Determinants of players value during transfer

By Asaph Mwebaze

A player’s market value is an estimate of the amount for which a team can sell the player’s contract to another team. This is determined by several factors that am going to discuss below.

Squad Status

The player could be an indispensable member of the team and could be an important first team player and that will definitely be the determining factor on how much a club can allow him to go for.

The player could also be a valued member of the squad and is capable of playing different positions on the field. He could also be a backup to the first team in the event there are injuries to first team players.

Age (16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, 36+)

By bracketing a fixed valuation on the age brackets can we surely regulate transfer fees?

The understanding in current market standards is the younger the player the higher value. Therefore, a higher transfer fee is affixed to players from the 21-25 range compared to those between 31-35. The same can be said for squad status (the higher the status, the higher the fee).

This age factor has driven many Ugandan and African football players to alter their ages in an effort to get bigger and better contracts.

Talent (Potential)

This can be measured by appearances of players in the top league of a country, and the contribution of the player therein.

Opta statistics are used in European top Leagues like the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and the Italian Serie A. In Uganda these kinds of statistics are used at a limited level by individual clubs.

  • Type A Opta rating will determine whether a player is in the top 10% performers in their positions.
  • Type B Opta rating will determine whether a player is in the top 25% performers in their positions.
  • Type C Opta rating will determine whether a player is in the top 40% performers in their positions.
  • Type D Opta rating will determine whether a player is in the top 60% performers in their positions.

This is tougher to regulate as football statistics can be subjective. How do we determine a top performing goalkeeper? For example, Denis Onyango could still play for Maroons FC and still concede a similar amount of goals to Emmanuel Akol.

How do we determine top wingers? via assists? Not necessarily as there’s so much more a player can contribute to a game. This is one area regulators can research and comply with Opta.

League Factor

The league a player plays in is important in their valuation during a transfer. In the Ugandan football pyramid, the lower the league the player plys his trade in, the lower the value of the player.

For example, Aston Villa may not be so keen to pay £12m for a Brazilian forward plying his trade for a small team in the Dutch league and yet Manchester United on the other hand would.

Playing role/position

Attacking, central wide midfielders and forwards are considered premium quality and they go for premium prices in the market.

A glance at the top transfer fees by position would suggest the goalkeeping position and defensive positions are not essentially considered an area where a team should spend plenty. Perhaps explaining why 12 of the most expensive transfers belong to either forwards or midfielders.  

Whilst there have been some anomalies with a handful of significant transfer fees paid for central defenders like Rio Ferdinand, John Stones, Virgil Van Dijk and Harry Maguire the most prominent names in the upper echelons of transfer are forwards.

In fact, Neymar’s £198 million transfer fee for his move from Barcelona to PSG eclipses that of two of the world’s most expensive defender Harry Maguire and Virgil Van Dijk combined.


Certain nationalities have notoriously had problems with adapting to the rigors of English football.

South Americans are widely thought to have trouble adapting to the British game but it is more a case of the managers doing their in-depth homework on a player’s lifestyle, and personality rather than the footballer alone to provide a measure of cost certainty that he can succeed.

Ugandan footballers lately have had trouble adopting to conditions in the Maghreb countries. Many have mentioned the language, food, culture and to an extent racial discrimination as major problems.


This is one area I feel only a handful of managers currently pay attention to especially since the exit of Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson.

A player’s value depreciates overtime as he ages and comes closer to the evening of his career. A 23-year-old prospect commands a higher price than a 33-year-old veteran who has the experience and has won everything there is in football.

Arsene Wenger is probably the shrewdest manager ever who was prepared to sell a player as he clocked his 30s even at the top of his game for a significant return.

If Steven Gerrard was under his management, he’d likely have been sold as he was turning 30 years considering Chelsea was willing to break the bank for him.

KCCA FC in Uganda reportedly spent a hefty sum of money to bring Sadam Juma from Express FC and let him run his contract out.

Image Rights

This is what a player projects to bring in merchandising sales. This is a tricky subject as merchandising sales are variable rather than fixed.

Clubs would have to release figures relating to the exact amount each player are thought to have earned for their clubs in their commercial activities. By underpinning a certain percentage, regulators could also affix a value in terms of high and low.

This could be seen with players with a big fan appeal like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.

Iconic Status

This term was derived from American agent, Scott Boras who believed a player can have an impact on a ‘franchise’ that transcends the club itself.

The club would benefit from all aspects of commercial activities, experiencing increased ticket sales, bigger TV contracts, pre-season tours etc.

Only Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi in recent times have earned ‘iconic’ status for sure. The likes of Zidane, Henry, Ronaldinho, Neymar and Mbappe are also thought to be not far behind the first group in terms of commercial activities.

The author is a CAF B licensed coach he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.

YouTube: Asaph Mwebaze Jr, Facebook: Asaph Mwebaze Jr

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