By George Overhill

10th Sep, 2022 | 7:43pm

Leeds United have been ranked as the 19th-most valuable football team in the world by business magazine Forbes, at the start of just their third season back in the Premier League.

The list demonstrates the financial might that being in the English top flight brings, with 11 of the 20 names coming from the same division alongside giants from Spain, Italy, Germany, and the lone French representative Paris Saint-Germaine.

Real Madrid are ranked at the top of the list with a value of $5.1billion [£4.4billion], while the highest-ranked of the English sides is old rival Manchester United in third with a value of $4.6billion [£4billion].

That is some way above the Whites who are valued at $800million [£690million] but notably Leeds are among just six teams present who are considered debt-free.

The final five places all go to Premier League clubs, with Everton, Leicester and West Ham in the three above United, and Aston Villa rounding out the 20.

Prestige

As if it needed impressing on anyone who cares about the club quite how important it was for relegation to be avoided last year this list should make it obvious.

The fact that a side who almost went down last term in Everton and one that only came up three seasons ago in Aston Villa, something that Whites fans are well aware of, beside Leeds who beat the drop on the final day and have only been back in the top flight for two years shows the might of the Premier League.

It raises questions as to why the noises coming out of the club at the end of the transfer window were that there wasn’t a lot of money to spend on a striker if it is worth so much and they had a minimal net spend having sold Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.

But above all it shows how whatever plans had been laid for the summer, the current season, and beyond, would have been completely scuttled to lose top flight status.

Jesse Marsch deserves huge credit however he is judged overall that he managed to pull off the great escape at Brentford back in May.

It also reiterates quite how monumental his predecessor Marcelo Bielsa is in the club’s history for having staged the revolution that took United back into the Premier League after so long away, although there are unlikely to be any fans who have any illusions about that already.

With a full takeover by the San Francisco 49ers mooted before 2024, and CMO Alex Chang speaking this week about the level of interest from global brands to partner with both teams jointly there is presumably an avenue that takes the club’s ranking further up this list.

If that brings further funds for use in the transfer market and avoids the kind of suspicion that has come out of the late-window messaging this year then it should be a positive development, although how this valuation might affect buy-out talks between them and Andrea Radrizzani will be interesting.

In other Leeds United news, a journalist who has seen the images says one senior player has a “seriously mashed” nose.