By Lewis Wiseman

The Premier League is one of the best, if not the best, league in the world. With its big transfers, the best players in the world, high-profile managers and ludicrous salaries, these combined factors ensure the competition lives up to this kind of reputation.

But what would happen if that was to change? What would happen if The Football Association introduced a salary cap on teams in the league? I thought it would be interesting to consider which players at each club would become marquee players.

There a number of leagues around the world that enforce a salary cap, including an extremely strict one in Australia’s Hyundai A-League. The salary cap Down Under is set to instil competitive balance within the league, allowing clubs to have only two marquee players who are outside of the cap.

To apply that to the Premier League may seem ridiculous, but there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of hypothetical speculation. In the A-League, marquee players are more often than not foreign players who will not only bring value to the pitch with quality football, but will also generate greater interest off the pitch from fans, which in turn helps increase clubs’ revenues.  

Here, we’ve compiled a list of who I believe would be each club’s two marquee players, and a few reasons as to why they would be.

AFC Bournemouth

Nathan Ake: Stalwart in defence and a Dutch international. He’s wanted by a lot of bigger clubs and is a crowd favourite.

Joshua King: Another star player for the Cherries, the Norwegian is a regular contributor to goals and assists. Callum Wilson came close but as King is a foreigner, he brings more value and marketability to the club.

Honourable mentions: Jefferson Lerma, Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: The main man for Arsenal; current club captain and a proven goal scorer. An easy pick really.

Nicolas Pepe: He was their big money signing this season after arriving following a good season in Ligue 1 with Lille. Despite not living up to his price tag just yet, he has brought the club a lot of publicity and shirt sales.

Honourable mentions: David Luiz, Mesut Ozil, Bernd Leno

Aston Villa

Jack Grealish: Club captain, a boyhood Villa fan and he loves the club. Perfect marquee player. Even though he is English, he has to be a marquee.

Wesley: New Brazilian striker who has played every game this season. Highly rated and has plenty of potential.

Honourable mentions: John McGinn, Trezeguet, Douglas Luiz

Brighton & Hove Albion

Pascal Gross: Has created the most chances for the Brighton squad this season and is one of a few players at the Seagulls who is a consistent attacking player.

Matthew Ryan: Fan favourite with Brighton and Australian fans alike. It is rare to have a marquee player as a goalkeeper, but Ryan brings so much both on and off the pitch.

Honourable mentions: Aaron Mooy, Neal Maupay, Leandro Trossard, Glenn Murray 


Ashley Barnes: Gets goals, fits Burnley’s tactic to a tee, fan favourite and an old-fashioned striker. Having played for Austria’s U20s, he’s recognisable on a global scale.

Chris Wood: Same as above, except Wood is from New Zealand.

Honourable mentions: Johan Gudmunsson, James Tarkowski


N’Golo Kante: A Premier League winner with Chelsea and Leicester City, the Frenchman truly is a world-class player and is widely regarded as one of the most likeable guys in the league. Ideal marquee player.

Cesar Azpilicueta: Current club captain, he’s won numerous trophies as a player, is versatile on the pitch and is well-liked by Chelsea fans.

Honourable mentions: Marcos Alonso, Jorginho, Willian, Pedro


Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha: Arguably the best player outside of the top six Premier League clubs, extremely marketable and offers good returns on the pitch.

Luka Milivojevic: Criminally underrated central midfielder who contributes with goals and defensive efforts, the Serbian international is a fans’ favourite at Selhurst Park.

Honourable mentions: Patrick Van Aanholt, Gary Cahill, Andros Townsend



Richarlison: Everton’s top goal scorer this season and last, the Brazilian international is known on a global scale and is a player who can change any game.

Andre Gomes: Everton’s most creative player, and a product of SL Benfica’s infamous youth academy, Gomes has a good knowledge of the game and is extremely well liked amongst the Everton community.

Honourable mentions: Jordan Pickford, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne, Alex Iwobi


Leicester City

Jamie Vardy: It has to be Vardy. He gives the club everything they would need in a marquee player. Scores goals, is well-liked, has a fantastic story and is very entertaining.

Ricardo Pereira: Might seem an unusual pick, but he contributes on the pitch and off it. Has four goals and seven assists from fullback in the Premier League (as of mid-December) and is an Portuguese international.

Honourable mentions:  James Maddison, Kaspar Schmeichel, Wilfred Ndidi


Virgil Van Dijk: The best defender in the world and the runner-up of this year’s Ballon D’or, Van Dijk has helped Liverpool to where they are now and if you want to keep a player of that calibre at the club, you make them a marquee player.

