There’s no hiding the fact that several of the 20 English Premier League clubs are mediocre. However, each one of them still has its most valuable player and this person is generally regarded to as being the side’s most untouchable member. The top teams may have a few of these players while it’s sometimes hard to find even one on some of the smaller and newly-promoted clubs. There are a few factors which make the below list the most untouchable players on their squads for the 2015-16 season.
The biggest factors are the player’s age, skill level, past performance record, current performances, potential and market value. The market value comes into play since player’s whose values have skyrocketed or risen steadily have done so because of their performances and value to their clubs. It’s tempting for a team to sell off a young star for millions of euros, pounds or dollars if they were acquired for free or a low transfer fee. However, if the big teams come knocking and start offering boatloads of money for a youngster, you might want to keep him for your own purposes or until his value rises even higher.
These 20 players are currently the most valuable to their team since they’ve all got the potential to become soccer stars in the next few years. In fact, some of them already are. Oddly enough, English fans are often reminded that there are few good homegrown players in the Premier League, but there are seven of them, representing 35 per cent, on this list. If these players can remain healthy throughout their careers, they should all soon be household names.
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20 Arsenal - Alexis Sanchez
Arsene Wenger’s most-valuable and untouchable player is Chilean international forward Alexis Sanchez, who’s now in his second year with the London club. The 26-year-old showed just how easily he has adapted in his first season by scoring goals and setting up his teammates on a regular basis. Sanchez is just heading into the prime of his career and will undoubtedly get even better. Sanchez was bought for 42.5 million euros from Spanish champions Barcelona, but his transfer market value has already risen to 55 million due to his fine performances with the Gunners last season. He’s under contract until 2018 and there’s a good chance his deal will soon be extended.
19 Aston Villa - Jack Grealish
Forward Jack Grealish is just 20 years old and since Villa could find themselves relegated at the end of the season, they need to hang onto him due to his potential. Grealish hasn’t matured yet and has had his off-pitch problems, but he could end up being a star and it’s too early to give up on him. Grealish was born in Birmingham, but opted to play for Ireland as an Under-17, 18, and 21-year-old. However, since then he hasn’t played with the senior national side as of yet he’s now pledged his international career to England. He’s scored a goal and assist in seven games with Villa this year and is far from perfect, but has the potential to become a game breaker.
18 Bournemouth - Callum Wilson
Bournemouth is enjoying their first year in the Premier League in 2015-16 and lacks star players. Unfortunately, their three top prospects, Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Callum Wilson are all out with long-term injuries. However, before the 23-year-old English striker Callum Wilson was hurt he showed he has what it takes to star in the Premier League by scoring five goals in his first seven games. His transfer value has jumped from 2.5 million euros in the summer of 2014 to seven million. Wilson is signed until 2019 and has proved he’s the club’s most untouchable player at the moment.
17 Crystal Palace - Johan Cabaye
London’s Crystal Palace has a squad that’s more or less lacking star players. Manager Alan Pardew has done an excellent job at the club since he’s getting the most out what he has. If there is an untouchable on the team it would have to be 29-year-old French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who is as skilled as they come. The ex-Newcastle player was picked up by Palace this summer for 13.9 million euros from Paris Saint Germain, where he was unhappy. Cabaye’s market value is now 16 million, but it’s a long way from the 23 million euros he was worth just over a year ago. He’s still under contract until 2018 and appears to be rejuvenated with Palace as he scored three goals and an assist in his first four league encounters with them.
16 Everton - Ross Barkley
English international midfielder Ross Barkley should be headed to an excellent career with both club and country. He’s has the potential to be one of the best English and Premier League attacking midfielders ever. Barkley is just 21 years old and is bound to get better with each passing year. He’s ranked just sixth at the moment in the Everton squad when it comes to market value at 16 million euros, but that figure has risen from 11 million since January of last year. Barkley had three goals and two assists in his first 10 league outings this season and recently scored twice in five European Championship qualifying games for England.
