RAHEEM Sterling, one of football’s hottest summer transfer targets, has been identified as the most valuable young player in European football.

The Liverpool and England international came out on top of a Soccerex study by Prime Time Sport of European football’s best U-21s.

He has a weighted valuation of €49.3m (£35.5m), comfortably ahead of his nearest rival – Brazilian international defensive stalwart Marquinhos, who is based with French champions PSG and is valued at €39.77m (£27.84m), with Manchester United’s newest attacking recruit, Dutchman Memphis Depay, claiming third spot with an valuation of €33.64m (£23.8m).

The Soccerex 20 U-21 report has been commissioned to commemorate Soccerex’s 20th anniversary as the industry’s leading global football business event, which they will mark this year, with celebrations kicking off at the Soccerex Global Convention, 6-9 September.

The Football Value Index was compiled by Prime Time Sport and takes into account the player’s age, position, current club, contract length, market value perception, international caps, minutes played, goals, injuries and technical quality from a variety of sources to arrive at a final valuation. FOOTBALL VALUE INDEX by PRIME TIME SPORT is a best in class player’s valuation methodology, used by football clubs and the sport industry, to have an independent and accurate valuation of football players.

Homegrown Talent

17 of the 20 players selected are born and bred in Europe and England top the charts with the most of players in the group, boasting 4, which some may find surprising given the national team’s recent disappointment at this year’s UEFA U-21 Championship.

Those English players making the top 20 alongside Raheem Sterling are Manchester United’s Luke Shaw in 9th spot (€25.39m/£17.77m), Everton’s John Stones in 16th (€16.85m/£11.795m) and Arsenal’s Calum Chambers in 19th (€15.06m/£10.54m).

France are in second with 3 players (Laporte, Zouma and Martial), Spain (Gayà and H.Bellerín) and Belgium have 2 (Tielemans and Origi) whilst Germany, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Croatia and Serbia boast 1 each.

Brazil (2) and Uruguay (1) make up the other 3 players in the top 20, with no players from Africa or Asia featuring on the list.

Premier League Power

The Premier League’s financial muscle and ability to draw talent is demonstrated, with no fewer than 9 English-based players included in the report.

Memphis Depay is the latest arrival to England having signed for Manchester United from PSV this summer for a reported €35.7m (£25m) – the report values him at a very close €33.6m (£23.5m).

Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers respective report values, however, are lower than their recent transfer prices.

Shaw cost Manchester United €38.57m (£25m) but the report suggests his current value is closer to €25.39m (£17.77m). Likewise, for Chambers, Arsenal forked out €22.86m (£16m) but the report suggest his valuation is €15.06m (£10.54m). In light of UEFA’s recent home-grown player regulations; one possible factor in this could be that English teams are now paying above market rates for English talent to remain compliant.

At the other end of the scale the report highlights that PSG may have grabbed themselves a bargain in Marquinhos.

The Brazilian cost them €31.7m (£22.2m) from Roma but he is in second place in The Soccerex Top 20 list at €39.77m (£27.84m), thus representing some excellent business for Les Parisiens.

Marquinhos is one of 9 defenders in the list that comprises only 3 strikers and no goalkeepers.

Overall, the leading 20 players have a weighted combined value of €485.43m (£339.8 million) with an average value of over €24m per player.

Esteve Calzada, former FC Barcelona Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer and CEO of Prime Time Sport, said;

“This report has produced a number of very interesting conclusions with regards to home-grown player regulations and Europe’s dominance in producing the world’s most valuable young talents.

“We are delighted to have worked with Soccerex ahead of their 20th anniversary celebrations, and are greatly looking forward to addressing delegates at the Soccerex Global Convention in September.”

Soccerex Chief Executive Duncan Revie said: “This report demonstrates the hugely talented pool of players under the age of 21 available to our European clubs.

“Ultimately, the lifeblood of any successful club is the players they are able to develop and nurture and the report identifies the premium that clubs place on this kind of exciting young talent.”

The survey includes all footballers who were 20 years old or younger on January 1st 2015 and includes only players registered with European clubs.

Soccerex is the global leader for the Football Business, with events all over the world. The flagship Soccerex Global Convention, to be held in Manchester, 6-9 September, brings together businesses of all sizes that work in the football industry, as well as many of Football’s current stars and legends of the game.

Soccerex has been leading the way in the world of football business since 1995, building a vast network of contacts and business associates the world over, providing the ultimate platform for business in football.

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