Mohamed Salah: One of the best attacking players in world football right now and seems like a genuinely good guy off the pitch. Real marquee player material.

Honourable mentions: Sadio Mane, Alisson, Fabinho, Andrew Robertson, Roberto Firmino

Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne: It could be argued that the Belgian is the best midfielder in the world and any big club would snap him up if he wasn’t a marquee player at Manchester City. There’s clearly plenty of high-quality years of football left in him also.

Sergio Aguero: A club legend who is one of the most consistent Premier League strikers of the modern era, Aguero scores goals for fun, but on top of that, is also very marketable for the club.

Honourable mentions: Aymeric Laporte, Ederson, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling

Manchester United

Paul Pogba: When on the pitch, he is one of the best midfielders in the world. Off the pitch, meanwhile, he also happens to be one of the most marketable players around. Paul Pogba, in essence, is the definition of a marquee player.

David De Gea: A true Manchester United legend. The start of his United career was shaky, but now is one of the saving graces in what’s been a lacklustre few years. A world-class goalkeeper.

Honourable mentions: Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial 

Newcastle United

Allan Saint-Maximin: New signing that was brought in to give the Magpies a creative spark, Saint-Maximin is known for his flair and dribbling ability and has definitely been part of most advertising campaigns for Newcastle this season.

Miguel Almiron: Brought in off the back of impressive seasons in the MLS where he was a marquee/designated player, fitting really. He hasn’t shone on the pitch at Newcastle yet, but he is one of the big money players at the club so would naturally be classed as a marquee player.

Honourable mentions: Jetro Willems, Jonjo Shelvey, Fabian Schar 

Norwich City

Teemu Pukki: Pukki party! The club’s talisman in the Premier League this season has been a shining light in the side, and is definitely a club favourite.

Emiliano Buendia: An awkward decision here, as Norwich have built a solid squad rather than a team with superstars. Buendia however, is a creative spark and an exciting player who would fit the marquee role.

Honourable mentions: Ralf Farhman, Onel Hernandez

Sheffield United

Lys Mousset: Brought in this season to bolster the Blades’ attack. Mousset is young and will develop a lot more, for now though he seems the side’s best striker.

John Lundstram: Club favourite and out of the Blades’ current squad, he has worked the hardest to get to the Premier League. A true gritty midfielder who has performed well this season.

Honourable mentions: Oliver Norwood, Callum Robinson


Danny Ings: Was signed to score goals and score goals he has. One of only a few English marquee players on this list, Ings is pivotal to this Southampton side’s success.

Oriol Romeu: A graduate of FC Barcelona’sLa Masia’ academy, keeps the Southampton midfield solid from his defensive work. Quite well known in Spain and England giving the club a marketability within this player.

Honourable mentions: James Ward-Prowse, Moussa Djenepo, Soufiane Boufal

Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane: Easy pick. If the salary cap started tomorrow and Tottenham didn’t lock Kane down as a marquee, every other club would have him. A goal scorer, popular amongst the players and a fans’ favourite - perfect.

Son Heung-Min: He’s in a great run of form in his career and is one of the club’s best players. He’s incredibly popular in Asia, particularly his native South Korea, which is a huge market that Spurs could tap into.

Honourable mentions: Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Hugo Lloris



Abdoulaye Doucoure: Strong, hardworking and links defence to attack. Doucoure is one of Watford’s best players and is worthy of a marquee contract.

Gerard Deulofeu: Another La Masia graduate on this list, Deulofeu’s creativity and attacking flair makes him a good player, whilst his style and personality off the pitch would naturally suit a marquee role.

Honourable mentions: Troy Deeney, Roberto Pereyra

West Ham United

Felipe Anderson: Another great player from outside the top six clubs, Anderson has experience in Serie A and has stepped up to the testing demands of the Premier League since his move from Lazio in 2018. The fans appreciate him, and he has represented Brazil twice as well.

Sebastian Haller: Brought in this season to score goals, but hasn’t quite lived up to expectations as of yet. He has good pedigree and has represented France at every junior level.

Honourable mentions: Andriy Yarmolenko, Declan Rice, Manuel Lanzini


Wolverhampton Wanderers

Ruben Neves: A UEFA European Championships winner with Portugal, Neves boasts a very mature head for a younger player, and is a definite starter in the side. Must be a marquee player, the fans love him.

Raul Jimenez: Has cemented himself in recent times as a Premier League striker, his native Mexico also has a big football following which helps his cause to be a marquee player.

Honourable mentions:  Joao Moutinho, Adama Traore, Rui Patricio