Most soccer contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on anymore since both players and clubs rarely show any loyalty these days. Just because somebody has inked a brand-new five-year deal it doesn’t mean he won’t be on the move soon after. The major reason soccer stars move from team to team so often is due to the fact that their contract doesn’t go with them. Therefore if a player inks a $5 million a year deal with club A, he can negotiate a new, better-paying deal with club B if he’s transferred.
Because of this basic flaw in the system we see soccer players trying to force moves to other clubs since they know they can make more money elsewhere. Everybody is fair game once the transfer windows open and the next window just happens to be a few weeks away as January is just around the corner. This means fans shouldn’t be surprised to see anybody swap teams regardless of their current contract situation. Some squads will be on the lookout for new blood due to injuries and others teams could be struggling in the standings and in the market for some help.
This list represents the 20 highest-valued strikers in the world according to their current transfer-market value. The facts and figures come courtesy of transfermarkt.com. The numbers show the current market value of each player and how much it would likely cost another club to buy their services in the upcoming transfer window. These are the top 20 most-expensive strikers in the transfer market with their value shown in euros. Some of them may play centre-forward while others could be considered wingers, but are all considered strikers for the purpose of this list.
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20 Radamel Falcao
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao was considered a bust during his stint at Manchester United in 2014/15 and unfortunately retains the same status at Chelsea. The 29-year-old is still valued at 35 million euros, but was rated at 60 million in January of 2013. Falcao has 25 goals in 60 games for his homeland, but managed just four goals and five assists in 29 matches with United last year. He’s still cold as ice with just one goal in 11 appearances with Chelsea this season. Falcao is actually under contract with French side Monaco until June, 2016 and they’ve been lending him out for the money. They originally paid 43 million euros to Atletico Madrid for him in 2013 after Madrid had bought him for 40 million two years prior. Falcao displayed a fine scoring touch with 72 goals in 87 games for Porto and 70 in 90 matches with Madrid. He also scored 13 times in 22 contests with Monaco before they shipped him out. It may prove to be a huge mistake since Falcao’s market value will continue to plunge and Monaco will have to absorb a huge loss on him when he’s finally transferred elsewhere.
19 Christian Benteke
Belgian international striker Christian Benteke is a fine goal scorer when he’s healthy enough to play. He joined Liverpool from fellow English Premier League club Aston Villa for 46.5 million euros this past summer and signed on until 2020. He’s still just 24 years old and currently valued at 35 million euros, which leads to the common belief that Liverpool certainly overpaid for his services. Benteke’s scored four goals and an assist for the Reds in 10 games this campaign after hammering home 49 goals and adding a dozen assists for Villa. Benteke had been with several clubs in Belgium until Villa bought him for 8.8 million euros from Genk in the summer of 2012. Benteke has seven goals in 24 outings with Belgium and if he can stay healthy could rise in value over the next few years.
18 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Some fans may be unfamiliar with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund, but the 26-year-old native of Gabon is currently valued at 35 million euros on the transfer market. He’s more than doubled in value since being rated at 17 million euros in February, 2014. Aubameyang has played with several clubs including Ac Milan, Dijon, Lille, Monaco, and Saint Etienne. Dortmund bought him for 13 million euros from Saint Etienne in the summer of 2013 after he scored 41 goals and 26 assists for the French club in 96 matches, and signed him until 2020. It seems like a great move since Aubameyang has scored 62 goals and 21 assists since joining the German side, including 21 goals and five assists in his first 19 club games this season. He’s also tallied 19 times in 47 appearances for Gabon and should see his market value rise if he keeps it up.
17 Jackson Martinez
Centre-forward Jackson Martinez of Colombia made a name for himself at the 2014 World Cup and Atletico Madrid paid 35 million euros to Portuguese side Porto for him this summer. Porto had originally acquired him from Mexican side Jaguares de Chiapas for 8.89 million euros in 2012 after Jaguares had paid Medellin 2.8 million for him two years earlier. The 29-year-old’s still valued at 35 million euros, but is off to a slow start with just three goals and an assist in 14 matches this season. Martinez has 10 goals in 35 appearances for Colombia and drilled home 92 in 133 contests with Porto. He also had a combined 57 goals with Medellin and Jaguares. However, if he doesn’t start producing in Madrid soon, Jackson’s value could drop.
