Ranking Manchester United Players Whose Transfer Values Have Moved Most in 2017
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Jose Mourinho has decisions to make in the summer over the future of some players.GLYN KIRK/Getty Images
Manchester United spent big in the summer of 2016. They have already been rewarded for this in small measure by winning the League Cup. Truthfully, of course, they had bigger prizes in mind when they brought in a player of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s quality on a free transfer, or Paul Pogba for £89m.
Jose Mourinho’s tenure brought with it many questions—what sort of football would he play, would he ever play the kids, would he be a good cultural fit for United? Not too many of those are yet answered with any certainty, but his presence has already had an impact on the transfer fees United could expect to recoup from some of their players, for better and for worse.
Bleacher Report decided to take a look at the movers and shakers. Of course, estimation is the name of the game here, but we have tried to make our estimates reasonable, using rumoured values to set as recent a baseline as possible and using similar players’ transfers and general market understanding to set the new amounts.
We have broadly speaking discounted contractual issues except where they were specifically relevant.
So, starting with those whose value has decreased the most and working up to the biggest theoretical increases, let’s take a look…
Bastian Schweinsteiger (-£7.2m)
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Bastian Schweinsteiger would surely be allowed to leave for free this summer.Rui Vieira/Associated Press
Estimated Current Value: £0
Estimated Difference: -£7.2m
Bastian Schweinsteiger could once have been considered a bargain signing for United, having arrived for just £14.4m in 2015.
However, his impact has not exactly proved that to be the case. And assuming Mourinho’s profound and obvious disinterest in having the ex-Germany international in his team, it seems fair to estimate that half of his value would have been gone by last summer.
Now, it would be a shock if he left on anything other than a free transfer. He was one of the greats of his generation, but it is clear that his best days are a long way behind him.
Wayne Rooney (-£8,400,000 in Pay off and Counting)
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Rooney’s price tag now would surely be a question of the remaining value of his contract.OLI SCARFF/Getty Images
Estimated Current Value: £0
Estimated Difference: -£8.4m in pay off and counting
Remember that caveat about not really considering contractual arrangements expect where it was really relevant?
Well, it’s really relevant here. Wayne Rooney’s transfer market value now must be absolutely negligible because of the metaphorical negative equity between his performance level and his salary. The figure of £8.4m represents 28 weeks of Rooney’s £300,000 per week salary, per the BBC.
That is approximately seven months’ worth of pay, the amount he has earned since the start of the season. Technically, that is a sort of increase in transfer value for United, in that the payoff they will have to arrange for him should he leave in the summer has gone down. But in terms of value in the transfer market? Rooney’s surely just continues to decline.
Luke Shaw (-£12m)
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Luke Shaw’s United career has stalled under Mourinho.Julian Finney/Getty Images
Estimated Current Value: £15m
Estimated Difference: -£12m
Luke Shaw is the obvious pick for a value decrease. Assuming that his impressive performances ahead of his leg-break during Louis van Gaal’s tenure would have meant his value would still have been reasonably close to the £27m for which he signed for United before Mourinho’s arrival, then a £12m drop this season seems fair.
With Memphis Depay having moved to Lyon in January for £15m, it is clear that United are in a position to extract some value for players who have struggled with them. While Shaw impressed for United more often than Memphis, Mourinho’s near-total disinterest in him likely effects the market value.
The manager has been very reluctant to rely on the England international—who would have been assumed to have been a starter before the season began—and for that reason—he has suffered the biggest drop.
Marcos Rojo (+£9m)
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Marcos Rojo’s centre-back performances have attracted some well-deserved praise.Ian Walton/Getty Images
Estimated Current Value: £25m
Estimated Difference: £9m
Marcos Rojo signed for United for £16m in 2014, though Sporting Lisbon were also given Nani’s services for a year, a valuable add-on, per the BBC.
With a couple of years’ service under his belt, and having failed to establish himself in the first team, assuming United could have got the fee minus Nani’s involvement last summer seems fair.
Now, though, having been consistently impressive—arguably, and very surprisingly United’s most consistent centre-back this season—his value has surely increased.
