Barcelona and Dortmund's young stars top CIES U23 transfer value list

Haaland's beautiful curler brings Dortmund back level vs. Bayern (0:46)

Erling Haaland scores a sensational goal to level the score at 2-2 for Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker. (0:46)

The data gurus at the CIES Football Observatory have produced a list of the most valuable young players plying their trade across Europe's top five leagues: the Premier League (England), LaLiga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France).

CIES have used their bespoke algorithm to determine which players could feasibly command the highest transfer fees were they to move clubs and broken their findings down into six different positions: goalkeeper, centre-back, full-back, defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder and forward.

The study includes a top 10 of players in each position calculated by CIES using an exclusive econometric model which scrutinises important criteria such as age, experience level and contract status in order to estimate prospective transfer values.

The Premier League can boast the most number of players listed (17), while the Bundesliga (14) and LaLiga (12) aren't far behind. Bayer Leverkusen are the most represented club with six players, followed closely by Barcelona (5) and Chelsea (4). However, both Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund each have players among the highest-valued in two different positions.

To qualify, all players must play in a Big Five league and be aged under 23 years old as of Dec. 1, 2021.

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Presented in euros, here are the estimated transfer values for each player as of the next available transfer window (January 2022).


Gianluigi Donnarumma, 22 (Paris Saint-Germain): €80 million ($90m) estimated transfer value

Already a European champion and capped 40 times by Italy, Donnarumma is firmly established as one of the best goalkeepers in world football with over 200 competitive top-tier league appearances to his name across his time at boyhood club AC Milan and PSG, where he arrived as a free agent in the summer.

He became the first goalkeeper to be named UEFA's player of the tournament at a European Championship by conceding just four goals in seven appearances during the Azzurri's triumph at Euro 2020, when they won penalty shootouts in both the semifinals and the final.

Donnarumma -- ranked No. 2 among the world's top goalkeepers in ESPN's FC 100 for 2021 -- is also the reigning holder of the Yashin Trophy presented by France Football to the best goalkeeper in the world as part of the annual Ballon d'Or awards.

Illan Meslier, 21 (Leeds United): €40m
Dogan Alemdar, 19 (Stade Rennais): €15m
Luis Maximiano, 22 (Granada): €15m
Etienne Green, 21 (Saint-Etienne): €15m
Alban Lafont, 22 (Nantes): €10m
Giorgi Mamardashvili, 21 (Valencia): €8m
Kristoffer Klaesson, 21 (Leeds United): €8m
Julen Agirrezabala, 20 (Athletic Bilbao): €7m
Ivor Pandur, 21 (Hellas Verona): €7m


Eric Garcia, 20 (Barcelona): €80m

Having come through Barca's famous La Masia academy, Garcia moved to Manchester City in 2017 to finish his apprenticeship. He made 35 first-team appearances for City after making his debut in 2018, winning the 2020-21 Premier League title in the process.

He then returned to Camp Nou on a free transfer last summer, re-joining Barca on a five-year contract with a €400m release clause, so it is unlikely that Garcia will be on the move again any time soon despite a large surge in his transfer value.

Josko Gvardiol, 19 (RB Leipzig): €80m
Matthijs de Ligt, 22 (Juventus): €70m
Alessandro Bastoni, 22 (Inter Milan): €60m
Ronald Araujo, 22 (Barcelona): €50m
Oscar Mingueza, 22 (Barcelona): €50m
Piero Hincapie, 19 (Bayer Leverkusen): €40m
Maxence Lacroix, 21 (Wolfsburg): €40m
Trevoh Chalobah, 22 (Chelsea): €40m
Odilon Kossounou, 20 (Bayer Leverkusen): €40m


Alphonso Davies, 21 (Bayern Munich): €120m

Davies has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past couple of years after emerging from the fringes of the Bayern reserve side to prove himself on the biggest stages, with his devastating pace snuffing out many attacks and terrorising opposition defenders.

The Canada international -- ranked No. 2 among the world's top left-backs in ESPN's FC 100 for 2021 -- has already won multiple Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal crowns as well as the Champions League in 2019-20, yet he still shows the talent and potential to keep progressing for years to come.

