English Premier League clubs are accustomed at paying astronomical sums of money to sign players. That has increasingly become the case since the league’s inception in 1992, whereby the transfer fees paid by clubs have grown markedly.
Specifically in the inaugural season of the Premier League, Blackburn bought Alan Shearer from Southampton for approximately £3.5m to set a new British record transfer fee. Almost exactly 24 years on, that figure now stands at £55m, which Manchester City paid Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.
Subsequently De Bruyne would automatically earn a place in a team of the most expensive players currently playing in the Premier League. In order to form that it is nonsensical to simply list the eleven most expensive players, since that would create an extremely unbalanced team.
As such to avoid that it is necessary to not only consider the most expensive players but also the positions which they play. Subsequently by doing that in a subjective but logical manner enables the development of the current most expensive Premier League XI outlined below, with a 4-2-3-1 formation selected since it was found to be the one most commonly used by Premier League teams during the 2014-15 season, when Opta last published findings on the popularity of formations among Premier League teams.
David De Gea (Man United) £17.5m
Glen Johnson (Stoke) £18.5m – Nicolas Otamendi (Man C) £31.7m – Eliaquim Mangala (Man C) £31.8m – Luke Shaw (Man U) £30m
Fernandinho Luiz Roza (Man City) £35m – Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) £35m
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) £55m – Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) £44.5m – Raheem Sterling (Man City) £49m
Sergio Aguero (Man City) £38m
It is worthy to note that Glenn Johnson earned his place in the current most expensive Premier League XI by virtue of his £18.5m transfer from Portsmouth to Liverpool, which took place in 2009. Since then it is estimated that the highest fee paid for a right back by a Premier League club is the £12.7m that Manchester United paid Torino for Matteo Darmian last summer.
On the basis of transfer fees reported both in the media and by clubs themselves, the total cost of the current most expensive Premier League XI devised is in the region of £375m, with Manchester City being by far and away the most represented club.
Ultimately some of the most expensive players currently playing in the Premier League, such as Anthony Martial (Manchester United – £36m), Juan Mata (Manchester United – £37.1m) and Sadio Mane (Liverpool – £34m) have been omitted from the team, for the sake of ensuring that it is well balanced in terms of each position in the 4-2-3-1 formation being occupied by a suitably equipped player.
The latest addition to the team is Granit Xhaka, as the 23-year-old Swiss internationalist joined Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach for £35m earlier this summer to become the most expensive holding midfield player in world football.
Therefore Xhaka, along with each of the other players named, are likely to play key roles for their respective teams during the 2016-17 Premier League season, which is due to get underway on 13 August.