Europe's 20 most-valuable 'rookies' – including RB Leipzig starlets

Two RB Leipzig stars valued at £130MILLION, the £42m centre back who Chelsea let leave for just £18m and NOBODY from Man City or Liverpool: Stats boffins reveal Europe’s 20 most-valuable ‘rookies’

  • CIES Football Observatory have identified the most-valuable rookies in Europe 
  • RB Leipzig duo Josko Gvardiol and Dominik Szoboszlai make up the top two
  • Nuno Mendes, Marc Guehi and Barcelona sensation Gavi have also been named 
  • Here, Sportsmail takes a close look at the top 20 wonderkids named in the study 

Everyone in football is keeping an eye on the next big thing, with thousands of talent-spotters positioned all over the globe to identify budding superstars and pass on their analysis to clubs, who then make a decision to sign them or not.

And while the prices for players have reached staggering levels, the fees attached to these wonderkids also tend to be high, to an eye-watering extent. Sometimes it may be worth it, but other times these prodigies slip through the cracks.

Taking a calculated risk is part and parcel of running any club, and there are plenty of starlets catching the eye in the modern game who look destined to be on the move.

RB Leipzig wonderkid Josko Gvardiol tops a list of the most-valuable ‘rookies’ in Europe

It is no surprise, then, that CIES Football Observatory have been able to put together a list of of the most-valuable ‘rookies’ in Europe. These players are all under the age of 23 and have made their debut in a ‘big five’ league in a recent season.

At the top of the rankings, valued at just over a whopping £80m is RB Leipzig centre back Josko Gvardiol. The centre back, aged just 20, has established himself as a key stalwart for both his club and his country, Croatia. 

There are certain to be a host of potential suitors for him and, if they were to make a move for him, that switch may break the record for the biggest fee ever paid for a defender – underlining his status as one of the world’s most coveted sensations.

Dominik Szoboszlai, also of Leipzig, has been named in second by CIES Football Observatory

Coming in second place is one of his team-mates at Leipzig, Dominik Szoboszlai. He is renowned for the last-minute winner which sealed Hungary’s spot at Euro 2020, and possesses elegance in possession, quick feet and sublime technique.

The midfielder, according to the CIES stats boffins, is valued at a hefty £50.3m.

In third spot is Barcelona’s silky performer, Gavi. His club already appear to lean heavily on their youngster and, under Xavi, the youngster has been able to flourish. 

The Nou Camp has seen its fair share of sensations in the middle of the pitch, and there is a hope and expectation from fans that Gavi becomes one of their greats. While he may remain there for most of his career, he is valued at £48.9m.

Barcelona’s silky midfield performer Gavi is in third, with hopes he can become a club great

Nuno Mendes of Paris Saint-Germain and Crystal Palace centre back Marc Guehi round off the shortlist’s top five. The former, a flying full back catching the eye in the French capital, has been handed a sizeable price tag of £44.2m.

As for Guehi, Chelsea’s decision to allow him to leave appears to come back to hurt them with every passing matchday. The 21-year-old already looks at home in the rigours of the Premier League, and his £42m valuation only serves to back that up. 

Bayer Leverkusen centre back Piero Hincapie is valued in sixth, and has been dubbed as South America’s best young defender. He caught the eye in the Copa America for Ecuador, and his current club took a punt on him. Now, he is worth £35.5m.

Also making the top 10 are Jesper Lindstrom of Eintracht Frankfurt (£31.5m), Odilon Kossounou of Bayer Leverkusen (£30.4m), Stade Rennais sensation Kamaldeen Sulemana (£28.2m) and Monaco youngster Myron Boadu (£24.9m). 

Nuno Mendes, of Paris Saint-Germain, also makes the top five and is valued at around £44.2m

Kossounou and Sulemana in particular have been making waves across the continent, and it would not be a surprise to see either of them generate a big fee if they were to move on in the next transfer window. 

Not every youth product destined for greatness is a household name, however. 

The best stories in football often come from stars eyeing up the very top putting in work behind the scenes before bursting into the spotlight, desperate to show off to the world. It takes commitment and ability, but their efforts can be rewarded.

There are several notable names ranging from 11th to 20th spot on the CIES list that have already walked this very same path. 

Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi has been given a price tag of £42m by the same study

Nico Gonzalez is one of the more promising talents to break in at Barcelona, while Valentino Livramento of Southampton has proven, time and time again, that is he more than capable of terrorising defenders and attacks in the Premier League.

Ahead of them, though, is Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi. He has enjoyed success with Italy at youth level and done so with a backdrop of his country’s world-class performers dominating games in the middle of the pitch like metronomes.

Proficient in and out of possession and a threat on the break, Frattesi is destined for the big time. He also idolises Daniele De Rossi, and will hope to reach the same level. According to this study, he is valued at around £23m.

Then, Gonzalez is worth £21.8m, with Arthur Theatre of Bologna, and his price tag of £21.5m, sandwiched ahead of Livramento – whose fee may be around £19.8m. 

Southampton full back Valentino Livramento has terrorised his Premier League opponents

FC Augsburg’s Ricardo Pepi has been ranked in 15th and is valued at £19.2m, with Michael Olise of Crystal Palace next on the list at £18.7m.

Castello Lukeba, who is flourishing at Lyon, is next, and has been handed a price tag of £17.9m by CIES. Then, Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga, who joined the club from Anderlecht last summer, is 18th – and is worth £17.1m.

Finishing the top 20 are Gianluca Busio and Patrick Wimmer, of Venezia and Arminia Bielefeld respectively. The former’s value is £16.5m, while the latter’s fee is £16m.

Europe’s most-valuable ‘rookies’

Josko Gvardiol – RB Leipzig (£80.3m) 

Dominik Szoboszlai – RB Leipzig (£50.3m)

Pablo Gavi – Barcelona (£48.9m)

Nuno Mendes – PSG (£44.2m)

Marc Guehi – Crystal Palace (£41.7m)

Piero Hincapie – Bayer Leverkusen (£35.5m)

Jesper Lindstrom – Eintracht Frankfurt (£31.5m)

Odilon Kossounou – Bayer Leverkusen (£30.4m)

Kamaldeen Sulemana – Stade Rennais (£28.2m)

Myron Boadu – Monaco (£24.9m) 

Davide Frattesi – Sassuolo (£23m)

Nico Gonzalez – Barcelona (£21.8m)

Arthur Theatre – Bologna (£21.5m)

Valentino Livramento – Southampton (£19.8m)

Ricardo Pepi – FC Augsburg (£19.2m)

Michael Olise – Crystal Palace (£18.7m)

Castello Lukeba – Lyon (£17.9m)

Albert Sambi Lokonga – Arsenal (£17.1m)

Gianluca Busio – Venezia (£16.5m)

Patrick Wimmer – Arminia Bielefeld (£16m) 

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