Sergino Dest, 21 (Barcelona): €100m
Reece James, 22 (Chelsea): €100m
Nuno Mendes, 19 (Sporting CP, on loan at Paris Saint-Germain): €40m
Mitchel Bakker, 21 (Bayer Leverkusen): €40m
Jeremie Frimpong, 21 (Bayer Leverkusen): €30m
Pierre Kalulu, 21 (AC Milan): €30m
Emerson Royal, 22 (Tottenham Hotspur): €30m
Luke Thomas, 20 (Leicester City): €25m
Adrien Truffert, 20 (Stade Rennais): €25m

Defensive midfielders

Jude Bellingham, 18 (Borussia Dortmund): €120m

A player who has already seen one shirt number retired in his honour while still a teenager after leaving boyhood club Birmingham City, Bellingham has played his way into the England squad after becoming a fixture in the heart of Dortmund's midfield.

Just to complete the package, the calm-and-composed teenager has added a steady slew of goal contributions to his repertoire, pitching in with three goals and eight assists in all competitions so far this term -- including two assists in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Bayern Munich (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).

Curtis Jones, 20 (Liverpool): €70m
Eljif Elmas, 22 (Napoli): €70m
Declan Rice, 22 (West Ham United): €70m
Eduardo Camavinga, 19 (Real Madrid): €60m
Sandro Tonali, 21 (AC Milan): €50m
Tyler Adams, 22 (RB Leipzig): €40m
Aurelien Tchouameni, 21 (AS Monaco): €40m
Conor Gallagher, 21 (Chelsea, on loan at Crystal Palace): €30m
Pape Sarr, 19 (Tottenham Hotspur, on loan at Metz): €30m

Attacking midfielders

Florian Wirtz, 18 (Bayer Leverkusen): €140m

A wunderkind in the truest sense of the word, Wirtz became the first 17-year-old to rack up five Bundesliga goals when he did so for Leverkusen back in February. He had previously become the German top flight's youngest goal scorer (17 years and 34 days) in June 2020.

Since then, the industrious midfielder has continued in a rich vein of form, adding eight goals and 11 assists to his club tally this season as well as earning his first senior international call-ups under new Germany coach Hansi Flick.

Pedri Gonzalez, 19 (Barcelona): €140m
Kai Havertz, 22 (Chelsea): €100m
Bukayo Saka, 20 (Arsenal): €100m
Mason Mount, 22 (Chelsea): €90m
Jamal Musiala, 18 (Bayern Munich): €90m
Emile Smith Rowe, 21 (Arsenal): €90m
Brahim Diaz, 22 (AC Milan): €50m
Sofiane Diop, 21 (AS Monaco): €40m
Christoph Baumgartner, 22 (Hoffenheim): €40m


Erling Haaland, 21 (Borussia Dortmund): €150m

One of the most formidable and phenomenal strikers on the planet, Haaland is still managing to average more than a goal every game for Dortmund in all competitions, having scored 72 in 71 appearances since moving to the German club in January of 2020.

A physical colossus with an unbelievably prolific record, it is little wonder that Haaland -- ranked No. 2 among the world's top strikers in ESPN's FC 100 for 2021 -- is coveted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe. And they could even sign him for half of CIES' estimated transfer fee next summer, when a reported release clause kicks in allowing him to leave the Westfalenstadion for as little as €75m.

On that note, Kylian Mbappe's value would surely be higher on this list were it not for the fact that his contract at Paris Saint-Germain is due to expire next summer.

Vinicius Junior, 21 (Real Madrid): €150m
Phil Foden, 21 (Manchester City): €150m
Mason Greenwood, 20 (Manchester United): €140m
Jadon Sancho, 21 (Manchester United): €130m
Ferran Torres, 21 (Manchester City): €120m
Joao Felix, 22 (Atletico Madrid): €100m
Kylian Mbappe, 22 (Paris Saint-Germain): €80m
Moussa Diaby, 22 (Bayer Leverkusen): €80m
Yeremi Pino, 19 (Villarreal): €80m