If you haven't argued for several hours with your friends about this exact question then have you really lived? The answer is no, no you haven't. You haven't lived at all.
During Everton's 2-0 win against West Ham on Saturday the thought occurred to me that the Toffees' midfield partnership of Andre Gomes (tall, dark, very conventionally handsome) and Tom Davies (not really any of those things, strong University fresher studying biochemistry at Lancaster riding a unicycle around campus vibe about him) were almost polar opposites in terms of appearance.
On one hand you have a Portuguese guy who seems better suited to frolicking about on a rowing boat in sodden white underwear all to advertise the singular delights of Dior aftershave; on the other you have a Scouse lad who, all things considered, looks as though he unironically enjoys the films of Robert Pattinson, owns an electric scooter and has, on more than one occasion, got his acoustic guitar out at a house party to play 'Mardy Bum' reasonably terribly.
What I'm saying is: they couldn't be more disparate. And that is the wonderful thing about football, that you can have two men possessing such vastly different energies play alongside each other, and even more than that, play against people like Mark Noble (has never, not even once, used the front-facing camera on his phone) or Felipe Anderson (sincerely uses the hashtag '#mood' on his Instagram posts). All of them, together at once.
What I'm saying is: that is a unique joy in this otherwise almost-indefensible universe.
What I'm saying is: I often wonder who is the most handsome footballer in the Premier League and, even though Tom Davies has a weird, almost Draco Malfoy appeal to him, it is quite clear Andre Gomes is a serious contender. He is quite comfortably Everton's best looking player. But is he the Premier League's? Apropos of nothing other than my own innate desire to tackle the most subjective, meaningless questions in football, let's find out, once and for all. We'll start by picking out the most handsome player from each team, and then deciding on an overall winner - the most handsome player in the Premier League.
Until Javi Martinez joins Manchester City on loan in January and forces me to re-evaluate the whole thing, or something.
Arsenal - Hector Bellerin
In the 'handsomest player at the club' stakes, Arsenal have a few contenders. Had Aaron Ramsey not moved to Juventus he certainly would have been up there. Same goes for former club captain Laurent Koscielny, even if much of his handsome footballing career was blighted by what can only be described as a 'faux-mohawk haircut befitting of a six-year-old'.
Alexandre Lacazette is obviously very, very handsome. Granit Xhaka, whatever you make of his actual capacity to play football, resembles a 19th century European prince, someone who lived in a big fuck-off castle and had seven surnames and only slightly fewer wives.
Matteo Guendouzi, as is the case on the pitch, is only really being held back by his hair. Lose it and not only does he become more aerodynamic (and therefore more effective surging from box-to-box), his features will also come into focus. The cheekbones will sharpen, the smile will widen, the dark eyes will become that touch more alluring. There is a lot of potential there, although it would come at the cost of a special, powerful individuality that the mop brings.
The winner, however, is of course Hector Bellerin, Arsenal's own drip king, a man who - north London chicken shop or Milan catwalk - constantly looks flawless. He lives his entire life like he's starring in a music video.
Have you noticed the way his longer strands of hair always fall perfectly onto his face, drooping onto his cheek just so he can seductively brush it back for a moment before it *irresistibly* droops again? Have you noticed how radiant his skin is? That the man GLOWS. Have you noticed how isn't actually pouting but always looks as though he is because that's just the natural curvature of his lips? Have you noticed that he managed to pull-off what was previously conceived possible - a sex offender moustache?
He goes through as Arsenal's candidate. He goes through because he is just impossibly handsome.
Aston Villa - Henri Lansbury
Aston Villa's choice came to a straight shoot-out between Henri Lansbury, Jota, Conor Hourihane, Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish.
Grealish unfortunately falls victim to the very idiosyncrasies that endear him so much to Villa supporters. His current iteration - highlights and a stubble goatee - works for me (because he is Jack Grealish and he is a glorious footballer and he is someone I would take one, possibly several, bullets for) but he is not everyone's cup of handsome tea. Similarly, Mings and Hourihane are both undeniably quite handsome without being showstoppers. Sure, Tyrone has the warm smile and Conor has the kind County Cork eyes, but where does that get you when you're in a league full of stunnerz?
New signing Jota is all kinds of gorgeous but crucially, and these are the kind of fine margins that will decide much of this article, has a beard that is just a bit too full for his face. I don't care how lusciously your hair bobs when you dribble a football, I want to see more of that jawline, sir. Give it a bit of a trim and then we'll talk. Thank you. And no, the hairband stays. The hairband is a dealbreaker.
