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Who would be most valuable in an IPL style auction of Premier League players? Part One: Top 40

Cricket’s Premier club competition, the Indian Premier League used a player auction to assign the available players to each team. Each side has the same budget so the true test of player recruitment is how to prioritise what you spend most of your money on. Do you go for a few stars and some decent others or look to balance it all out?

With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to imagine a scenario where the Premier League assigned players in an auction to see who would be most valuable. I am working on the basis that each player is then contracted to their club for a significant time period. It isn’t as simple as a list of the Top 40 players in the league however.

When compiling this list I considered what would make for the best investments. This took in to account the player’s quality primarily, added to age, injury history, and position importance. An injury prone 32 year old Left back is not as valuable as a 21 year old striker for example. There is intrinsically less value in older players as you may only have them for a couple of years where you could have a young player for a decade. For this reason, the likes of Lampard, Ferdinand and Terry have missed the cut. I’ve taken all players registered to Premier League clubs.

Starting from the 40th ranked player I will work up to the number one over three parts and explain why each player is ranked where he is.

40 – Ashley Cole Still the best left back in the league but at 32 he would be a short term, albeit high quality, investment.
39 – Andy Carroll It might be a surprise to see Carroll ranked in the top 40 but at just 24 and with plenty of physical gifts he would be a desirable asset in this format.
38 – Steven Gerrard Gerrard just about gets on because he is 33. However, his all around game is still of the highest quality and would give a couple of good years.

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37 – Daniel Sturridge Sturridge is a frustrating player but he has a knack of making things happen and getting amongst the goals. Attacking threat is hard to find and he would be sought after.
36 – Ashley Young Young showed at Watford and Villa that he can be relied upon to be a consistent and threatening presence in a wide forward position. He still has potential to unlock at 27.
35 – Cesar Azpilicueta The young right back has seized the right back spot at Chelsea and looks bound for plenty of future improvement. Pace, energy and enthusiasm mark him out as a valuable option.
34 – Oscar Oscar has shown that he can operate anywhere in midfield for Chelsea this season. A young player of immense technical talent, if he can add consistency and goals to his flair he could become world class.
33 – Joe Hart Hart is one of the top goalies in the league and is still only 25. He is one of 4 goalkeepers in the top 40 as keepers are in much shorter supply than outfield players and getting a good one is critical.

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32 – David de Gea De Gea has started to mature at United this year and has flashed his elite reflexes and shot stopping. He is ranked marginally above Hart as he is 4 years younger with more potential to be tapped.
31 – Sandro This might look high for Sandro but it’s with good reason. Look at what has happened to Spurs since his injury. They’ve lost the resilience that was key in the early season. He’s still only 24 and improving rapidly as a deep lying playmaker and destroyer.
30 – Phillipe Coutinho You are paying for potential and all around attacking threat with Coutinho who has flown in to action at Liverpool. He possesses fabulous technical skill with plenty of room for improvement.
29 – Yaya Toure If this seems low for Yaya there is good reason. He is closing in on 30 now and for a player who bases his game on his athleticism that is a potentially turning point age. Still, he’s an elite player who would give several years of good service.
28 – Michu Michu offers the tactical flexibility to play as a number 9 or number 10 and has shown himself to be a lethal and devastating finisher. He’s only 27 so can get plenty better.
27 – Shinji Kagawa Kagawa has had a slow start at Old Trafford due to injury but is one of the most creative players in the league. If this list was next year I would bet he would be near the top 10.

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26 – Rafael Rafael has improved in leaps and bounds this season with regular first team football. Full back wouldn’t be a high price position by and large but Rafael offers genuine attacking threat, capable of scoring 5 goals or so a year from right back. He’s also only 22.
25 – Hugo Lloris Lloris has started to show the talents that once made him the best keeper prosepct in the world. He’s only 26 so is about to hit the peak years for a goalkeeper. In this format he would be a no brainer investment.
24 – Marouane Fellaini Fellaini is a physical force of nature, capable of dominating any defence. The only reason he isn’t further up is that his best use hasn’t yet been defined.

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23 – Fernando Torres I know what you’re thinking. But even despite his struggles he’s still closing in on 20 goals this season and has the potential to be his old self. Maybe. Worth a flyer in this format.
22 – Carlos Tevez In terms of talent Tevez should be higher but this would be a risky investment and that is reflected in his ranking outside the top 20. He can score and make goals and works as hard as anyone.
21 – Pablo Zabaleta Zabaleta is the best right back in the world and in this format his leadership would be a highly valuable commodity. At 28 he is enjoyed the best form of his career and would a true plug and play option in this auction.


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Who would be most valuable in an IPL style auction of Premier League players? Part Three: The Top 10

Who would be most valuable in an IPL style auction of Premier League players? Part Two: Top 20

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