Market values MLS: Lionel Messi impact sees Inter Miami set a new benchmark
Just a few days after Lionel Messi won his first trophy with Inter Miami CF, Transfermarkt has updated the market values of 856 Major League Soccer players. Although Messi remains unchanged after winning the Leagues Cup, his impact on his new club goes beyond the first trophy. Although there were also some downgrades, overall, ten Inter Miami players saw their market value increase, and the club’s squad value has gone up from €83.8 million to €90.8m ($98.5m), the highest in MLS history (all new squad values at a glance).
Inter Miami are, therefore, the first club to come close to the $100m mark. Whether the club from Florida will manage to reach the 100 million milestone remains to be seen. After all, Messi’s market value of €35m makes up a big portion of the club’s squad value. The Argentine scored ten goals in seven Leagues Cup games and was one of the main reasons for the title. That, together with the fact that he is the highest-paid player in the league, means Transfermarkt decided to leave his market value untouched for now.
“We have decided to confirm Lionel Messi’s market value one more time,” Transfermarkt Data Administrator North America Dominic Becker said. “The Argentine superstar has dominated the headlines since he arrived in the league. But Messi has more than fulfilled the high expectations placed on him, and it doesn’t look like he is here to see out his career in comfort.”
Thiago Almada up by 35% - Three Argentines now in the top 3
While Messi remains the most valuable player in MLS, two more Argentines round up the top three. Without the arrival of Messi, Thiago Almada would have broken the record for the most valuable player in MLS history. The league’s first-ever World Cup winner, Almada, has scored eight goals and nine assists in 21 MLS games this season. Atlanta United have been mostly average this season and, without Almada, would be unlikely to challenge for a playoff spot this season.
“Almada’s development has been impressive,” Becker said. “It is not without good reason that he was nominated late for the World Cup squad, which ended up winning the title. Despite being just 21, he is already a complete playmaker. Not only does he provide assists, but he also scores goals and is dangerous from set pieces. European top teams like Arsenal and Napoli have shown interest, and a transfer to a team is only a question of time.” Indeed, Atlanta want in the region of €30m for Almada. Such a transfer would make the 22-year-old the most expensive transfer in MLS history, ahead of former Atlanta star Miguel Almirón.
With Messi on top - The most valuable MLS players (August 2023)
Rounding up the top three is Austin FC forward Sebastián Driussi. The Argentine remains unchanged at €15m but is now the sole third most valuable player after New York City FC attacking midfielder Talles Magno saw his market value drop by 20% from €15m to €12m. The Brazilian, just like his entire team, has been unable to confirm his strong performances from last season and remains a player whose rise and fall in market value reflects a lack of consistency.
Riqui Puig, Facundo Torres on the up - Big reshuffle among top 5
Despite the drop, Talles Magno remains in the top five. But he has to share that position with Los Angeles Galaxy star Riqui Puig. The Spaniard has been playing an outstanding season for a Galaxy side that has gotten off to a very slow start and now has a mountain to climb to make the playoffs. Although, at first glance, Puig’s three goals and four assists in 21 games aren’t super impressive, it is the Spaniard’s underlying numbers that make him one of the most exciting players in the league.
“Riqui Puig is currently the Galaxy’s most important player,” Becker said. “Puig is the vocal point of any game he is involved in. You sense that leaving Europe has liberated him and has given him the freedom to express himself on the pitch. Should his development continue, Puig will sooner or later return to Europe.” Puig’s market was increased by 50% to €12m. The Spaniard is now in a group behind three players with a market value of €14m.
With Patrick Agyemang - The biggest winners of the MLS update (August 2023)
Market value: €1.5m
Market value: €600k
Market value: €175k
Market value: €2m
Market value: €600k
Market value: €250k
Market value: €500k
Market value: €2m
Market value: €1m
Market value: €500k
One of those players is Facundo Torres, whose market value is up by 40% to €14m. Torres is one of the most exciting players in the league and has been frequently been linked with a move to Europe. Torres has received offers from the likes of Arsenal, and it will be interesting to see whether Orlando City can hang on to the player, who has scored eight goals and three assists in 21 MLS regular season games.
Toronto FC stars Insigne & Bernardeschi drop - Rossi downgraded as well
While Puig saw his market value increase once again, some older stars saw their values drop. Among them are Toronto FC stars Lorenzo Insigne (-€4m to €8m) and Federico Bernardeschi (-€2m to €6m) and MLS returnee Diego Rossi (-€2.5m to €7m). Toronto’s Italians have struggled to fulfill the high expectations placed on them, and in Rossi’s case, the new market value is a reflection of the fee paid by Columbus Crew to Fenerbahce.
How Transfermarkt market values work
The Transfermarkt market values are calculated, taking into account various pricing models. A major factor is the Transfermarkt community, whose members discuss and evaluate player market values in detail. In general, the Transfermarkt market values are not to be equated with transfer fees.
The goal is not to predict a price but an expected value of a player in a free market. Both individual transfer modalities and situational conditions are relevant in determining market values. Examples of this are listed below. Transfermarkt does not use an algorithm (you can find the detailed market value definition here).