As a result, and given that he is currently rocking his most devastating lid (skin fade, left long on top) as opposed to pretty much any other haircut he has (he had cornrows at Nottingham Forest. They weren't good. Henri Lansbury with cornrows wasn't good), Henri Lansbury goes through as Villa's nominee. He might be injured all the time but fuck me does he look good sat on that bench pretending to be interested in the football.
Also, a special mention to new boy Douglas Luiz, but only very specifically in this photo. That eyebrow slit... so... dangerous.
Bournemouth - Callum Wilson
How handsome is Callum Wilson?
Callum Wilson is really, really handsome.
Look at how handsome Callum Wilson is. You hadn't realised how handsome Callum Wilson is, had you? No, you hadn't. But it's ok. Because now you do and now you know.
It's also ok to want to squeeze those biceps. Credit to Harry Wilson and Andrew Surman, but this one wasn't close. Hold me, Callum. And never let me go.
Brighton & Hove Albion - Mat Ryan
I'm sorry, Brighton, but you have arguably the least handsome squad of footballers ever assembled. I know Alireza Jahanbakhsh hasn't scored a single goal since moving for a club record fee at the start of the season but he has at least made your team marginally more handsome. He deserves credit for that. He does, at least, look like a man who combs his hair and wears aftershave and doesn't pick his teeth with a fork in a restaurant, as opposed to Shane Duffy, Dale Stephens, Glenn Murray, Ezequiel Schelotto and the rest of your sewer mutants.
You know it's bad when your goalkeeper is the best looking player in the team. And fair play, he is pretty handsome. Neal Maupay was in consideration until I remembered he is 5 foot 6. That's obviously fine, but not when you're going up against a 6 foot 3 hunk who, shirtless, looks like Channing Tatum in Magic Mike*.
*Disclaimer: I only know what Mat Ryan looks like shirtless because when you Google 'Mat Ryan' there are pictures that come up of Mat Ryan shirtless without any warning. And then, when you try and get away from them by Googling 'Mat Ryan body' even more come up, for some reason.
Burnley - Whoever, it doesn't matter
Every single Burnley player has something a bit off about them. I don't know what it is, but none of them are handsome. Choose whoever you like from Burnley, they're all the same short-back-and-sides, wonky smile, crazy-eyes versions of the same weirdo.
It's probably Danny Drinkwater, but his official club photo on the website is this:
So yeah. I'm at a loss, I really am. Sean Dyche clearly hates pretty boys. Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Chelsea - Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud is in the Chelsea squad, therefore Olivier Giroud is Chelsea's most handsome player. It really is that simple.
Oh Olivier. Sigh. We'd never want you to.
Crystal Palace - Luka Milivojevic
Actually quite difficult to choose between a fairly well-balanced group of semi-handsome men over at Selhurst Park. Gary Cahill is objectively quite handsome but he has tiny little Shrek ears. Joel Ward is quite handsome but he is also Joel Ward. Victor Camarasa is definitely handsome but nobody is even sure if he really exists, least of all Roy Hodgson. Plus he did previously play for Cardiff. Andros Townsend... you're not bad but everyone remembers when you didn't have a full head of hair so... yeah. You're out. Sorry pal. I don't make the rules. (I do).
Therefore it is Luka Milivojevic, their yellow-card amassing, penalty dispatching captain/leader/legend who gets the nod, thanks mostly to the rough around the edges, wild Serbian energy he possesses.
Shout out to Wilf, though. Shout out to Wilf's ridiculous cheekbone structure, although there is just a sadness, an obvious pain in his eyes that I can't quite get past. Maybe that's just what playing in a Roy Hodgson 4-4-2 does to a man.
Oh, and Yohan Cabaye would have absolutely destroyed this lot. God I miss him.
Everton - Andre Gomes
Don't really feel like I need to justify this again so here's another picture of Andre Gomes.
Leicester City - Ben Chilwell
Leicester's squad isn't pretty: it's Ben Chilwell by a landslide. Hopefully Brendan Rodgers will seek to address this in the January transfer window.
Forget about the top six for now, B-Roge. Focus on getting a few more 7s and 8s in.
Liverpool - Georginio Wijnaldum
Liverpool really do have a player for every taste. Mo Salah is handsome. Alisson is handsome. Virgil van Dijk is handsome, but elevated to it by the ultra-sexy, deckchair on a beach, pina colada in hand, listening to 'The Girl from Ipanema' on repeat style of football he plays. Plus, Troy Deeney has confirmed that the Dutch centre-back also 'smells lovely'. Hard to take Deeney's testimony too seriously as you get the sense that a steaming bowl of dog food probably smells lovely to him, but you get the idea.
