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Fouls committed and suffered: European rankings

Issue number 309 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents players having committed and suffered the most fouls per minute in 33 European championships according to the data provided by our partners InStat. With one foul suffered every 20’39”, Neymar (PSG) heads the rankings for big-5 league footballers.

Yangel Herrera (Granada), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese) and Mark Uth (Schalke 04) top the tables for fouls suffered in the four other major European leagues. With regard to fouls committed, Fabien Lemoine (Lorient), Javi Galán (Huesca), Steven Alzate (Brighton & Hove), Nicolas Höfler (Freiburg) and Juraj Kucka (Parma) head the big-5 league rankings.

The 24-year-old English winger Jerell Sellars (Östersunds) leads the table for fouls suffered at the level of the 33 leagues overall, ahead of Diego Fabbrini (Dinamo Bucureşti) and Jorge Díaz (Panetolikós). Conversely, the three players having so far committed the most fouls per minute are Kirill Vergeichik (Vitebsk), Mohamed El Makrini (Start) and Aleksandr Kokko (RoPS).

Costliest squads: Manchester City stands out

Issue number 308 of the Weekly Post presents the annual CIES Football Observatory analysis on the transfer fee expenditure to assemble the squad by big-5 league teams. As for 2019, Manchester City tops the table with an estimated 1.036 billion euro invested in transfer indemnities to sign their current players (including add-ons).

The figure recorded for Manchester City is €22M higher than that measured one year ago. While still inferior to that of their city rivals, the transfer expenditure to assemble the squad for Manchester United increased by €93M compared to October 2019: from €751 M to €844 M. With this increase, the Red Devils get closer to Paris St-Germain (€888 M, - €25 M) and overtake Real Madrid (€708M, - 194M). The biggest increase was recorded for Chelsea FC (€761M, +€198M).

Apart from Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid, only three other non-English teams are in the top 12: Barcelona (4th, €826M), Juventus (8th, €594M) and Atlético Madrid (11th, €483M). This finding confirms the financial supremacy of the Premier League. No team from this competition has invested less than €100 M in transfer indemnities to sign its current players. The European champions, Bayern Munich, only are 15th (€408M).

COVID only braked the inflation of players’ transfer prices

While the COVID pandemic has brought a considerable drop in the level of investments on the transfer market, footballers signed for money by big-5 league teams during the last transfer window were paid on average 6% more than players with similar characteristics during the summer 2019. The full CIES Football Observatory analysis is available in the 58th edition of the Monthly Report.

During the last transfer window, clubs from the five major European leagues invested 43% less in transfer indemnities to sign new players compared to summer 2019. The minimal fall was recorded in the English Premier League (from €1.65 to €1.49 billion, -10%), while the maximum was measured in the Spanish Liga (from €1.40 billion to €348 million, -75%).

The percentage of free transfers among all players taken on permanently by big-5 league clubs has significantly increased: from 26.2% to 32.2%. The percentage of players recruited on loan out of all signings went also up: from 23.1% to a record 30.0%. The COVID pandemic has also reinforced the tendency for teams to integrate conditional payments and sell-on percentages into the transactions.

The COVID crisis has strongly impacted the probability that players are signed for money. However, if a transfer takes place, the hypothesis according to which the price would have been negotiated to a lower level than before the pandemic does not hold true. In this regard, the most marking impact of the pandemic resides in the slowing down of the rampant inflation of players’ prices: from 15% on average per year between 2015 and 2019, down to 6% between 2019 and 2020.

Exclusive squad turnover world rankings revealed

Issue number 307 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks clubs having played at least 27 domestic league matches since September 2019 according to the number of players fielded. The sample is composed of 1,014 top or second division teams from 50 countries across the world. The Brazilian club Avaí FC tops the table with 59 players used, 37 more than the two teams having fielded the least footballers: Halmstad (Sweden) and Wellington Phoenix (New Zealand).

Five English clubs are in the top 20 of the most stable teams list: Burnley, Liverpool, Southampton, Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion. In the first 20 positions also are two other big-5 league clubs: Olympique Marseille and Bayer Leverkusen. Conversely, with 42 players fielded over the last year, Genoa is the team from the five major European leagues with the greatest squad turnover, ahead of St-Etienne (40).

Brazilian clubs are over-represented among those using the most players. Thirteen of them have fielded at least 50 footballers during the last year. Many Eastern European teams, notably from Serbia and Ukraine, also are particularly instable. On the contrary, the majority of Western European and Asian clubs do not heavily rotate their squads.

Júnior Negão ahead of Ronaldo in 2020 top scorer list

Issue number 306 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the 127 footballers having scored at least 10 goals in 94 top division leagues worldwide during the calendar year 2020. The 33-year-old Brazilian Júnior Negão from the South Korean team of Ulsan Hyundai tops the list with 24 goals before last week-end, two more than the 35-year-old Portuguese superstar Ronaldo from Juventus (25 vs 24 after the week-end).

By weighting goals with the sporting level of the competition in which they were scored using the exclusive CIES Football Observatory coefficient, Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) is at the top of the rankings ahead of Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern), Erling Haland (Borussia Dortmund) and Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

With 15 domestic league goals in only 1’153 minutes, the young Norwegian prodigy Erling Haland has the lowest minutes per goal rate among big-5 league footballers: 76.9. Cristiano Ronaldo (24 goals in 1784 minutes, 81.1) and Andrej Kramarić from Hoffenheim (10 goals in 835 minutes, 83.5) complete the podium of this specific table.

English Premier League clubs rarely field young players

Issue number 305 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks 80 top divisions worldwide according to the percentage of minutes by 21-year-old or younger players since the 2015/16 (or 2015) season. The lowest percentage among the five major European leagues was recorded in the English Premier League (7.1% of minutes), while the highest was measured in the French Ligue 1 (15.4%).

Two Baltic countries are at the top of the overall rankings: Estonia (31.1%) and Latvia (27.2%). The Slovenian top division complete the podium: 26.4%. The Dutch Eredivisie is the most competitive championship in the top 10 (8th, 23.8%). The highest figures for leagues in non-UEFA associations were observed in Panama (7th, 23.9%), Venezuela (13th, 22.0%) and Uruguay (20th, 18.0%).

Since 2015, Chinese Super League clubs fielded 21-year-old or younger players for the fewest percentage of minutes among all of the competitions surveyed: 3.9%. This very low proportion indicates that China is not yet ready to become a football power as local talents struggle to gain experience. The second lowest figure was recorded in the Turkish Süper Lig (4.1%).

All data here

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