Football is the biggest sport in the United Kingdom and in most of the world. There are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of football fans around the world. That makes it not just a big sport but a big business as well. We regularly hear pundits talk about how sports stars are overpaid. While there is some truth to this, and it should be examined as part of a wider conversation on what occupations we respect, this is not the place for that discussion.
The salaries that players earn, reflect their value to their teams and owners. Value can come in many different forms. Obviously, it’s largely about what a player can do on the pitch. However, players who bring in sponsorships because they’re likable or good role models, have another kind of value.
For bettors, value often looks like consistency. If you can trust a player to score nearly every time he’s on the pitch, he becomes a much safer bet. Many bookmakers add value to their services by promoting free bet offers to their customers. Betting on football has become a major part of the industry, so this kind of value is increasingly important. The majority of teams in the Premier League have a sponsor from the betting industry and betting advertisements fill much of the ad time during live match coverage.
All in all, what makes a player valuable, can’t be narrowed down to a single factor. However, we will be using the official market value numbers in this ranking. With that in mind, here are our picks for the 10 most valuable players in the UK in 2023.
Erling Haaland, Manchester City ⎯ €170 million
Erling Haaland is currently one of the best players in the world. The Norwegian striker has been a phenomenon since day one. At only 22 years old, he has already become so central to City’s line up that it’s hard to remember what the team was like before he joined.
Haaland is a powerful striker known for his speed and accuracy. In the 2020−21 season alone, he was named the UEFA Champions League forward of the season, Champions League top goal scorer, and UEFA Nations top goal scorer. It will be exciting to see how he matures as a player.
Bukayo Saka, Arsenal ⎯ €110 million
While it took nearly a year after his debut with Arsenal for British player Bukayo Saka to score his first goal, he has more than made up for the delay in the years since. He has consistently developed as a player since 2018 and is now essential to Arsenal’s squad.
Saka is a versatile player but is most commonly found on the right wing. Every season since his debut in 2018, he has scored more goals than the season before, with 13 already this season. At only 21, the next few years should show an increase in his confidence and talent.
Phil Foden, Manchester City ⎯ €110 million
Phil Foden is currently one of the top young British players in the EPL. He is already making a name for himself as one of the more creative players on the pitch. Couple that with a keen eye for the perfect pass⎯and the skills to make it happen⎯and you have a force to be reckoned with. Foden has also been playing for England in international matches since 2017, first for the youth team and now on the main squad. He played an important role in the team’s success in Qatar at the 2022 World Cup.
Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur ⎯ €90 million
Harry Kane is one of the best-known and most respected British players currently playing. The Tottenham striker is the all-time record goal scorer for both Tottenham and the English national team. As captain of the English national team, he has demonstrated an impressive level of leadership ability.
Kane was loaned out to several other EPL clubs during the early years of his career, which helped him to gain a broader experience of management and playing styles. Spurs, cleverly, never actually let him go, however. Kane has been a key figure on their front line since 2014.
Enzo Fernández, Chelsea ⎯ €85 million
Although Enzo Fernández’s future with Chelsea isn’t certain, the Argentinian centre midfielder has already made an impact during his brief time with the club. He was signed as part of a British-record transfer deal. He has only been with Chelsea since February, so time will tell if he was worth the price.
Declan Rice, West Ham United ⎯ €80 million
Declan Rice has been a defensive midfielder with West Ham since 2017 and has grown into his own in the years since then. Though not a flashy player, his determination and dedication have made him a star talent. Those same qualities have also led to him being named captain in 2022.
Rodri, Manchester City ⎯ €80 million
Spanish player Rodri (full name Rodrigo Hernández Cascante) joined City in 2019 after spending the first years of his career playing for Atletico Madrid. While most of the highest-valued players are strikers, forwards, or forward-leaning midfielders, Rodri is a defensively-minded midfielder.
His willingness to hang back from the action when necessary, and his ability to protect the defensive line, have made him an asset to City. He is an intelligent player who works hard to read the game and plan, instead of just acting on impulse.
Martin Ødegaard, Arsenal ⎯ €80 million
The second Norwegian player on our list is Martin Ødegaard. While his career with Arsenal hasn’t been as headline-grabbing as Haaland’s, he is still an immensely talented player. He is a midfielder who is a clever playmaker.
Ødegaard’s abilities aren’t limited to just fancy footwork, his talent for leadership is also striking. His coaches and managers have recognised this talent, leading to Ødegaard becoming the captain for both Arsenal and the Norwegian national team.
Bernardo Silva, Manchester City ⎯ €80 million
Bernardo Silva is described in his team bio as tenacious and that is clear to anyone who watches him play. Silva’s nickname, “Bubblegum”, comes from how the ball seems to stick to his feet no matter how zigzagged his dribbles are. Silva has been playing for City since 2017 and is under contract with the team until 2025. The Portuguese player has become an integral part of City’s midfield.
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United ⎯ €80 million
Marcus Rashford started out in United’s youth system at only seven years old and he is clear evidence that they have an eye for immensely talented players. While he grew up idolising Ronaldo, he is most often compared to Thierry Henry. He’s fast, aggressive and intelligent.
But Rashford’s value to his team goes far beyond what he does on the pitch during a match. He has become an outspoken critic of governmental policies that hurt children. Though some scoff at athletes being political, working to ensure children don’t go hungry is impossible to criticise.