My question to you is: would you like Virgil van Dijk quite as much if he was 20-30% worse at football? You wouldn't, I'm afraid. He'd mean nothing to you. Look at that fucking goatee and tell me he could pull that off if he wasn't the best defender in the world.
The Ox has very cute, X-Factor semi-finalist energy. The same for Trent. You can picture them both as a kind of funky, new-age a capella duo that Louis Walsh takes under his wing. You know, failed Christmas number one attempt and an album of cover versions on special offer in Sainsbury's. That sort of thing.
For me, Clive, it is Georginio Wijnaldum who exists as the most handsome all-round player in the squad. He's always there when they need him on the pitch (see last season's miracle come back against Barcelona in the Champions League) and he's always there when you need him off it, too (see his frankly ridiculous megawatt smile, a smile that says "I am quite simply the loveliest man you will ever meet). He goes through as Liverpool's candidate.
Just a mention here for Loris Karius, who is an extremely handsome man and is still lost out there in the Turkish Süper Lig pissing off Besiktas hooligans whilst his team goes from strength to strength without him.
It's not always easy being pretty.
Manchester City - Leroy Sane
John Stones is handsome but only in the blandest, River Island mannequin sense of the word. Nico Otamendi is handsome but always ruins it with his severe beard/hair combos. And his defending.
Raheem Sterling is handsome, has lovely eyelashes and is, by all accounts, a fucking wonderful man. Both he and Aguero are about as handsome as short men can be. Unfortunately it isn't enough to see them past Leroy Sane, the forgotten man, the player whom Pep was close to selling to Bayern Munich this summer and is out with an ACL injury that will see him miss almost all of the current season.
Let me just remind you what Leroy Sane looks like: a vision.
Come back to us soon, Leroy.
Manchester United - Paul Pogba
Let me tell you something. The Manchester United squad is not only completely bereft of top-level talent. It's also ugly as shit. Even worse, Ed Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conspired to make their team even more butterz this summer thanks to the (costly) transfers of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. 'Oh,' you're saying, 'but what about Daniel James! He's a bit of alright isn't he?'. No, no he isn't. Daniel James is the kind of person who borrows someone's dog to take photos for his Tinder profile. He's the kind of person who, on every night during freshers week, will take his shirt off and paint his chest for absolutely no reason at all. He's the kind of person who still wears beige chinos and quotes The Inbetweeners. He's the absolute worst kind of person, basically.
To a man, the Manchester United squad is hideous. Take a look at the squad page on their official website. It's actually funny how bad they all look.
Apart from this man. A man who should never have joined this sorry excuse for a football team in the first place. He will be free one day. One day he will be free from that sauceless abyss of mediocrity.
Newcastle United - Fabian Schär
Do you know who is secretly very handsome? Ciaran Clark. Do you know who loses out on being Newcastle United's most handsome player because he has an even more handsome Swiss equivalent? Also Ciaran Clark. Unfortunately for the former Irish international, Schär takes everything he does well and does it even better. Including being able to defend.
To emphasise my point, Getty Images actually has photos of Ciaran Clark that they have tagged as a photo of Fabian Schär.
The problem is, Fabian Schär looks like this...
I think I speak for everyone when I say: WOOF.
Norwich City - Alexander Tettey
Ben Godfrey? Kinda handsome. Max Aarons? Kinda handsome. Ralf Fährmann? Kinda handsome. Mario Vrancic? Kinda handsome if you squint your eyes a little bit. Moritz Leitner? Kinda handsome. Todd Cantwell? Will be kinda handsome once he stops looking 17 years old. Tom Trybull? Kinda handsome.
It's Alexander Tettey, lads. It's always been Alexander Tettey. This bloke could lead his own moderately successful Netflix series about a missing person case in Norway. Tell me he couldn't. Because he could. He definitely could.
Sheffield United - Michael Verrips
Full disclosure here, I had never heard of Michael Verrips until today. He is Sheffield United's third choice goalkeeper. He is also the only handsome player in their squad.
Here he is looking handsome for KV Mechelen.
Here he is looking handsome for MVV Maastricht.
One day, when he actually plays a game, I'm sure there will be a photograph of him looking handsome in a Blades shirt. One day.
Southampton - Sam McQueen
Look. Southampton have a lot of players that should, theoretically, be handsome. Jan Bednarek. Jannik Vestergaard. Sofiane Boufal. Cedric. Maya Yoshida. Ryan Bertrand. Nathan Redmond. Fuck, even Shane Long. All of them should be more handsome than they actually are. All of them, on paper, should be handsome. But the game isn't played on paper.
I looked at each and every one of them and was disappointed every time. Sam McQueen, though? Not disappointed one bit.
