The end of the Golden Generation according to the figures: not a single Belgian left in the top 100 of largest transfer values


It doesn’t say everything, it is a bad sign. For the first time in ten years, there is no longer a single Belgian in the top hundred of footballers with the highest transfer value. Or how objective stats show that the ‘Golden Generation’ is on its very last legs and is not worth much gold anymore.

Koen Van Uytvange

It is CIES Football Observatory, an independent research body based in Switzerland, which has been listing players with the highest transfer value in Europe’s major leagues since 2013. The presence of the Red Devils was a permanent fixture in this. Eden Hazard was even fourth in 2013 and 2014, but Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois were also among the regulars of the most expensive players to pick up.

Today, Erling Haaland is at the top (245 million), ahead of Real Madrid sensation Vinicius Junior (196.3 million) and Arsenal striker Bukayo Saka (195.8). There is no trace of a Belgian in the top hundred. No Lukaku, De Bruyne or Courtois? How is that possible? CIES uses its own data model, based on age, contract duration, performance, playing minutes, and therefore has nothing to do with the German Transfer marketwhich measures ‘market values’. CIES measure their price should they be transferred today.

© UEFA via Getty Images

Every absentee has his story. Youri Tielemans was in it two years ago, but he has now left Leicester free of transfer. Like Eden Hazard, for whom end of career is not excluded, Tielemans can therefore be obtained ‘free’. Nevertheless, he does not have the performance – his Leicester is relegated – to be in the top hundred.

The fact that Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne are also missing has everything to do with their age. Yes, still at the peak of their abilities, but both have been for 31 years. As a result, their price drops. The only thirty-somethings in the top hundred are Liverpool player Mo Salah (30) and Alisson Becker (30). Courtois and De Bruyne undoubtedly fall just outside and are worth less than 53 million according to CIES – the lower limit of the most expensive hundred.

© Pool via REUTERS

Difficult year Doku

What about that other Champions League finalist, Romelu Lukaku? Also slowed down by injuries for thirty years and this season. The latter also applies to Jérémy Doku, in the list in 2021 with a transfer value of 65.4 million euros. Provided he had an injury-free season, he would have been in it. Charles De Ketelaere has not been able to boost his value at AC Milan either. And Everton giant in the making Amadou Onana? He is also not counted among the hundred by the objective data.

Is the Golden Generation Over? No, not yet, but the gold price no longer represents the Devils. The absolute toppers are gradually getting older. Their successors have either had a difficult season or are just not at that level that they are already counted among the most expensive children of the gods. That has changed in the past ten years.

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