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Highest transfer values per club in the big-5

Issue number 257 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the players with the highest estimated transfer value per big-5 league club. The potentially most expensive player overall, Kylian Mbappé (€228 million), represents 25.9% of the total squad value of Paris St-Germain. A similar percentage was measured for Jadon Sancho (€148 million, 24.9%) at Borussia Dortmund.

Despite his age, Lionel Messi remains the most valuable FC Barcelona’s player: €171 million. The Argentinean is the oldest footballer among those with the highest transfer value out of all big-5 league clubs. At Juventus, 34-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo (€125 million) is only outranked by Paulo Dybala (€142 million).

Eden Hazard (€121 million) is the most expensive Chelsea FC’s squad member. The Belgian also has the highest transfer value among footballers with only one year of contract remaining, ahead of Timo Werner (€70 million). The German striker is the most valuable RB Leipzig’s player. If they do not extend their contract, both footballers will probably be transferred during the next transfer window.

Best performing big-5 league players: last 1,000 minutes

The CIES Football Observatory has developed an exclusive approach to measure the technical performance of players on an objective basis using data provided by OptaPro. Issue number 256 of the Weekly Post presents the best performing big-5 league footballers for last 1,000 minutes played. The rankings only include players fielded for at least 630 minutes since January 1st 2019.

Four Atalanta players are in the best XI for Serie A: Timothy Castagne, Josip Iličić, Papu Gómez and Duván Zapata. The only Juventus player fielded for at least 630 domestic league minutes in 2019 is also present in the best formation: Daniele Rugani. Five Barcelona footballers figure in the Liga’s best XI, including Lionel Messi.

The most represented teams in the remaining leagues are Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga (four players), Manchester City in the Premier League (five players) and Paris St-Germain in the Ligue 1 (six players). The youngest footballers per league are Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Reguilón, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Kylian Mbappé.

Foul analysis at big-5 league level: from Barcelona to Brighton & Hove

Issue number 255 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks big-5 league teams according to the ratio between fouls suffered and committed during the current season using data from OptaPro. FC Barcelona players suffered the most fouls with respect to those committed (1.5 times). At the opposite end is Brighton & Hove with a ratio of 0.68.

The highest number of fouls committed per match was measured for Getafe (17.1). In the other leagues, the top values were recorded for Torino (16.8), Dijon (15.8), Augsburg (14.2) and Brighton & Hove (12.8). Conversely, Borussia Dortmund players have on average committed the least fouls per game (8.4). In the other championships of the big-5, the lowest figures were observed for Manchester City (8.5), Barcelona (10.5), Napoli (10.7) and Nice (11.2).

The average number of fouls per fixture varies between 20.9 in the Premier League and 27.0 in the Liga. This strong gap partially reflects the existence of different styles of refereeing. In the remaining leagues, these values are 24.0 in Bundesliga, 26.4 in Ligue 1 and 26.6 in Serie A. Among players fielded for at least 1,000 domestic league minutes, Moussa Doumbia (Reims), Amine Harit (Schalke 04) and Borja García (Girona) are those fouled most often.

Players’ origin in the English Premier League under the light of Brexit

The 43rd Monthly Report of the CIES Football Observatory analyses the evolution of the origin of players fielded over the past ten years in the English Premier League. It shows that the playing time of footballers having grown up in England has progressively fallen to reach a new negative record level over the current season: 35.2%. A similar trend was observed for goals scored: 30.7%.

On the contrary, the proportion of continental Europeans has steadily increased throughout the decade analysed. New records have been measured during the current season both at the level of the percentage of minutes (45.0%) and at the level of goals scored (43.3%). Since the 2017/18 season, continental European nationals are more numerous on Premier League pitches than UK players. 

Within the context of Brexit, a possible limit on the scope of international recruitment may oblige the majority of Premier League teams to modify their transfer strategies. However, the rise of a new generation of very promising Englishmen suggests that, on strictly sporting terms, such a change may not negatively affect the competitiveness of Premier League teams. It could even strengthen the English national team.

Shot accuracy: Manchester United and Ajax at the top

Issue number 254 of the CIES Football Weekly Post investigates InStat data to present the 20 clubs with the highest and lowest percentages of shots on target both in the five major European leagues and in 25 other domestic championships. The figures vary from 48.6% (Manchester United) and 28.9% (Cagliari) in the big-5, as well as from 50.4% (Ajax) and 31.7% (four different clubs) in the other competitions surveyed.

The study also presents the average distance of all shots attempted. The lowest values for clubs ranked in the top 20 tables were recorded for Bayern Munich (15.8 meters) in the five major European leagues and for the Dutch side PSV Eindhoven (also 15.8 meters) at the level of the remaining 25 leagues surveyed. Generally speaking, the higher the percentage of shots on target, the lower the distance from which they are taken.

The average percentage of shots on target for all clubs in the leagues studied is 37.6% (from 41.2% in the Dutch Eredivisie to 35.0% in the Russian Premier League), while the general shot distance is 18.5 meters (from 17.4 meters in the English Premier League to 19.5 meters in the Serbian Super Liga). More pitch statistics at club level are available in the freshly updated CIES Football Observatory Performance Atlas.

Squad transfer values: English clubs at the top

Weekly Post number 253 presents the aggregated transfer value of big-5 league clubs. According to the algorithm exclusively developed by the CIES Football Observatory, the estimated value of the squad of five teams is over one billion euro. Four of them are from the Premier League, which reflects the financial power of the English top division. Barcelona is the best-ranked non-English team.

The total transfer value of Manchester City players is almost €1.5 billion. This figure is one time and a half higher than the transfer fees spent to assemble the squad. However, this capital gain is only hypothetical insofar a team like Manchester City wants to win trophies rather than releasing its best footballers. In addition, within the current inflationary context, possible replacements are far more expensive than their predecessors.

The squad transfer value of four teams in the top 40 positions of the table is more than three times greater than the sums spent in transfer indemnities to recruit current players: Olympique Lyonnais (15th, x3.3), Real Sociedad (31st, x3.4), LOSC Lille (37th, x3.2) and Real Betis (38th, x3.1). Well-established in the top division league of their country of belonging, these clubs have an equally well-established business model relying on the promotion of talents. The estimates for all big-5 league players are available on the CIES Football Observatory website.

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