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Best transfers from an economic perspective: Liverpool and Juventus stand out

Issue number 247 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents big-5 league players whose current estimated value exceeds the most the fee paid by recruiting teams during last summer. Rodri Hernández (+€45 million) tops the table for fee-paying transfers ahead of Lucas Torreira (+€44m), while Emre Can (+€45m) heads the rankings for free agents ahead of Stefan de Vrij (+€39m).

Juventus and Liverpool are the only teams with three recruits in the top 20 tables: Emre Can, Cristiano Ronaldo and João Cancelo for the former club, as well as Xherdan Shaqiri, Alisson Becker and Fabinho Tavares for the latter one. The excellent performances of both these players and their employer teams explain in large part the magnitude of the gap observed.

Seven other clubs have more than one representative in the top 20 lists: Inter Milan (de Vrij and Asamoah), Napoli (Younes and Ruiz), Real Betis (López and Canales), LOSC Lille (Bamba and Ikoné), Everton (Bernard and Richarlison), West Ham (Wilshere and Anderson) and Arsenal (Torreira and Guendouzi). Current values were estimated using the exclusive CIES Football Observatory algorithm.

New Monthly Report analyses the link between possession and success

The 41st CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report analyses the link between ball possession and results in 35 European leagues. While this link is undeniable, it is only from a certain level that ball control allows teams to improve significantly their results. This is probably the source of the erroneous but widespread idea that possession is not a key factor for success.

The 70 champions of the last two seasons in the 35 leagues analysed had an average possession of 57% during their winning season. Only 10% of champions won their league with a ball possession of less than 50%: Spartak Trnava, RC Strasbourg, Stade de Reims, AIK Solna, FC Midtjylland, Spal 2013 and CFR Cluj. None of the 70 champions completed fewer passes in the attacking third of the pitch than their opponents during the title winning season.

The analysis at match level for all the possession indicators taken into account shows that a team can sometimes accept an opponent’s domination, especially when they are winning. However, this is not a successful strategy in the longer term as it implies too many risks of conceding the first goal without being then able to put sufficient pressure on opponents. The data used were generated by the specialist sports company InStat. More information is available on demand.

Manchester City favourites for Premier League title

Issue number 246 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post analyses the pitch production of big-5 league clubs during the first part of the current season to highlight if they have over- or under-performed in terms of points achieved. The findings suggest that Manchester City will finally beat Liverpool in the English Premier League title race.

Manchester City achieved so far 5% of points per match less than expected according to its pitch production. Conversely, Liverpool obtained 15% more and its results are supposed to decline in the second part of the season. The over- or under-performance were calculated according to a regression model built on the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons including shots on target, ball possession and shots conceded from the box. The data comes from the specialist company InStat.

In the other big-5 leagues, the pitch production of three out of four teams at the top of the table should allow them to lift the trophy: Barcelona in Spain, Juventus in Italy and Paris St-Germain in France. However, in Germany, the analysis suggests that Bayern Munich will finally outrank the current leader Borussia Dortmund. The data for 27 further European competitions are available on demand. More data is also accessible in the exclusive CIES Football Observatory Performance Atlas.

Brand new list of top transfer values for big-5 league players

The first Weekly Post of the year presents the 100 big-5 league players with the highest transfer value according to the exclusive CIES Football Observatory algorithm. The 20-year-old French prodigy Kylian Mbappé (€218.5 million) tops the list ahead of Harry Kane (€200.3m) and Neymar (€197.1m).

Among the 27 footballers with an estimated value of more than €100m, sixteen play in the Premier League, five in the Liga, three in the Serie A, two in the Ligue 1 and one in the Bundesliga. Eleven nations have representatives with an estimated value of more than €100m: Brazil (6 players), England (5), France (5), Argentina (2), Portugal (2), Belgium (2), Egypt (1), Germany (1), Senegal (1), Uruguay (1) and Italy (1).

The transfer values for all big-5 league players are available online. A research note explaining the methodology used by the CIES Football Observatory and the criteria included in the algorithm is accessible here. Please contact us for more information and consultancies.

Lucky carrier players in the big-5 European leagues

The last CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post of the year 2018 highlights players whose teams have achieved the most or least points per match when they were in the starting 11 than when this was not the case. The most positive gap in absolute was recorded for Christophe Jallet (OGC Nice): 7 wins out of the 7 matches that he started compared to only 0.44 points per match for the remaining games.

In the other big-5 leagues, the most positive gaps for players who have been present or absent at least five times in the starting 11 were recorded for Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton), Rubén Rochina (Levante), Andreas Beck (Stuttgart) and Goran Pandev (Genoa). Pedro Rodríguez and Ross Barkley were so far also lucky carriers for Chelsea: 100% of points for matches started in both cases.

Conversely, the most negative gaps per championship were registered for Massimo Gobbi (Parma), Gerard Gumbau (Leganés), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Anthony Knockaert (Brighton & Hove) and Olivier Boscagli (OGC Nice). However, it is useful to remind that these results are in part a random fact.

CIES launches Sports Intelligence group with first report on football governance

The CIES Football Observatory is pleased to announce the launch of a parallel research group within the Centre International d’Étude du Sport (CIES). Led by Fernando Roitman, this new team focuses on aspects of sports governance, finance, legal and development.

The freshly published ‘Governance Structures at National Association Level’ report focuses on a selection of 20 countries from all six confederations and provides insight into one of the crucial aspects of world football. The study analyses five main areas: General Assembly (GA), Executive Committee (ExCo), President, judicial bodies and reporting activities. As findings are standardised in their form, the document allows benchmarking between individual case studies and the identification of potential trends across different regions of the world.

If you would like to be informed about CIES Sports Intelligence activities and next reports please subscribe to the dedicated newsletter. Furthermore, you can follow CIES Sports Intelligence on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up to date with daily analyses on relevant sporting topics.

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