Hulk has traded the warm climate of his Brazilian homeland for the cooler weather of Russia where the 29-year-old currently scores and sets up goals on a regular basis for Zenit St. Petersburg. Hulk also appears to be on the downside of his career, at least in the transfer-market value department. He’s currently rated at 37 million euros after hitting a peak of 48 million in March of 2014. He started his career in Brazil and then spent some time on loan in Japan. In July, 2008 Portuguese club FC Porto shelled out 19 million euros to Tokyo Verdy for him. Hulk netted 78 goals and 60 assists for Porto before selling him to St. Petersburg for 55 million euros in September, 2012. Hulk has chipped in with 61 goals and 54 assists for the Russian club including 10 goals and 17 helpers in 19 matches this season.
15 Wayne Rooney
England and Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney just turned 30 years old and has come under fire in the British press for his lack of Premier League goals. He’s scored just twice in league play in 2015/16, but had seven goals in 17 games in all competitions. Rooney is the all-time leading scorer for his nation with 50 goals in 107 matches, but his place in the squad is being threatened by youngsters such as Harry Kane, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy. Rooney cost Man United 37 million euros when they bought him from Everton as a teenager in 2004. He’s under contract until 2019 and has 237 goals and 131 assists with United in 496 career appearances. Rooney’s now valued at 40 million euros after hitting his peak of 65 million in February of 2012. There are still a lot of teams who’d like to have Rooney and it’s possible, but unlikely that he’ll ever leave Old Trafford.
14 Edinson Cavani
Uruguay international Edinson Cavani is currently valued at 42 million euros on the transfer market. He should still be in his prime at the age of 28, but his value has been dropping lately. Cavani has 34 goals in 68 games with Uruguay and has chipped in with 65 goals and 11 assists since joining PSG in July, 2013 for 64.5 million from Napoli. Cavani banged in 104 goals in 123 matches with the Italian side and that’s why PSG paid out for him and signed him until 2018. The striker had made a name for himself originally with Palermo in Italy and that that prompted Napoli to pay 12 million euros for him in 2011. Cavani’s scored nine goals and a pair of assists in 16 contests this season, but his value has dropped from a high of 55 million euros in April, 2013.
13 Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann’s name has been linked with several teams recently including Manchester United. The French international’s just 24 years old and currently under contract with Atletico Madrid until June of 2020. He’s played just 20 times for France with five goals to his name, but is seen as a future star. Atletico paid 30 million euros to Real Sociedad for him in the summer of 2014. Since then he’s scored 312 goals and 10 assists in 67 appearances after netting 52 goals and 18 helpers with his former club. Griezmann had 6 goals and 4 assists in his first 14 contests this campaign and is now valued at 45 million euros after being rated at 20 million just two years ago.
12 Gonzalo Higuaín
Twenty-seven-year-old Gonzalo Higuain of Italian Serie A side Napoli is another highly-valued Argentine international striker although he was born in France. He was bought from Real Madrid for 37 million euros in the summer of 2013 and signed until June, 2018. Real had acquired him from Argentine club River Plate for 12 million and Higuain’s now valued at 47 million euros. He’s certainly helped his cause by potting 10 goals and two assists in his first 14 games this season and has 25 goals in 52 caps with his homeland. Higuain has 43 goals and 16 assists in 80 appearances with Napoli after netting 122 times and adding 56 assists in 264 fixtures with Real Madrid. He’s an underrated player who has attracted the interest of several bigger clubs.
