MLS market values: Messi drops by €5m – Many downgrades at Inter Miami CF


122 players updated 

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With the Major League Soccer season in full swing, Transfermarkt has updated the market values of 122 players. In what is an intermediary update, the focus was primarily on new signings or young players that have entered the league this season. While MLS has been a major driver on the transfer market this winter, and many new signings would usually crap the headlines as part of this update, it is the league’s biggest star who will be the big focus this time: Lionel Messi. 

Market values MLS: All new market values at a glance

The 2022 World Cup winner arrived in MLS last summer and has caused significant media hype in North America and beyond. With Messi driving the sales of Inter Miami CF kits and increasing the visibility of MLS significantly, Transfermarkt decided to keep Messi at €35m as part of the November update. But the father time is also impacting the world’s greatest player and as a result, Transfermarkt has decided to decrease Messi’s market value from €35m to €30m. 

“Messi remains the MLS star and, despite his age, is still one of the best footballers on the planet,” Transfermarkt Data Administrator North America Dominic Becker said. “But age is a factor, even for Messi. He has increasingly struggled with smaller injuries, and a downgrade was impossible to avoid.” Despite the downgrade, Messi remains the most valuable over 34 players on the planet, a full €15m more valuable than the next most valuable player, Robert Lewandowski (€15m), and the most valuable player in MLS ahead of Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada (remained at €27m). Messi is also not the only Inter Miami player with a downgrade. Messi’s friends Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, both 35, have seen their market values downgraded from €3m to €2.5m, and 33-year-old defender Sergiy Kryvtsov saw his market value drop from €2m to €1.8m. 

MLS market values: The most valuable players after the March update

25. Julián Carranza | Philadelphia Union | Market value: €6m

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24. Jovan Mijatović | NYCFC | Market value: €6m

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Market value change: +€3m

23. Aaron Boupendza | Cincinnati | Market value: €6.5m

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22. Pedro de la Vega | Seattle Sounders | Market value: €6.5m

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21. Ryan Gauld | Vancouver Whitecaps | Market value: €7m

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20. Diego Rossi | Columbus Crew | Market value: €7m

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19. Liel Abada | Charlotte FC | Market value: €7m

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(Shown here in his old Celtic colours)

18. Alan Velasco | FC Dallas | Market value: €7m

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17. Luciano Acosta | FC Cincinnati | Market value: €8m

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16. Dániel Gazdag | Philadelphia Union | Market value: €8m

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15. Petar Musa | FC Dallas | Market value: €8m

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14. Evander | Portland Timbers | Market value: €8m

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13. Gabriel Pec | LA Galaxy | Market value: €8m

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Market value change: +€2m

12. Jesús Ferreira | FC Dallas | Market value: €9m

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11. Joseph Paintsil | LA Galaxy | Market value: €9.5m

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10. Sebastián Driussi | Austin FC | Market value: €10m

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Market value change: -€2m

9. Denis Bouanga | LAFC | Market value: €10m

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8. Talles Magno | NYCFC | Market value: €10m

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7. Hugo Cuypers | Chicago Fire | Market value: €11m

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6. Hany Mukhtar | Nashville SC | Market value: €12m

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5. Riqui Puig | LA Galaxy | Market value: €12m

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4. Cucho Hernández | Columbus Crew | Market value: €13m

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3. Facundo Torres | Orlando City | Market value: €14m

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2. Thiago Almada | Atlanta United | Market value: €27m

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1. Lionel Messi | Inter Miami CF | Market value: €30m

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Market value change: -€5m

MLS market values: Ups and downs at LA Galaxy – Driussi also drops 

While Messi and Almada remain at the top of the market value ranking, another Argentine star in the top ten saw his market value decrease: Sebastián Driussi. The Austin FC forward saw his market value drop by 16.7% to now €10m. The second downgrade in a row is consequential after both Driussi and Austin have struggled last season. Furthermore, at now 28 and signed to a long-term deal in Texas, Driussi is unlikely to generate a significant fee in the future, which means the trend is likely to continue downwards. 

