an array of attacking qualities, including lightning speed, tricky feet and a keen eye for goal and assist, which help him stand out among his peers.
After everything we’ve witnessed from the Saudis in these past few months, these market prices could be the last line of defence, standing between top talents and their European departures.
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