As a football fan, there are few more satisfying things than telling everyone how good a player is going to be and then being proven right.
A lot of the time, our ‘knowledge’ comes from signing someone on Football Manager, them doing brilliantly and then us convincing ourselves they’re definitely going to be that good in real life.
It doesn’t always work out that way, of course, as our Rob found out when Franco Di Santo moved to Chelsea and didn’t exactly replicate the sensational form he’d produced for his Sunderland team on FM08.
But at one stage or another, most of us will have briefly been able to bask in the glory of correctly predicting a player’s future success, whether it was based on our hours spent on Football Manager or from actually watching someone that stood out as being destined for bigger things.
And now, thanks to Football Index, the world’s first football stockmarket, we have the chance to make money from our knowledge. Every player on the Index has a share price, and if you buy shares in a player who is subsequently bought by enough other people, that share price will rise.
The opposite is also true and can happen if you buy shares in a player who is suddenly injured or drops out of favour with their team, but there are eight players whose values have risen by more than 200% just since the start of 2019.
Most players’ values don’t rise quite so sharply, of course, and patience can be required to see big returns, but here are the 10 players who traders will have been happiest to have as part of their portfolio so far this year.
On January 1, 2019, Saka was priced at £1.03 on the Index. But that day just so happened to be the day he made his Premier League debut for Arsenal as a late substitute in a 4-1 win at Fulham.
The winger had already made his full debut in the Europa League by that point, but a four-minute run-out in the FA Cup against Blackpool, four days after that Fulham game, proved to be his last taste of first-team action for the season.
As a result, his price barely altered in the early months of the year – it was £1.05 at the start of February, back down to £1.04 by the start of March, and still only £1.63 on September 1.
But September proved to be the month things changed as Saka made four appearances, including three from the start, and scored his first senior goal in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt.
He set up the other two goals that night in a 3-0 win, and with Unai Emery publicly praising him and talk of a new contract to come, Saka’s price had jumped to £2.93 by October 3, an increase of 184% in 10 months.
Hudson-Odoi began 2019 with his future up in the air, with only one Premier League appearance for Chelsea under his belt but Bayern Munich interested in signing him on the back of some promising performances in the Europa League.
The winger eventually handed in a transfer request as Chelsea continued to turn down offers from Bayern, while on the pitch he did his reputation no harm with two assists in the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest and then a fine goal in the same competition against Sheffield Wednesday later in the month.
It saw his price rise from £1.64 on January 1 to £2.30 on February 1, and it’s continued to rise ever since.
It was up to £4.47 on April 4 after goals in both legs of Chelsea’s Europa League win over Dynamo Kiev and a couple of Premier League appearances in March, and though it dipped a little after that, it was up to £4.77 on October 3 after he’d signed a new contract and made his return from injury in September.
Greenwood was so highly-rated at Manchester United that his price on the Index was £1.50 on January 1 despite the fact he was yet to even make his debut for the first team.
That arrived in March for the final minutes of United’s dramatic Champions League win at PSG, and by April 1 his price had already rocketed to £2.47 after a month in which he also made his Premier League debut.
His value continued to rise steadily over the summer, and his performances so far this season – he’s started three times and made six substitute appearances – have had traders rushing to buy shares in him. Indeed, after a month in which he scored his first two senior goals, Greenwood remarkably finished September as one of the top 10 most valuable players on the entire Index.
Alexander-Arnold’s rise needs no explaining, but his January 1 price of just £1.21 hints at a possible bias towards attacking players among traders.
Indeed, his price was still only £3.84 on October 3, making him cheaper than Greenwood despite the fact he’s now an established England international, Champions League winner and star for one of the best two teams in the Premier League.
Still, anyone who’s had shares in Alexander-Arnold since the start of 2019 will be content enough with a rise of 217%.
Maddison was halfway through an impressive first season at Leicester City on January 1, with three goals and two assists to his name in the Premier League.
He had seven of each by the end of the season, with his price up to £2.31 by June 1, and speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United over the summer will undoubtedly have helped push that figure up to £4.06 by September 1.
He’s started this season well, too, scoring two goals and setting up another two in seven league games, but his price on October 3 had dropped very slightly to £4.04.
Mount was on loan at Derby County on January 1, valued at just £0.95, with news yet to break that Chelsea would be banned from signing any new players in the summer to come.
That bombshell combined with Mount’s good form in the Championship, including a first senior hat-trick against Bolton in April, saw the midfielder’s value up to £1.64 on May 1.
It passed £2.00 over the summer and was £3.77 on October 3 on the back of an England debut and starts in all eight of Chelsea’s Premier League games, featuring four goals and an assist.
Another young player who’s benefitted from Chelsea’s transfer ban, Abraham was also out on loan on January 1, scoring regularly for Aston Villa on their way to an eventual promotion from the Championship.
His price was just £0.77 on January 1, but it was £1.62 come June 1 and has risen sharply from £2.20 on August 1 to £3.70 on October 3 on the back of eight goals in eight Premier League games.
The third player on the list to have moved from the Championship to the Premier League this year, James was ripping up defences with Swansea City on January 1 but priced at only £0.61.
Clearly, nobody at that stage predicted he would be playing for Manchester United come the start of the next season. Yet James has not only made the move to Old Trafford but thrived, scoring three times from his first eight Premier League appearances as one of the few bright sparks in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
James’ price rose from £1.43 to £2.01 from May 1 to June 1 as news of United’s interest broke, and by October 3 it was up to £2.95.
There are only two non-Premier League players among this top 10, but they’re the players whose values have risen most by percentage.
And Felix’s rise highlights the gains that can be made from buying shares in a player performing well outside of Europe’s major five leagues.
He was priced at just £0.75 while with Benfica on January 1, but 13 of his 15 Primeira Liga goals came in the second half of the season as big clubs began to take serious interest.
A Europa League hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in April helped push his price up from £2.37 to £3.58 by May 1, and a £113million transfer to Atletico Madrid over the summer unsurprisingly saw it rise again. On October 3 he was valued at £4.15, a rise of 454% since January.
The hype around Odegaard was huge when Real Madrid signed him from Stromgodset in January 2015, but he made just one La Liga appearance in his first 18 months in Spain, as a substitute on the final day of the 2015-16 season.
He built up his experience out on loan in the Netherlands with Heerenveen and Vitesse, though, and in July 2019 he agreed another loan move but this time to Real Sociedad in La Liga.
That helped his price up from £0.41 on January 1 to £1.08 on June 1, and some excellent form for the Basque club in September saw his price suddenly skyrocket again from £1.97 at the start of the month to £3.30 on October 3.
And with clubs around Europe allegedly interested and Real said to be considering recalling him early, there’s every chance Odegaard’s rise is only just beginning.
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