Do the players with the biggest transfer fees always attract the most shirt sales from fans? We take a look at the most popular Premier League players sold on Sportsdirect.com, to find out how a fan decides the player they put on the back of their shirt.|
The world’s most expensive footballer has also been the most popular with football fans so far this season. Following his departure from Manchester United to join Juventus in 2012, he has become one of the world’s best midfielders with Manchester United having to pay around £96 million to re-sign the Frenchman they let go for just £800,000.
Zlatan Ibrahimović was quoted as saying that it did not matter how much they paid for Paul Pogba, as his shirt sales would cover the bill. While Zlatan has to make do with second place the Red Devils have dominated the overall sales with seven of the top 20 players playing for United.
It looks as if Manchester United’s decision to spend big to attract top players has paid off, with Pogba and Ibrahimovic returning a large chunk of the clubs summer transfer fees with their shirt sales.
|Alexis Sanchez |
Alexis Sanchez’s and Mesut Ozil’s appearances in third and fourth spot respectively mean Arsenal are well represented in the top ten, with both players being key to Arsenal’s second place finish last season.
New signings Granit Xhaka and Lucas Perez do not make the top ten list despite fetching a combined price tag of around 47 million. It may show that fans are more confident in purchasing shirts of players who have already had a good season. It will be interesting to see how the new signings settle in and if they can break the top ten next year.
Two Liverpool players feature in the top ten with Coutinho appearing in fifth place and new signing Sadio Manè making a suprise appearance in seventh. Manè joined from Southampton for a fee of around £35 million in the summer and his boost in sales may be due in part to the excellent start he has made during his short time at the club.
Interestingly Jurgen Klopp signed a total of six players in the summer and Manè outsold all of them. He even outsold Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and club captain Jordan Henderson, further showing how quickly Liverpool fans have taken to the Senegalese forward.
|David de Gea|
Trends in shirt sales suggest attacking players generally sell more shirts than defenders and goalkeepers, but the Manchester United goalkeeper is one player that contradicts this.
Ranked in sixth place overall, his popularity as a goalkeeper is confirmed even further with the next most popular goalkeeper Petr Cech sitting twenty eight places behind him in 34th place.
Dimitri Payet has seen big sales growth following an excellent season in 2015/16. West Ham broke many club records last season, including the most points in a Premier League season with 62, as well as the most goals scored in a single season with 65.
It could be argued Dimitri Payet was a key part of West Ham’s success, as he scored or assisted 21 of these goals. He also followed up those performances in France, with an excellent display at Euro 2016.
The fact Payet only made the top ten following an excellent season shows a players form can also play a huge part in the shirt football fans select to buy.
Eden Hazard features as the ninth most popular player despite a rather mediocre season by his high standards. Chelsea fans must remember the equalising goal he scored against Tottenham, to secure the Premier League title for Leicester City.
Surprisingly only one English player makes the top ten with Marcus Rashford featuring tenth on the list. Interestingly no players who started a game for England at Euro 2016 have featured in the top ten. This means popular England players including Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane miss out.
Marcus Rashford also makes the list just eight months after making his Manchester debut. It means that after just a short time in the limelight, he has already captured the heart of many United fans.
Last season Wayne Rooney was the most popular Manchester United player in regard to shirt sales. With the arrival Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimović, alongside the rise of youngster Marcus Rashford, could it mean Rooney's popularity with fans is decreasing?
|The Top 20|
Below are all the players who made the top 20.
1.Paul Pogba 2. Zlatan Ibrahimović 3. Alexis Sanchez 4.Mesut Ozil 5. Philippe Coutinho 6. David de Gea 7. Sadio Manè 8. Dimitri Payet 9. Eden Hazard 10. Marcus Rashford 11. Anthony Martial 12. Sergio Aguero 13. Wayne Rooney 14. Harry Kane 15. Granit Xhaka 16. Kevin De Bruyne 17. N’Golo Kante 18. Roberto Firmino 19. Henrikh Mkhitaryan 20. Aaron Ramsey.
Out of the top twenty most popular players, six were new summer signings and this includes the two top sellers overall.
To conclude, if you’re going to be wearing your club shirt in public and at matches, you need a guarantee that the player is going to be one of the clubs best players throughout the season. From what we have seen in this year’s shirt sales it seems transfer fees, player reputation and previous performances at the club play the biggest role in what name appears on the back of a fans shirt. This shows in regards to shirt sales at least, what a player does on the pitch is just as important as how much they cost.
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