For a Premier League proven central-defender, £25m would arguably be a bargain, but Rojo’s injury record and occasional recklessness are factored in to the price.
Just do not buy him and ask him to play at left-back…
Juan Mata (+£15m)
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“Over there, Marcos, it’s all the people who said Jose would sell me on the cheap!”Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images
Estimated Current Value: £35m
Estimated Difference: £15m
Received wisdom suggested it was inevitable Juan Mata would move in the summer of 2016. After all, it was from Mourinho’s Chelsea that United signed the diminutive playmaker.
Squawka’s Greg Stobart gave Mata’s likely price as £20m last summer. That was always low in terms of his fundamental qualities, and was based on the idea his manager would not want him around. Mourinho’s willingness to use the player would surely have nearly doubled that by now.
After all, Mata has been integral to Mourinho’s squad, and is the second highest goalscorer behind Ibrahimovic. He has consistently contributed goals and assists to United’s cause, and added defensive rigour to his game thanks to Van Gaal and Mourinho both using him on the right flank a lot of the time.
And at 28 years old, he has an enormous amount to offer. In a world where Granit Xhaka cost Arsenal £35m, that seems a more than fair valuation for Mata.
Ander Herrera (+£20m)
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Ander Herrera’s reputation has been enhanced this season.Michael Steele/Getty Images
Estimated Current Value: £40 million
Estimated Difference: £20 million
Ander Herrera featured in Sam Tighe’s ranking of players from around the world whose value has increased this season.
“Despite the hype around Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first season at Manchester United and the excitement over Paul Pogba’s highlights (or lowlights, if you support an opposing team), their most consistently impressive player this season has been Ander Herrera.
“For whatever reason, Louis van Gaal didn’t make appropriate use of him, and it felt as if Jose Mourinho took up his post at the club thoroughly unconvinced, too. But his performances over the course of 2016-17 so far have been nothing short of stellar, and he’s probably doubled his price tag in the process.
“Last summer, he was potentially expendable. This summer? The bidding would likely start at £40 million.”
A very fair summary of a player having an excellent season.
Antonio Valencia (+£23m)
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Antonio Valencia’s performances have lit up United’s right-flank this season.Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images
Estimated Current Value: £30 million
Estimated Difference: £23 million
In the summer of 2015, United were reportedly ready to let Antonio Valencia go for just £7m, per Anthony Chapman of the Express. Nothing that happened between summer 2015 and summer 2016 would have added a great deal to that amount.
Now, though, things are very different indeed.
United’s best right-back by a mile, and in the conversation for best right-back in the Premier League, Valencia has been an all-action superstar on Mourinho’s right flank, allowing him the luxury of playing Mata on the wing, for example.
Valencia still sometimes lacks for quality of final ball, but even that is improving, with several well considered crosses having been part of his repertoire during the campaign.
Though he is 31, he is in spectacular shape, and given he can act as a full-back or wing-back, he would be an enormous asset to many of the world’s top clubs. In order to pry him away from United, they would have to spend a pretty penny. Were it not for one spectacular Armenian, bought at a bargain price, Valencia would top the biggest value growth charts.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (+£29m)
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Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been excellent for Manchester United since becoming part of the first-team.Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press
Estimated Current Value: £55 million
Estimated Difference: £29 million
Because Henrikh Mkhitaryan was reaching the end of his Borussia Dortmund contract, United managed to pick up the brilliant playmaker for £26m.
In the current market, that represents an absolute steal, and that is never more obvious than when considering how much he would go for if he moved this summer. Mourinho’s initial handling of the Armenian was confusing, and would possibly have limited his value, but since his re-emergence into the first-team it has been abundantly clear that Mkhitaryan can mix it with the world’s very best.
United look a team transformed with his speed and invention in the team. He has won goal-of-the-month at the club for three months in a row—so many times that his former Dortmund team-mate Mats Hummels made fun of him for it on Twitter.
Indeed, £55m might be a slight undervaluation in terms of what another team would realistically have to pay to pry him away from Old Trafford. He is virtually irreplaceable, one of the most important players in United’s squad.
And he is easily the player whose value has taken the biggest leap this season, because his real value was already so much higher than the amount of money he moved for.
All completed transfer values per SoccerBase.com.