11 Karim Benzema
Real Madrid’s French international striker Karim Benzema has been in the headlines recently due to a sex-blackmail scandal involving a former teammate. When he concentrates on soccer though, he’s a dependable scorer for France and Real. He’s popped in 25 goals in 80 games for his homeland and has another 141 for Real in 289 games along with 86 assists. This includes seven goals in eight outings so far in 2015/16. Benzema was bought for 35 million euros from French side Olympique Lyon in 2009, where he had 56 goals and 26 assists in 133 matches. He’s now valued at 50 million euros after his worth has seen some peaks and valleys. The 27-year-old was rated at 34 million euros in January, 2014. It’s hard to say how his future will pan out until the blackmail scandal has been resolved.
10 Diego Costa
Brazilian-born, Spanish international Diego Costa is another striker who’s often sidelined due to injuries, but produces when he’s on the pitch. The 27-year-old, like his Chelsea teammates, has struggled slightly so far this season with just three goals and three assists in 14 club games. However, he’s scored 23 goals and added eight assists in 51 games with the Blues and has 127 goals and 46 helpers during his club career with several teams. Chelsea paid 38 million euros to Atletico Madrid for Costa’s services in July, 2014 and signed him until June of 2019. His value has now risen to 55 million euros due to his fine 2014/15 campaign. Chelsea is Costa’s eighth pro club so far and he’s an agitating type of player, dirty in the eyes of many, who could be moved out of Stamford Bridge in the next year or two.
9 Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal has had winger Alexis Sanchez of Chile for just one full season, but most fans believe they got a great deal on the 26-year-old when they bought him for 42.5 million euros from Barcelona, especially since he’s currently valued at 55 million euros. Sanchez is under contract until June of 2018 and due to Arsenal’s annual injury woes it’s unlikely they’d unload him unless a remarkable offer was received. Barcelona had paid 26 million euros for Sanchez from Italian Serie A club Udinese in July, 2011 after he played his early years with River Plate in Argentina and Cobreloa in Chile. Sanchez has 28 goals in 87 matches with Chile and 32 goals and 16 assists in 68 appearances with Arsenal. This includes seven goals and four assist in his first 11 outings with the Gunners this season.
8 Sergio Aguero
Manchester City’s Argentine international striker Sergio Aguero has scored some huge goals for the club, including the Premier League title-clincher with just seconds to go in the 2013/14 season. However, he’s injury prone and that may have hurt his transfer value. The 27-year-old is currently rated at 60 million euros and is signed until June, 2019. He’s scored 32 goals in 69 matches for Argentina, but has appeared in just 11 outings with City this season. Still, he has 8 goals and 1 assist in those matches. Man City paid 45 million euros to Atletico Madrid for his services in July of 2011 and the Spanish side originally acquired him from Independiente for 21.7 million five years earlier. Aguero’s value has gone up and down due to injuries. Aguero has 115 goals and 43 assists in 175 matches with Man City and had 100 goals and 46 assists in 230 games with Atletico Madrid, but he could be moved if the right offer comes along.
7 Robert Lewandowski
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich could very well be the hottest scorer in the world right now. He’s banged in 18 goals and 4 assists in 17 club outings this season including a remarkable 5 goals in 9 minutes during one game. He’s in his prime at 27-years-old and under contract until June, 2019. Lewandowski also produces internationally as he’s scored 32 times in 72 fixtures with Poland. The striker is currently valued at 70 million euros after being rated at 50 million in February. Borussia Dortmund fans were furious when Lewandowski left on a free transfer to Bayern in July of 2014 after they bought him from Lech Poznan of Poland for 4.75 million euros in July of 2010. It would take a hell of an offer for Bayern to sell Lewandowski at this point, so he’s unlikely to be going anywhere for the next couple of years.
6 Thomas Muller
German international forward Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich is a dependable scorer for both club and country. Even though he’s signed until June, 2019, he’s been linked to Manchester United in the past and has admitted that he’s finds the wages offered in the English Premier League to be quite tempting. Muller is off to a heck of a start with the reigning Bundesliga champs with 16 goals and 2 assists in 18 contests and his transfer value has risen to 75 million euros from 55 million. The 26-year-old has 31 goals in 67 games for his national squad and helped Germany capture the 2014 World Cup. He’s also tallied 136 goals and 107 assists in 321 matches with Munich, where he’s spent his entire career. Bayern will do all they can to keep Muller, but he could move from his teams and league by next summer.