Major League Soccer: The biggest losers of the March 2024 update

Ralph Priso | Vancouver Whitecaps FC | – 20%

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New market value: €800k

Richie Laryea | Toronto FC | – 20%

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New market value: €2m

Emiliano Rigoni | Austin FC | – 20%

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New market value: €2m

Matías Cóccaro | CF Montréal | – 20%

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New market value: €4m

Kamal Miller | Portland Timbers | – 22.2%

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New market value: €3.5m

Alexandros Katranis | Real Salt Lake City | – 23.1%

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New market value: €500k

Emanuel Reynoso | Minnesota United FC | – 23.1%

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New market value: €5m

Deandre Kerr | Toronto FC | – 25%

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New market value: €1.5m

Tai Baribo | Philadelphia Union | – 25%

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New market value: €1.5m

Diego Rubio | Austin FC | – 25%

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New market value: €1.5m

William Yarbrough | San Jose Earthquakes | – 30%

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New market value: €350k

Luis Barraza | New York City FC | – 33.3%

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New market value: €300k

Sebastián Ferreira | Houston Dynamo FC | – 50%

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New market value: €2m

Another player in the top ten with a downgrade is new Los Angeles Galaxy signing Joseph Paintsil. Signed for €8.5m from KRC Genk this winter, Paintsil was set to receive a downgrade as part of the Jupiler Pro League update. But as Becker explains, the €8.5m transfer to the Galaxy further underlined the need for an adjustment. “Paintsil has been stagnating the last little while,” Becker said. “A downgrade, especially when considering the transfer fee, was unavoidable. But his first few games in MLS have been strong. Should he be able to maintain that form, then the Ghanese star could see his market value trend back upwards,” Becker added about Paintsil, whose market value dropped from €11m to €9.5m.  

Paintsil’s new teammate, Gabriel Pec, is trending in the other direction. The Galaxy signed the Brazilian for €9.3m from Brazilian club Vasco Da Gama this January and although he is still finding his way in a new environment, Pec has highlighted that he has superstar potential. “Because of the high transfer fee, Pec’s increase in market value was necessary,” Becker said. “Should he fulfill his promise then LA Galaxy will likely be just a steppingstone club for the club’s record transfer. Players like him are really popular in Europe.” Pec’s market value increased by 33.3% from €6m to now €8m.

MLS: NYCFC signing Mijatović up by 100% – Schulte now most valuable keeper 

Also in demand in Europe is Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte. Linked to Arsenal, Man United, and Wolverhampton, Schulte’s rise has been incredible after being drafted by the Crew in 2022. “Two years ago, Schulte was still playing in MLS Next Pro, now Premier League clubs are interested in him,” Becker said. “Schulte is a prime example of how young talents can develop in MLS. Only 23, he has been crucial for the Crew and was one of the reasons for the club to win the MLS Cup last season.” Schulte’s market value doubled from €1.5m to €3m, which together with Portland Timbers’ Maxime Crépeau makes him the most valuable goalkeeper in MLS. 

Other notable market value updates include New York City FC signings Jovan Mijatović (from €3m to €8m) and Agustín Ojeda (from €3m to €5m), Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire (from €3m to €4m), Philadelphia Union’s Quinn Sullivan (from €2m to €3.5m), LAFC’s David Martínez (from €1.5m to €2.5m), new Real Salt Lake City signing Fidel Barajas (from €300,000 to €1m) and New England Revolution’s wunderkind Emsir Bajraktarević (from €850,000 to €2m). 

Major League Soccer: The biggest winners of the March 2024 update

Chris Brady | Chicago Fire | + 66.7%

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New market value: €2.5m

David Martínez | Los Angeles FC | + 66.7%

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New market value: €2.5m

Agustín Ojeda | New York City FC | + 66.7%

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New market value: €5m

Quinn Sullivan | Philadelphia Union | + 75%

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New market value: €3.5m

Samuel Adeniran | St. Louis CITY SC | + 76.5%

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New market value: €1.5m

Enes Sali | FC Dallas | + 92.3%

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New market value: €2.5m

Alejandro Bran | Minnesota United FC | + 100%

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New market value: €250k

Patrick Schulte | Columbus Crew | + 100%

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New market value: €3m

Jovan Mijatović | New York City FC | + 100%

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New market value: €6m

Esmir Bajraktarević | New England Revolution | + 135.3%

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New market value: €2m

Nicksoen Gomis | Toronto FC | + 150%

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New market value: €250k

Marino Hinestroza | Columbus Crew | + 150%

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New market value: €2.5m

Andrew Thomas | Seattle Sounders FC | + 166.7%

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New market value: €200k

Fidel Barajas | Real Salt Lake City | + 233.3%

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New market value: €1m

Fernando Álvarez | CF Montréal | + 400%

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New market value: €500k

How Transfermarkt market values work

The Transfermarkt market values are calculated, taking into account various pricing models. A major factor is the Transfermarkt community, whose members discuss and evaluate player market values in detail. In general, the Transfermarkt market values are not to be equated with transfer fees. 

The goal is not to predict a price but an expected value of a player in a free market. Both individual transfer modalities and situational conditions are relevant in determining market values. Examples of this are listed below. Transfermarkt does not use an algorithm (you can find the detailed market value definition here).


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