After the World Cup 2018, there has been a slight shifting of the tectonic plates in terms of player values. While some superstars have seen their valuations plummet by virtue of their underperformances in the all-important tournament, others have augmented their market values by living up to their billing or exceeding it.
In the already inflated transfer market, those footballers who play up front have wreaked havoc owing to their eye-watering costings in comparison with goalkeepers and defenders who still merit relatively low asking prices.
Wingers are another breed partly responsible for this exorbitant market. Their roles are no longer restricted to staying by the touchlines, but they now relish the license to play a more aggressive part in the team’s build-up towards the goal.
Instead of whipping in assists for the center-forwards, several wingers opt to leather the ball past the goalkeeper all by themselves, which is why it is not surprising anymore to see them notch up hat-tricks and even surpass strikers in terms of the goals scored (like Mo Salah beating Harry Kane to the Premier League Golden Boot).
On that note, let us take a look at the 7 most valuable wingers in the football world presently.
Market values for players are calculated by how well they play, age, their marketability, contract length and ability to sell shirts.
7 Gareth Bale – £81 million
Gareth Bale was acquired by Real Madrid for a then world-record fee worth £85m, which made him the most expensive player back then. However, he has had a stop-start career since then, encumbered by recurring injury problems.
The 2017-18 season for the Welshman was particularly distressing as he fell down the pecking order under Zidane, with his berth being usurped by the talented duo of Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio.
As a result, he has hinted at a potential exit from the club several times largely due to the dearth of game time, and it is safe to say that he is not short of suitors in any way.
If a deal regarding him is materialized in the ongoing transfer market, it will easily cross the £100 million barrier.
#6 Raheem Sterling – £81 million
Raheem Sterling has been given a new lease of life under the aegis of the mastermind – Pep Guardiola. He was an influential player who played a vital role in Manchester City’s glorious title-winning run
The Englishman contributed to the overall campaign with an invaluable tally of 23 goals and 17 assists.
His menacing presence on the flanks troubled many rearguards as he bulldozed his way through them thanks to his lightning pace, dribbling skills and mental composure packed in his pocket-sized frame.
5 Leroy Sané – £81 million
Leroy Sané is another Manchester City player who has improved in leaps and bounds under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage.
The breakout star from Schalke raised innumerable eyebrows when he was signed by Manchester City for £45m in 2016, but the way he has silenced his critics with back-to-back dazzling performances is one for the books.
The German was an instrumental figure in Manchester City’s road to Premier League glory, registering 14 goals and 19 assists across all competitions.
Eden Hazard made sure that the otherwise abysmal season for Chelsea ended on a high note this year via his goal against Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
Besides, the 27-year-old had a stellar World Cup campaign where he led his side to an unanticipated third-placed finish, netting 3 goals and orchestrating a further 2 in the process.
The Belgian has long been linked with a potential move to Real Madrid, which has been made all the more probable with his following statement:
“After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision.
If they let me out, you already know my favorite destination.”
And if the two parties manage to clinch a deal, footballing fraternity should brace themselves for another world-record signing.
Not even the most optimistic of Liverpool fans could have predicted the impact Salah has made on Liverpool since joining them from AS Roma for £37.8m back in June 2017.
Undoubtedly the best signing of the season, Salah fired on all cylinders over the course of his startling debut season for The Reds in which he secured the Premier League Golden Boot award courtesy of his 32 goals in the league. In consequence, his market value has increased exponentially in the past year.
The fleet-footed winger has caught the eye of many high-profile clubs and numerous offers were made for him before he agreed to a new long-term contract with Liverpool.
On the strength of his exceptional performances in the World Cup, Kylian Mbappe has found a place in the upper echelons of this list. One of the most exciting prospects in world football, the Frenchman is probably the most in-demand winger on the planet Earth presently.
Mbappe was splendid in the recently-concluded Mundial, chalking up 4 goals in the 7 matches he played which compelled the populace to compare him with the great Edson Arantes do Nascimento aka Pelé.
Currently, the 19-year-old is on Florentino Pérez’s radar who is pursuing the French starlet intensely to procure another World Cup standout after the likes of James Rodríguez, Mesut Özil, Fabio Cannavaro and Ronaldo Nazário.
If anything as such happens, Neymar might lose out on his status as the most expensive player of all-time
Touted to be a potential Ballon d’Or winner in forthcoming years, Neymar has bagged a place atop this list by dint of his world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
Ever since the Brazilian wunderkind started playing for the French giants, he has hit the ground running alongside his fearsome teammates – Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe. With Neymar only 26 years old and on the peak of his powers, he has managed to turn heads of umpteen top dogs across Europe.
In the 2017-18 season, he racked up 28 goals and engineered 16 assists in 30 outings for Les Parisiens and the stats could have been even more impressive if it had not been for a fractured metatarsal in early March.