15 Chelsea - Eden Hazard
After being named the Premier League’s player of the year for the 2014-15 season, the Belgian international winger, like all of his Chelsea teammates, has been struggling so far this season. However, he’s still the most valuable player in Jose Mourinho’s squad and it’s reflected in his current market value of 70 million euros. The 24-year-old must be doing something right though since his value has risen 10 million euros since February. He’s also under contract to the Blues until 2020.
14 Leicester City - Riyad Mahrez
Leicester got hot at the end of last season and managed to avoid relegation and have started this campaign right where they left off, as one of the Premier League’s hottest teams. They’ve performed well with several good young players such as Leonardo Ulloa, Jamie Vardy, Nathan Dyer and Riyad Mahrez. This is a close call between the 24-year-old Mahrez and the 28-year-old Vardy. English international forward Vardy had seven goals and two assists after eight league games this season while Mahrez had five goals and a pair of helpers in seven matches. But since he’s four years younger, we’ll give the nod to the Algerian international winger Mahrez. Leicester bought him for just 500,000 euros from Le Havre in January of last year and his market value now stands at 11 million.
13 Liverpool - Daniel Sturridge
Like Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge has been injury prone over the past couple of years, but his club is nowhere near as good when he’s out of the lineup. The 26-year-old English international may be fifth in team pecking order when it comes to his transfer value of 25 million euros, but he’s the only player in the current squad who has proven he can score for the side on a regular basis. The Reds bought Belgian international striker Christian Benteke during the summer transfer window, but he’s also out of the lineup more than he’s in it due to injuries. Sturridge just returned to the lineup and has two goals in his first three games. He’s now scored 43 times and set up 16 in 70 matches with Liverpool, including 38 in 58 league outings.
12 Manchester City - Sergio Aguero
The way the team performs with and without Argentine international striker Sergio Aguero, he’s definitely Manchester City’s most untouchable player at the moment. He’s world class and has scored some of the team’s most important goals since joining the club in 2011. Aguero scored five goals in a game early on in the 2015-16 campaign and his market value has risen to 60 million euros from 50 million back in February. Aguero’s under contract until 2019 and it highly doubtful City would think of selling him, unless he continues to have injury problems.
11 Manchester United - Anthony Martial
With Man United’s current squad, the most untouchable player comes down to English international striker Wayne Rooney, Spanish international goalkeeper David de Gea and young French forward Anthony Martial. Many critics and fans questioned Louis Van Gaal when he paid French club Monaco about 50 million euros for Martial in September, but he scored three goals and added an assist in his first 295 Premier League minutes with the club, meaning he finds the back of the net every 98 minutes played. He also chipped in with a goal in four Champions League qualifiers and another in one League Cup match. Martial is just 19 years old and was so impressive in his first month in the Premier League that he was named player of the month. With five goals and three assists in his first 14 contests and being under contract until 2019, he won’t be going anywhere.
10 Newcastle United - Georginio Wijnaldum
There’s a good chance Newcastle will be relegated at the end of the 2015-16 season, especially with number one goalkeeper Tim Krul of Holland out for the season with a torn ACL. To be honest, the Tyneside squad is quite weak, but there are a few youngsters who could end up becoming stars over the next few years. At the moment, Dutch international attacking midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is rated as the highest-valued player on the team at 18 million euros after being rated at 10 million just over a year ago.
Still, Newcastle may have overpaid for him as they shelled out 20 million euros to PSV Eindhoven this summer. Wijnaldum could have a promising career ahead of him in the Premier League if Newcastle can stay up. He chipped in with a pair of goals and an assist in his first eight league games and is under contract until 2020. He’s also added four goals in 23 games for his national squad.
9 Norwich City - Nathan Redmond
If there is one player newly-promoted Norwich City they should hang onto it’s 21-year-old winger/midfielder Nathan Redmond who currently plays with the English Under-21 side as well. Redmond’s value has risen to 6.5 million euros after sitting at 3.5 million in January of last year. He’s under contract until 2017 so should be re-signed soon. Redmond should earn a full international cap in the near future after representing his country at every age level since he was 16. He scored three goals and an assist in his first eight league games this year and has a bright future ahead of him.