5 Gareth Bale
Welsh international winger Gareth Bale set a world-record transfer fee at the time when English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur sold him to Real Madrid for 94 million euros in September, 2013. Spurs had acquired him from fellow English side Southampton for a total of 14.7 million euros in July of 2007. Bale has a pair of goals and 4 assists in six games this season and has totaled 17 goals in 50 appearances for Wales. The 26-year-old is considered a better playmaker than goal scorer, but Real fans don’t always seem to appreciate his talents. Real likely overpaid for him though since Bale was valued at just 65 million euros when he was bought. Even at his current market value, they’d lose 14 million by selling him. Bale may be under contract until June, 2019 and he’s scored 41 goals and set up another 35 in 98 appearances with Real, but he’s another player who could be moved in the near future.
4 Luis Suarez
Barcelona’s Uruguayan international striker Luis Suarez possesses two world-class talents. One is biting opponents and the other is scoring goals for his club and country. The 28-year-old is one of those players who more or less forced his team to transfer him when he was sold to Barcelona from Liverpool for 81 million euros in July of 2014. The transfer came after Suarez led Liverpool and the English Premier League with 31 goals and was named the league’s player of the year. Liverpool originally bought him from Ajax of Holland for 26.5 million euros in January, 2011 after the Dutch club had paid 7.5 million for him in 2007. While Suarez is now valued at 80 million euros in the transfer market, Barcelona bought him when his value stood at 52 million. Therefore if they sold him now they’d basically just break even. However, with 12 goals and 6 assists in 16 club matches this year, Barcelona would rather keep him, at least until his contract runs out in June, 2019.
Brazilian international forward Neymar is just 23 years old and is currently valued at 80 million euros. He’s already scored 46 times in 67 appearances for his homeland and started the 2015/15 season off with 11 goals and 7 assists in 13 matches with Barcelona. The Spanish club reportedly paid 82.6 million Euros for the talented scorer and playmaker in July of 2013. However, Spanish authorities are looking into the transfer to try to find out if the true cost of the deal was reported. Neymar’s transfer value has risen steadily since he turned pro and has jumped 20 million euros since January of 2014. There are a number of teams who’d love to acquire Neymar at his current price, but it’s doubtful Barcelona will let him go any time before his contract expires at the end of June 2018.
2 Cristiano Ronaldo
Like Messi, 30-year-old Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo is also valued at 120 million euros. There’s been a lot of speculation lately that he’ll be headed back to the English Premier League to join his former club Manchester United. The Old Trafford outfit could easily afford the fee and even though Ronaldo’s getting older he’s still one of the top two goal scorers on the planet. He’s on fire again this season with 13 goals in his first fifteen club contests and is the all-time leading scorer at Real Madrid with 326 goals in 314 matches. The three-time FIFA player of the year has also chipped in with 55 goals in 127 games for Portugal. Ronaldo moved to Man United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 for 17.5 million euros and United sold him to Real for 94 million euros six years later. Overall, Ronaldo has scored 444 goals in 607 career club contests with 82 of them coming in the Champions League, which is the most in the history of the tournament. Even though he’s signed until June, 2018, don’t be surprised if Ronaldo is moved sooner rather than later before his value slightly sags.
1 Lionel Messi
Argentine international forward Lionel Messi is arguably the best soccer player on the planet. If anybody ranks close to him it’s Portuguese international forward and captain Cristiano Ronaldo. The 28-year-old Messi is currently valued at 120 million euros and there are several clubs out there which would and could gladly handle the transfer fee. Messi has had a few injury problems lately and is in trouble with the Spanish tax authorities, but still managed to net seven goals and an assist in his first 11 club games this season. Messi’s never been transferred before since he’s spent his entire career with Barcelona. The four-time FIFA world player of the year has been valued at 120 million euros since January of 2013 and is under contract until June, 2018. Messi has 49 goals in 105 matches with Argentina and another 418 in 492 appearances with Barcelona.
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