Tottenham Hotspur - Paulo Gazzaniga
Spurs are another team with an abundance of riches in the handsome footballers stakes. This is the very first row of photographs on the website:
Fucking hell. I don't know if it is the lighting or what, but Christ. If Toby Alderweireld is letting the side down in the looks department you know you're doing something right. Look at Danny Rose for god sake. Give that man the modelling career his Blue Steel deserves.
Here's the second row.
Yeah. Spurs are chock full of handsome bois. And we haven't even mentioned Dele Alli yet. It takes something special to be a standout amongst this bunch, but even so, devastatingly handsome back-up goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga manages.
Just take a fucking look at this man.
And then there is his squad photo.
Get me a map, ladies and gentlemen. I am absolutely lost in those eyes.
Watford - Adrian Mariappa
You weren't expecting Adrian Mariappa to make this list, were you? I certainly wasn't. I don't think even Adrian Mariappa was expecting to make this list. But alas, he is Watford's most handsome player. For example:
Ok, he looks better next to Troy Deeney. Let's try another one.
Yeah, you see? One more.
OK, not a good one, but this is how I like to imagine it feels to be officially (very unofficially) named Watford's most handsome player.
Everyone thinks Watford's most handsome player is Etienne Capoue. It's not Etienne Capoue. It's Adrian Mariappa.
West Ham United - Winston Reid
Winston Reid, remember him!?
Wolverhampton Wanderers - Patrick Cutrone
Honestly didn't feel right to have a list of the most handsome players in the Premier League and not have an Italian amongst them. Step forward then, Patrick Cutrone, the best of a very, very average bunch in Wolverhampton.
(You don't believe me, do you? Check their squad. Those Portuguese lads aren't as handsome as you think they are. If I could give this one to Nuno, their manager, I would.)
From the 19 handsome players we have assembled so far, and the one from Burnley, it is clear to me that there are four standouts. Four players that sit a little bit above the rest. The four that make your mother audibly exhale, put her hand over her chest and say 'Oh my!'' whenever they get an extreme close-up on Sky Sports. Those four are: Hector Bellerin, Callum Wilson, Andre Gomes and Olivier Giroud.
Of the four, I am actually going to rule Olivier Giroud out first. Giroud relies more on reputation now than his actual looks. He is certifiably very, very handsome. But is he so handsome it warrants legions and legions of Arsenal and Chelsea fans spamming the internet with Giroud winking GIFs whenever he comes off the bench to inevitably scramble in an 87th minute consolation goal? I'm not sure.
Take, for instance, his nose. A fine nose. But if we're nitpicking? It is a little bit pointy, a little bit crooked. Do we just ignore that because he is big and he's French and he has a strong beard and looks as though, at any given point, he could whisper something in your ear that would make your knees buckle?
I think we do. Sorry. He comes fourth.
In third is Hector Bellerin. Look, Hector. It's not you, it's me. Sometimes I just don't want my handsome Premier League footballer to look like a runway model.
Sometimes I do!
But sometimes, I really, really don't.
(You're also 5 foot 8).
Taking the silver medal is Bournemouth's Callum Wilson; a staggeringly beautiful man, possibly the most beautiful person to ever come from Coventry. Or to have ever even gone to Coventry.
I have to admit he existed in a bit of a blind spot for me until recently but after scouring through the data (lots and lots of pictures of him) and analysing the results (he looks stunning in all of them), I will never again ignore just how handsome Callum Eddie Graham Wilson is.
That, of course, means the deserving winner is Andre Gomes. The man who inspired the article, the man who started it all, is also the man who finishes it. My reasoning is as follows:
(WARNING: This is very in-depth)
Compelling stuff, right?
But let me end on a message of hope for all the other handsome Premier League players out there. The most handsome player in the Premier League is a fluid, transitory crown. It changes like the seasons. At some point Andre Gomes could grow his beard too long. He could shave it off entirely. He could do something different with his hair (please never, ever, ever do anything different with your hair Andres). And do you know what? At that point he probably won't be the most handsome player in the league anymore. Sure, he will still look like a charming but deadly Algarve waiter that causes impromptu holiday spats between married couples for fun. Sure, he will still look like he was designed by scientists in a laboratory with the only goal being: to fuck. Sure, he will still look like Andre Gomes. But it won't quite be the same.
That is my message to echo on through time. Give me your handsome footballers and let them battle it out, in the handsome stakes, for eternity, forever slightly altering the number of their fades, the shaping of their beards, the moisturiser they use and the manner in which they dress until they find their optimum, singularly most handsome selves.
There is still everything to play for (being the most handsome) and forever to play it in.