The 2023 transfer market has been an eventful one. With players moving across the world to showcase their talents, it begs the question: Which soccer league has the best players?
Supporters all have opinions on the different leagues and their overall ranking. While preference plays a big part in answering this question, most will argue in favor of the English Premier League (EPL).
Certain leagues have entered the global scene due to how actively they have been recruiting talent. However, many of these leagues have a lot of work to do if they aim to be on par with the EPL.
Where Can You Find the Best Soccer Players?
There was a time in soccer history when exceptional talents were found in Spain, especially Real Madrid — making them the most successful club in Europe. However, things have changed, and anyone looking for a challenge has more often than not made their way to the EPL. Even so, there are exceptional talents in every league.
One of the factors that has supported the concentration of elite players in the EPL is the league’s structure. It is no secret that the premier league sources many of its players from other less established leagues in the world.
The level of competition in the EPL is unparalleled and is arguably the most unpredictable league in Europe. While other leagues typically have two to three big teams that dominate, the standings in England are hard to predict.
Brighton & Hove Albion finished 6th in the 2022–23 season, sealing their participation in European football for the first time in the league’s 122-year history. Comparatively, Chelsea finished the season in 12th place despite being the eighth-most-valuable soccer club in the world.
Standout Players in the EPL
There is a long list of players performing at a high level, but a few have set themselves apart. Earning a spot in the Premier League — which many believe is the most competitive league in the world— is a remarkable feat in itself.
1. Erling Haaland
Manchester City has dominated the Premier League in the last five years and achieved that with an overload of talent. Erling Haaland is arguably the best striker in the world right now, staking his claim with 36 goals in 35 appearances in his debut season with the English club. He earned the EPL Golden Boot and was also the top scorer in the Champions League.
2. Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne has evolved into an assist maestro and has been instrumental in Manchester City’s recent success. Despite struggles early in his career, the Belgian has flourished into a versatile and creative player. He is currently favored to win the 2023 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.
3. Martin Odegaard
The new-look Arsenal came very close to glory for the first time since the 2003–04 season. Martin Odegaard led the charge for the Gunners, but despite an incredible run, they fell off towards the end of the season. Nonetheless, he was the joint top-scorer for the club, equaling Gabriel Martinelli’s 15 goals.
4. Bukayo Saka
Rising star Bukayo Saka has set himself apart with consistent, top-notch performances for club and country. He had the most goal contributions for Arsenal last season, with 14 goals and 11 assists.
5. Marcus Rashford
Although Manchester United’s season did not end the way most fans would have wanted, Marcus Rashford had an exceptional campaign. The 25-year-old scored 30 goals in all competitions during the 2022–23 season.
It is worth pointing out that players like Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Junior, and Jude Bellingham have all represented different leagues spectacularly. However, the talent base in other leagues is not as concentrated.
Benefits of Playing in the EPL
Playing soccer professionally in any league is a dream come true for most. However, playing in the EPL comes with certain perks. Different leagues have different features and high points. Regardless, playing in the EPL is undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind experience.
With that said, here are some benefits of playing in the EPL:
The exposure players gain is one of the biggest perks of playing in the EPL, which is why most players look to be a part of the league. The EPL is currently the most-watched league by far.
Players benefit from the attention and exposure the league draws. Teams around the world have also seen it as an opportunity to demand more when EPL teams come looking to sign their players.
Most find that playing in the EPL offers a greater challenge than other leagues. The style of play is less expansive, which is why some players have difficulty adjusting. Players looking to improve and develop also see it as an excellent opportunity to challenge themselves.
Although Spanish teams have historically dominated Europe and the Spanish league was home to world-class talents like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo — the best soccer players currently reside in England. After combing through the different leagues, the level of overall talent in the EPL is unmatched.
However, there has been a shift in talent acquisition. The Saudi Arabian Pro League (SPL) are trying to attract talents from different leagues. Ronaldo’s transition was the catalyst as high-profile players have since accepted offers from teams in the SPL.
Other high-profile players like Karim Benzema, Neymar, Roberto Firminho, Sadio Mane, and Edouard Mendy are active players in the Saudi Pro League. Only time will tell if the SPL measures up to some of the top leagues in Europe.
For now, the EPL has some of the best players in world football, and it is still the dream of many youngsters to one day play in England at least once in their career.
Kenneth is a an avid soccer follower, fan and writer. He is a consistent follower of the sport and is a fan of Chelsea FC.