The MLS will return to action this weekend with an exciting new season. The 2021 championship brings the inaugural campaign for expansion side Austin FC, in a year in which 27 teams will be looking to dethrone Columbus Crew

On its 26th anniversary, the best soccer competition in the US will be having great superstars throughout the league as it keeps improving each year. There were some impressive signings in preseason, such as Brazilian wonderkid Brenner to Cincinnati, or Argentinian promising midfielder Santiago Sosa with Atlanta United.

Ahead of the new campaign that is about to kick off, here we'll take a look into the eleven players who have the highest market values, with the figures provided by TransferMarkt. Probably you'll be impressed to see some big names missing this list, like Chicharito Hernández, Blaise Matuidi, and the newcomer Alexandre Pato. However, it's time to check out who these players are. 

11. Brenner - FC Cincinnati

Market Value: €9 million

Brenner is an exciting addition to the MLS (Getty).

Arguably the most interesting signing in preseason, FC Cincinnati secured a great forward by bringing in the Brazilian striker who dazzled with giants Sao Paulo recently. Brenner only has 21 years of age but heads to the MLS after an incredible breakthrough year with his former team. 

He scored 22 goals in 38 games with the Tricolor, and landed to Cincinnati with a $15 million transfer fee. Those figures speak a lot about the potential Brenner has, and he could be a great boost for the league this season.

10. Alan Pulido - Sporting Kansas City

Market value: €9 million

The Mexican Alan Pulido is Sporting KC's greatest star (Getty).

The Mexican was a great addition to the MLS after being signed from the Liga MX, where he had an extremely successful spell between Tigres and Chivas. His market value has been rising since he moved to Kansas City, where he netted seven times in 14 games.

Alan Pulido is about to take part in his third campaign in the US, and if he keeps with such form, his current value probably will keep on increasing. Meanwhile, he is a great asset for the Mexico national team as well.

9. Lucas Zelarayán - Columbus Crew

Market value: €10 million

Lucas Zelarayan lifted the 2020 MLS Cup with Columbus (Getty).

The Argentine heads to a new year in the MLS after being crowned with Columbus Crew in great fashion. He provided four goals in 2020 regular season and was influential to help his team lift the trophy with a brace in the final.

Zelarayán was acquired from Tigres UANL already as a proven great offensive midfielder, and he showed his signing was worthy. Columbus already earned a trophy with him on the pitch, and at his 28 years of age, 'El Chino' is prepared to keep with his great performances. 

8 - Rodolfo Pizarro - Inter Miami

Market value: €10 million

Inter Miami and Pizarro seek a great season this year (Getty).

Pizarro was one of the first big signings from David Beckham's Inter Miami for the team's inaugural season. The Mexico international player was granted the No. 10 as soon as he arrived, but neither he or his teammates found consistency in a year with ups and downs for Inter. 

However, he remains one of the best in the league, and 2021 may be the opportunity for him to bounce back. It should be a better campaign for South Florida's side, who are eager to improve last year's results.

7 - Ezequiel Barco - Atlanta United

Market value: €10 million

Under Heinze, Barco can have a fantastic season (Getty).

It's no surprise to find this talented Argentinian star among these players. From the very first moment in which he stepped into the MLS, there were high expectations with Barco. Having made his breakthrough as a pro with only 16 years of age in local giants Independiente, he was set to have a bright future in this sport. 

The currently 22-year-old has amassed 12 goals and 12 assists in 80 games with Atlanta United. Due to his age, his market value could be even higher. This season may see him climb places in this list.

6 - Gonzalo Higuaín - Inter Miami

Market value: €10 million

A world-class player, Higuain can lead Inter to a good run this year (Getty).

Arguably the biggest superstar in the MLS, Gonzalo Higuaín became Inter Miami's top figure as soon as he joined them. Despite Pipita struggled to score for some games, he immediately showed the skills that allowed him to build an outstanding career.

With 33 years of age, the Argentine will enter his second year in this league, where he will probably make his retirement in the future. The superstar who featured for Real Madrid, Napoli, Juventus, among others, carries Inter's hopes of recording a great season.

5 - Emanuel Reynoso - Minnesota United

Market value: €10 million

Bebelo Reynoso is Minnesota's star (Getty).

Signing 'Bebelo' was a great call by Minnesota. The midfielder wasn't having too much playing time at Boca Juniors, and that meant a lot of talent wasted. Fortunately for him, the MLS welcomed Reynoso to prove his level.

He still has many years of career ahead, with only 25 years of age. Even though he wasn't on target very much up to now, Reynoso showed what a playmaker he can be and provided several assists in his first season in 2020.

4 - Alejandro Pozuelo - Toronto FC

Market value: €12 million

Pozuelo was a great addition to fulfill Giovinco's place (Getty).

Despite having to leave Europe, moving to the MLS was a boost in the Spaniard's career. Alejandro Pozuelo found his place in Toronto, and he instantly had a great impact in the league. His first year's stats were impresive - 12 goals and 7 assists in 30 matches. 

But it was in his second year when his performances earned more recognition. Pozuelo was named the MLS MVP in 2020, a deservedly won award for his appearances with TFC. 

3 - Josef Martínez - Atlanta United

Market value: €14 million

Josef Martinez, a goalscoring machine (Getty).

The Venezuelan striker's way to stardom in the MLS was instantaneous. Needless to say, Josef Martínez is one of the best players in the entire league. His astonishing goalscoring record speaks by itself - 90 goals in 105 games with Atlanta United. 

He was the season top scorer in 2017-18 season being 31 times on target and earning the MLS MVP award. Moreover, he broke a record by netting in 15 succesive league games. With him in the attack, Atlanta don't need to be concerned about scoring, Martínez always finds the net.

2 - Carlos Vela - Los Angeles FC

Market value: €15 million

Carlos Vela, LAFC's hero (Getty).

Obviously we were going to find this guy among the top places in the ranking. The 32-year-old had everything to succeed in Europe, where he performed for more than 200 games with Real Sociedad following a spell with giants like Arsenal. 

Carlos Vela became a MLS figure from his very first season, in which he scored 14 times in 28 matches. The following year, the Mexican superstar received the MVP award. Just check out his stats in 2019: 34 goals in 31 games! Overall, he was on target 62 times in 80 appearances with LAFC. And that record explains by itself why he is such a big name in the competition.

1. Diego Rossi - Los Angeles FC 

Market value: €20 million

Rossi scores and fans go wild (Getty).

The Uruguayan's market value is much higher than the figures we've read before. Well, not only his skills and his age explain those numbers, but his incredible scoring abilities do so as well. After 102 matches with LAFC, Rossi netted 53 times, and he provided 21 assists.

That's an amazing record for a left winger. The 23-year-old was a great prospect that the MLS brought in and rised to be no longer a promising talent but a superstar in the league, who is also part of his country's national team and is expected to become the competition's most expensive outgoing transfer someday.