Southeast Asia has seen an influx of top footballing talents this decade in the form of Michael Essien, Robbie Fowler and Pablo Aimar among others proving that the clubs in the region are willing to throw their money around if need be.
The transfer budget of the ASEAN clubs have gone up considerably in recent years as more and more quality overseas stars ply their trade in leagues across Southeast Asia and some of the top clubs in the region now have very expensively assembled squads.
Here, we take a look at 10 of the ASEAN clubs with the most expensive squads, based on TransferMarkt data.
10) Persib Bandung – Indonesia Liga 1 – £3.76 million
Indonesian giants Persib Bandung stunned the football world by bringing former Chelsea and Real Madrid superstar Michael Essien to Southeast Asia in 2017. The former Ghana international midfielder might have left long ago, but the Liga 1 side still have one of the most expensive squads in ASEAN with a market value of £3.76 million. Ezechiel N’Douassel, who scored in their recent 2-0 win over fierce rivals Persija Jakarta, is the costliest player in the side with a market value of £495,000 while Dutch centre-back Nick Kuipers is the second costliest star at the club at £405,000.
9) Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC – Thai League 1 – £3.80 million
Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC, who finished eighth in the recently-concluded Thai League 1 2019 season, have the ninth most expensive squad in Southeast Asia with a value of £3.80 million. Ivory Coast forward Yannick Boli who scored 14 goals in Thailand’s top division this season is the most valued player in the Dragons squad with a value of £540,000 while South Korean star Yoo Jun-soo and Philippines international Javier Patino are behind him with a value of £450,000 apiece. The heavy spending has given Ratchaburi with a shot at a silverware as they will face Port FC in the final of the Thai FA Cup 2019 on November 2.
8) Persija Jakarta – Indonesia Liga 1 – £3.83 million
Persija Jakarta might not be having the best of seasons in the Indonesian domestic circuit, but that is definitely not because of a lack of talents at their disposal. The Kemayoran Tigers have the eighth most valuable roster in ASEAN with a squad value of £3.83 million. Former Sao Paulo and Sporting Lisbon right-back Xandao is the most expensive star in their ranks with a market value of £630,000 while forward Marko Simic has a value of £315,000. However, that hasn’t been reflected in the league position of Persija who are under their third head coach this season and sit just one point above relegation at the time of writing.
7) Suphanburi FC – Thai League 1 – £3.87 million
It has been a week during which Suphanburi FC experience both ends of the emotional spectrum as they were relegated from the Thai League 1 after finishing 14th in the 16-team league only to find out later that they will stay in the Thai top division after the disbandment of PTT Rayong FC. It’s been an extremely disappointing season for the War Elephants who splashed the cash in the transfer market on acquisitions like those of Brazilian forwards Dellatore and Cleiton Silva who are both valued at £630,000. Their total squad value is a whopping £3.87 million.
6) Bali United – Indonesia Liga 1 – £4.23 million
Here’s a side who have built a top squad and is getting the results to show for it. Bali United are currently head and shoulders above the rest at the top of the Indonesia Liga 1 table with a 10-point lead and it looks to be only a matter of time before they wrap up their first league title. Their £4.23 million-worth squad is the most expensively assembled roster in Indonesia at the moment with Iraqi midfielder Brwa Nouri the pick of the rest at £585,000. Indonesia international Stefano Lilipaly is the second most-valued side in the team with a value of £405,000.
5) Johor Darul Ta’zim – Malaysia Super League – £5.40 million
Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) FC have by far the most expensive squad in Malaysia and one of the costliest in the whole of Southeast Asia. Their roster has a value of £5.40 million with Diogo Luis Santo, acquired from Buriram United at the start of this season, the most valued star at £900,000. Natxo Insa, who is on his recovery from an injury, and Leandro Velazquez are valued at £720,000. Mauricio, who joined from Lazio, is the fourth most-valued star at £675,000. The Southern Tigers won their sixth consecutive Malaysia Super League title this season and will also face Kedah FA in the final of the Malaysia Cup 2019 on November 2.
4) Buriram United – Thai League 1 – £5.47 million
Buriram United finished a season without a major title for the first time in nine years and it is a huge disappointment for the Thai League 1 side who have a squad worth £5.47 million. Nacer Barazite is the most expensive player in the Thunder Castles squad at a value of £720,000 while Venezuelan defender Andres Tunes and Swedish forward Rasmus Jonsson both valued at £540,000. Meanwhile, Japanese defensive midfielder Hajime Hosogai is worth another £450,000. Their squad value could rise yet again with them being linked with a move for Sydney FC striker Adam le Fondre.
3) Port FC – Thai League 1 – £6.03 million
Port FC missed out on a historic Thai League 1 title falling behind champions Chiangrai United FC and Buriram in the final stages of the league campaign, but they have yet another shot at a trophy when they face Ratchaburi in the FA Cup final. Their overall squad value is at an impressive £6.03 million making them one of the three most valued sides in Southeast Asia. 33-year-old centre-forward Dragan Boskovic was the most-valued player during the recently-concluded season with a value of £630,000 while Spanish midfielder Sergio Suarez was valued at £540,000.
2) Bangkok United – Thai League 1 – £6.75 million
Thailand boasts four of the highest-valued club squads in Southeast Asia and it is True Bangkok United who come in at the second position with a value of £6.75 million. Salvadoran forward Nelson Bonilla is the costliest of stars in the Thai League 1 outfit’s squad with a value of £720,000 while former Japan international Mike Havenaar, who joined them on loan from Vissel Kobe during the season, and Vander Luiz are the second most-valued stars at £720,000 each. The Bangkok-based club finished fourth in the Thai League this season, eight points behind champions Chiangrai.
1) Muangthong United – Thai League 1 – £7.09 million
SCG Muangthong United have the most expensive squad in the whole of Southeast Asia and they are worth a huge £7.09 million. Brazilian superstar Heberty is the costliest of the stars in the Kirins squad costing £900,000 in the transfer market at present. Thailand’s veteran forward Teerasil Dangda is the second most expensive player in their squad valued at £810,000. However, an abundance of star names did not result in much success on the field for Muangthong this season as they finished their season in fifth place — 12 points behind champions Chiangrai and had no trophies to show since winning the Thai League Cup in 2017.
(All photos courtesy of respective clubs)