Sterling most highly rated under-21
Published 06/07/2015 | 22:06
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is the most valuable young player in Europe, according to a new study.
The 20-year-old England international, whose future at Anfield has been the topic of intense speculation this summer, has been given a weighted value of £35.05million (49.3million euros) by the Soccerex 20 U-21 report.
Sterling tops a list of the 20 most highly rated players aged under 21 on the continent identified by the study, which has been produced to mark the 20th anniversary of Soccerex, a global football business event.
He is some way ahead of Paris St Germain's Brazilian defender Marquinhos in second place at £27.84million (39.77million euros) with Manchester United new boy Memphis Depay in third at £23.8million (33.64million euros).
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 Football Value Index, compiled by sports agency Prime Time Sport, takes into account the player's age, position, current club, contract length, market value perception, international caps, minutes played, goals, injuries and technical quality.
Seventeen of the 20 players were born and bred in Europe with Marquinhos, Atletico Madrid's Uruguayan defender Jose Gimenez and Benfica's Brazilian midfielder Anderson Talisca the only exceptions.
Three more English players make the list - Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw in ninth place (£17.77million, 25.39million euros), Everton's John Stones in 16th (£11.8million, 16.85million euros) and Arsenal's Calum Chambers in 19th (£10.54million, 15.06million euros).
However, no fewer than nine men will be plying their trade in the Barclays Premier League next season with Frenchman Kurt Zouma at Chelsea, German Emre Can and Belgian Divock Origi at Liverpool and Arsenal's Hector Bellerin, who appear in 11th, 15th, 18th and 20th places respectively, joining Sterling, Depay and the rest of the English contingent.
Interestingly, both Shaw and Chambers are rated at significantly lower values than the fees paid for them by United and the Gunners - the report gives Shaw's fee as £25million while Chambers cost £16million - and author Esteve Calzada suggests that could be a result of English clubs paying a premium for home-grown talent in order to comply with UEFA regulations.
Calzada 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."