Messi, Salah, Haaland: Top 10 most expensive footballers in every position

  • Rob Swan
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If you were asked to name the world’s most expensive footballers, which players immediately spring to mind?

You’re probably thinking of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah and so on.

Indeed, all of these players are among the footballers with the highest market values in 2021-22. But we thought we’d take a deeper dive into the data to discover the 10 most expensive players in world football per position.

Using Transfermarkt’s database, we’ve listed the top 10 most expensive goalkeepers, centre-backs, right-backs, left-backs, defensive midfielders, central midfielders and so on.

Let’s begin:

Goalkeepers

10. Jordan Pickford (Everton) - £22.5m

9. Mike Maignan (AC Milan) - £22.5m

8. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) - £27m

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7. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa) - £31.5m

6. Ederson (Manchester City) - £45m

5. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona) - £49.5m

4. Alisson (Liverpool) - £54m

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3. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid) - £54m

2. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain) - £58.5m

1. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) - £63m

Most of the world’s top goalkeepers are listed here. In case you were wondering, David de Gea (22nd) and Manuel Neuer (23rd) are both valued at £16.2 million because of their advancing years.

Gianluigi Donnarumma would surely fetch more than £58.5 million because he’s still only 22 years old. However, it’s no surprise to see Jan Oblak on top of the list.

Right-backs

10. Nelson Semedo (Wolves) - £25.2m

9. Timothy Castagne (Leicester City) - £25.2m

8. Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) - £27m

7. Sergino Dest (Barcelona) - £27m

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6. Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich) - £31.5m

5. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) - £36m

4. Reece James (Chelsea) - £40.5m

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3. Joao Cancelo (Manchester City) - £49.5m

2. Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain) - £63m

1. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) - £67.5m

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Reece James’s market value continues to climb as he enhances his burgeoning reputation at Stamford Bridge. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Englishman with a similar market value to Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold in the not-too-distant future.

Joao Cancelo is 27 years old and it’s safe to assume that Man City would get far more than £49.5 million if they were to sell their world-class Portugal international in 2022.

Centre-backs

10. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) - £49.5m

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9. Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan) - £54m

8. Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid) - £54m

7. Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan) - £54m

6. Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich) - £54m

5. Jules Kounde (Sevilla) - £54m

4. Raphael Varane (Manchester United) - £63m

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3. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) - £63m

2. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain) - £67.5m

1. Ruben Dias (Manchester City) - £67.5m

Hang on a minute, Virgil van Dijk is only 10th on the list with a market value of less than £50 million? The Dutchman is 30 years old but he’s still the best centre-back in world football.

Man City’s Ruben Dias has been outstanding over the past couple of seasons, though, and it’s no surprise to see that his market value has rocketed to £67.5 million since joining Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad Stadium.

Left-backs

10. Robin Gosens (Atalanta) - £31.5m

9. Angelino (RB Leipzig) - £31.5m

8. Ben Chilwell (Chelsea) - £34.2m

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7. Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund) - £36m

6. Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain) - £36m

5. Luke Shaw (Manchester United) - £37.8m

4. Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid) - £45m

3. Theo Hernandez (AC Milan) - £45m

2. Andy Robertson (Liverpool) - £58.5m

1. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) - £63m

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Alphonso Davies is still only 21 years old and has already made such a huge impact at Bayern Munich. The Canadian has all the tools required to become one of the greatest left-backs of all time.

Liverpool’s Andy Robertson is regarded by many as the world’s current best left-back but faces stiff competition for that title from Davies this season.

Defensive midfielders

10. Ruben Neves (Wolves) - £37.8m

9. Tomas Soucek (West Ham) - £37.8m

8. Jorginho (Chelsea) - £40.5m

7. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) - £49.5m

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6. Fabinho (Liverpool) - £54m

5. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) - £54m

4. Casemiro (Real Madrid) - £63m

3. Rodri (Manchester City) - £63m

2. Declan Rice (West Ham) - £63m

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1. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) - £81m

Declan Rice has been incredible for West Ham so far this season and Europe’s top clubs will surely be tempted to make a move for the Englishman next summer. The 22-year-old has the highest market value of any defensive midfielder in world football right now, with the exception of Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich.

Central midfielders

10. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) - £54m

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9. Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan) - £58.5m

8. Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) - £58.5m

7. Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich) - £63m

6. Sergey Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio) - £63m

5. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) - £63m

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4. Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid) - £72m

3. Phil Foden (Manchester City) - £72m

2. Pedri (Barcelona) - £72m

1. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) - £81m

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Paul Pogba’s market value has dipped significantly over recent seasons and there’s talk that this could be the Frenchman’s final season with Manchester United.

Phil Foden has the world at his feet and could become the world’s best midfielder very soon. The same can be said of Barcelona’s Pedri, who has the same market value as the Englishman.

Jude Bellingham is another English starlet with the ability to become a global superstar.

Attacking midfielders (and second strikers)

10. Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich) - £45m

9. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) - £45m

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8. Paulo Dybala (Juventus) - £45m

7. Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen) - £58.5m

6. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) - £63m

5. Kai Havertz (Chelsea) - £63m

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4. Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) - £63m

3. Mason Mount (Chelsea) - £67.5m

2. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) - £81m

1. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - £90m

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There have been one or two question marks over Kevin De Bruyne this season but the Belgium international remains a world-class midfielder, as we saw during November’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford.

Florian Wirtz is only 18 years old but has already been capped four times by Germany and is making a big impression at Bayer Leverkusen. It’ll certainly be worth keeping a close eye on him over the coming months and years.

Right-wingers

10. Hirving Lozano (Napoli) £40.5m

9. Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona) - £45m

8. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) - £45m

7. Ferran Torres (Manchester City) - £45m

6. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) - £45m

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5. Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich) - £49.5m

4. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich) - £63m

3. Federico Chiesa (Juventus) - £63m

2. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain) - £72m

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1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - £90m

Is Salah currently the world’s best player? An increasing number of football fans believe so following an outstanding start to the 2021-22 campaign with Liverpool. Everything the Egyptian touches turns to gold right now.

Salah is worth £18 million more than the legendary Lionel Messi, who has struggled to hit top gear at PSG so far.

Left-wingers

10. Ansu Fati (Barcelona) - £54m

9. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) - £58.5m

8. Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) - £63m

7. Heung-min Son (Tottenham) - £76.5m

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6. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - £76.5m

5. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) - £76.5m

4. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) - £81m

3. Jadon Sancho (Manchester United) - £81m

2. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) - £90m

1. Jack Grealish (Manchester City) - £90m

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Man City signed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100 million in the summer but the England international is valued at £10 million less than that following an average start to his career at the Etihad.

Neymar has the same market value as Grealish, while Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling (who are both having a tough time with their respective Manchester-based clubs) aren’t far behind on £81 million.

Ansu Fati turned 19 in October and Barcelona’s current No. 10 has the potential to become one of the world’s best forwards over the next few years.

Centre-forwards

10. Timo Werner (Chelsea) - £49.5m

9. Richarlison (Everton) - £49.5m

8. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - £54m

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7. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) - £54m

6. Victor Osimhen (Napoli) - £54m

5. Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) - £72m

4. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea) - £90m

3. Harry Kane (Tottenham) - £108m

2. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) - £135m

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1. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) - £144m

Only three players currently have a market value in excess of £100 million and they’re all forwards.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are already global superstars and there’s potential for another Messi vs Ronaldo-style rivalry to take place involving the pair over the next decade.

Harry Kane’s market value will dip significantly unless Antonio Conte can bring the best out of the England captain between now and the end of the season.

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