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Most valued young players: Alphonso Davies at the top

Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) heads the exclusive CIES Football Observatory list of the highest estimated transfer values for big-5 league players born in the 2000s: €180 M. The Champions League winner outranks Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund, €125 M) and Ansu Fati (Barcelona, €123 M). The top 100 is available in issue number 311 of the Weekly Post.

According to the CIES Football Observatory algorithm, among the 12 big-5 league footballers born in the 2000s with an estimated value greater than €50M are four Englishmen (Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden), two Spaniards (Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres), two Brazilians (Rodrygo Goes, Vinícius Júnior), a Canadian (Alphonso Davies), a Norwegian (Erling Haland), a Swede (Dejan Kulusevski) and a Frenchman (Eduardo Camavinga).

Two players born in 2003 figure in the top 100 list: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund, €44M) and Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen, €16M). Bellingham heads the rankings for footballers who did not yet play for a national A-team, ahead of Benoît Badiashile (Monaco, €40 M). The latter outranks Ozan Kabak (Schalke 04, €35 M) and Wesley Fofana (Leicester City, €33M) in the table for centre backs.

Youngest teams: Nordsjælland and Milan at the top

Issue number 310 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks teams from 67 top divisions worldwide according to the average age of line-ups fielded in the current season. The lowest figure among teams from countries in the top 20 positions of the UEFA club association ranking was measured for the Danish side Nordsjælland (22.7 years), ahead of Famalicão and Den Haag.

Despite the everlasting Zlatan Ibrahimović, Milan AC is the youngest team at the level of the five major European leagues (24.5 years). The Italian club outranks three French (Monaco, Reims and St-Étienne) and two German (Stuttgart, Leipzig) sides. Valencia is the youngest team in the Spanish Liga, while Brighton & Hove tops the table for the English Premier League.

Overall, FK Metta (Latvia) fielded the youngest line-ups (20.6 years on average), ahead of MŠK Žilina (Slovakia) and Grótta (Iceland). FC Nasaf (Uzbekistan) is the youngest team from a non-UEFA association (23.9 years). At the opposite end are Mushuc Runa (Ecuador, 31.6 years), Guaireña (Paraguay) and Anorthosis (Cyprus).

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.

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