Incredible sums of money are thrown around in football on a regular basis these days, sometimes even for the services of only a single player.
In order to hang on to their most precious stars, clubs often use various strategies to bump up the market value of their players to repel approaches from rivals, leading to extraordinary release clauses.
So without further delay, here is the top five most valuable squads in Europe based on the market value of all first team players. All figures have been sourced from transfermarkt.com.
5 | Manchester United | £354 million
The Red Devils have clawed back their Premier League crown with considerable ease this season largely thanks to their £22 million signing Robin van Persie.
Old Trafford is home to a host of other revered names such as Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Antonio Valencia, but neither them nor the Dutchman boast the highest market value at the club.
Highest market value player: Wayne Rooney (£54 million)
4 | Bayern Munich | £363 million
Already, the Bundesliga champions and 4-0 up in their Champions League tie with Barcelona, the German giants have been insatiable this season.
FC Hollywood is on track to secure an illustrious treble this campaign, and their success has tempted Pep Guardiola and Mario Gozte into signing up at the Allianz Arena.
Many tip Bayern to usurp Barçelona as the all-conquering force in European football, and their recent dominance could coax even more top-class names into joining the Bavarian revolution.
Highest market value player: Franck Ribéry (£35 million)
3 | Manchester City | £365 million
City were well outside the top five most valuable squads in Europe prior to the arrival of billionaire owner Khaldoon Al Mubarak back in 2008.
Despite winning the 2011/2012 Premier League and seemingly establishing themselves as the latest threat in Europe, the Sky Blues have failed to replicate the success they enjoyed last season.
After failing to defend their league crown or make their mark in the Champions League, the FA Cup is the last remaining chance of lifting silverware for the Citizens in a disappointing campaign that may spark heavy investment this season.
Highest market value player: Sergio Agüero (£37 million)
2 | Real Madrid | £501 million
An admirable club swept up in controversy and rumours all too often this term, Real Madrid is currently experiencing an unfamiliar period of instability.
‘Los Blancos’ have played second fiddle to Barcelona all season, and this simple fact has been overshadowed by talk of José Mourinho returning to Chelsea and falling out with Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos.
Despite their troubles on and off the field this campaign, the Santiago Bernabeu attracts the best players in the world, and sometimes for tremendous amounts of money.
Highest market value player: Cristiano Ronaldo (£84 million)
1 | Barcelona | £508 million
Despite looking set to trump arch-rivals Real Madrid in convincing fashion domestically this term, the Catalan giants have faced significant criticism in the wake of the incredible season Bayern Munich has enjoyed.
Whether or not they can recover from their 4-0 beating at the hands of the Germans earlier this week is unknown, but only a fool would write off Barcelona and their jam-packed squad of superstar talent.
Highest market value player: Lionel Messi (£101 million)
What do you think of the top five most valuable squads in Europe? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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