8 Southampton - Sadio Mane
Southampton winger Sadio Mane is just 23 years old and is already the target of some of the biggest Premier League outfits such as Manchester United. He’s under contract until 2018 and was bought from Austrian club Salzburg for 15 million euros in the summer of 2014. Southampton took a gamble on him by paying double his market value of 7.5 million euros, but that number has now risen to 18 million euros because of his excellent play. Mane of Senegal had five goals and six assists in his first 12 appearances with his club this season after scoring 10 goals and four assists in 30 league contests last year.
7 Stoke City- Xherdan Shaqiri
Winger/midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri cost Stoke City 17 million euros from Italian side Inter Milan this summer and because of the cost and his age of just 24, he’s going to be given a chance to prove how good he is. The Swiss international has been a star for several years with his national team and also played with Bayern Munich in the past. He’s already played 46 times for Switzerland and has 17 goals to his name. Shaqiri has 51 goals in his club career as of now and is expected to become Stoke’s best player once he adapts to the Premier League.
6 Sunderland - Jeremain Lens
Sunderland is another club that could easily find itself relegated at the end of 2015--16 and one of the reasons is due to the lack of good players. When looking at the current roster, it’s hard to find a true untouchable player so we’ll name Dutch international winger Jeremain Lens by default. The 27-year-old was bought by the club this summer from Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv for 11.4 million euros and he’s now rated at 12 million. Lens has gotten off to a good start with Sunderland as he notched a pair of goals and assists in his first eight matches. He’s also scored eight goals in 30 fixtures with Holland and has 91 in close to 300 club contests.
5 Swansea City - Andre Ayew
Winger/midfielder Andre Ayew of Ghana was acquired by Swansea from French side Marseille on a free transfer this summer after scoring 60 goals and 25 assists in 205 games and he’s turned out to be the league’s best bargain. Ayew has adapted quickly to the English game with four goals and a helper in his first eight Premier League fixtures. He’s just 25 years old and is currently rated at 13 million euros in the transfer market. It would be a big profit for the Swans if Ayew was sold, but he’s far too valuable to the team at the moment.
4 Tottenham Hotspur - Harry Kane
English international striker Harry Kane had a breakout season in 2014-15 and led Spurs and all English players in scoring with 31 goals in 51 games in all competitions, which included 21 goals and five assists in 31 league games. He earned a spot in the national team and celebrated his first goal about 90 seconds later. Kane is just 22 years old and is under contract until 2020. Kane’s market value has skyrocketed to 25 million euros from three million over the past 14 months He’s scored just one goal in his first eight league matches this campaign, but at his age, Kane has so much potential and should be at Tottenham for several years to come.
3 Watford FC - Obbi Oulare
Newly-promoted Watford will do well to stay in the Premier League this year since the squad is filled with hardworking journeymen players. It’s not really a young squad either. In fact, their most untouchable player is actually 19-year-old Belgian Under-21 forward Obbi Oulare who is playing on loan with Brugge this season. The teenager has nine goals and four assists in 38 career club games with Brugge and has 10 in 12 matches with the Belgian Under-18, 19 and 21 sides. He’s scored twice in eight matches this year and is a player Watford needs to hold onto and develop due to his age and skills. Oluare is currently worth five million euros after being worth a million back in February. Watford showed how much they wanted him buy paying Brugge 8,23 million for him in September.
2 West Bromwich Albion - Saido Berahino
West Brom’s English forward Saido Berahino sulked this summer when the club wouldn’t sell him to one of the Premier League’s bigger and richer teams. West Brom stuck by their guns and played hardball with him and the 22-year old is still with the squad. The youngster had two goals after six league fixtures this season and led the team with 20 in 45 games in all competitions a year ago. Berahino has all the skills needed to become a star as long as he matures and makes the best of his situation.
1 West Ham United- Dimitri Payet
French attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet is 28 years old and entering the prime of his career. He’s under contract until 2020 after being bought this summer for 15 million euros from Marseille of France. Payet’s market value has increased by two million euros since June after scoring four goals and three assists in his first eight league outings with the Hammers. West Ham needs goals and with Ecuadorian international striker Enner Valencia out with an injury and English striker Andy Carroll being injury prone, Payet is currently West Ham’s most valuable player.
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