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New report unveils drastic changes in European football over the past 10 years

The long-term work carried out within the CIES Football Observatory focuses, in particular, on the demographic analysis of the football players’ labour market. The surveys carried out over the past decade allow us to reveal very clear trends. As illustrated in Monthly Report number 39, the footballers’ labour market in Europe is becoming deterritorialised by a decreasing presence of club-trained players, a stronger presence of expatriate footballers and greater mobility.

The percentage of club-trained players in the 31 European divisions surveyed reached a new record low on the 1st of October 2018: 16.9% (-6.3% in ten years). The decrease observed during the last year has been the greatest ever recorded (-1.6%). In parallel, the proportion of expatriates has increased to a record level of 41.5% (+6.8% in ten years). The process of internationalisation of squads has accelerated: from an annual growth of 0.55% between 2009 and 2013 to an average increase of 1.17% between 2014 and 2018.

In the conclusion, the authors state that “more and more teams are geared towards the short-term. In an increasingly segmented and speculative context, club officials tend to optimise financial returns on the transfer market to the detriment of more eminently sporting considerations. The increasing instability that results limits the sporting competitiveness of an ever greater number of teams, to the advantage of the wealthiest and better structured clubs, who increasingly dominate the proceedings”.

Updated transfer valuations: Mbappé takes the lead

Every month, the CIES Football Observatory updates the transfer valuations of big-5 league players using its exclusive algorithm. Issue number 239 of the Weekly Post presents the top 10 list for each position. The highest figure overall was recorded for Kylian Mbappé (€216.5m). Ederson, Umtiti, Alexander-Arnold and Alli top their position’s rankings.

The transfer value of Kylian Mbappé increased by €23m compared to October. This allowed the French prodigy to outrank Harry Kane (€197.3m). The Englishman is now second ahead of Neymar, Mohammed Salah and Philippe Coutinho. Ageing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are now valued at €170.6m and €123.6m respectively.

This research note explains the CIES Football Observatory approach to predict from a scientific perspective the transfer value of professional players. Football stakeholders have increasingly recourse to our unique expertise for different purposes from decision-making to litigation. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Exclusive training clubs European rankings

Issue number 238 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post highlights clubs having trained the most players currently present in 31 European top divisions and the big-5 leagues respectively. The highest figures were recorded for AFC Ajax for players in the 31 top divisions (77) and Real Madrid for footballers in the big-5 (36).

Compared to 2017, Dynamo Kiev went up from 7th to 2nd place at European level (+ 15 players), reaching Partizan Belgrade (+10). The number of players trained by AFC Ajax also increased (+ 7). At big-5 league level, the top three remained the same. However, Olympique Lyonnais went up from 3rd to 2nd position (35 players, + 4), approaching Real Madrid (36, -4) and outranking Barcelona (34, =).

Following UEFA definition, training clubs are teams where footballers played for at least three seasons between 15 and 21 years. The percentage of minutes played by club-trained footballers in all of the teams from the 31 competitions studied is available in the exclusive CIES Football Observatory Demographic Atlas. More exclusive data is published through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Neymar most valuable player (MVP) in the big-5

The CIES Football Observatory has developed an exclusive approach to assess the performance of players using the statistics produced by the leading data company OptaPro. Issue number 237 of the Weekly Post presents big-5 league footballers with the highest scores for the last 1,000 domestic league minutes played.

Aymeric Laporte heads the table in the area of rigour (duels), while Étienne Capoue ranks first for recovery (interceptions). Jorginho has the highest score in distribution and Cristiano Ronaldo in shooting. Neymar is at the top in two different tables: take on (dribbles) and chance creation (assists). According to the CIES Football Observatory approach, the Brazilian star is also the big-5 league MVP for the period considered.

At the head of the tables for footballers who played for less than 450 domestic league minutes during current season are Nicolás Otamendi (rigour), Milan Badelj (recovery), Marco Verratti (distribution), Douglas Costa (take on), Kevin de Bruyne (chance creation and MVP), as well as Konstantinos Mitroglou (shooting). More data is available in the exclusive player profile comparator.

Real Madrid most stable club in Europe

Only three clubs in Europe have fielded this season players who have been in the first team squad since more than five years on average: Real Madrid (5.84 years), Barcelona (5.36) and Bayern Munich (5.26). Issue number 236 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post also reveals that another Champions League participant, Viktoria Plzeň, is the most stable club outside of the big-5 (4.28 years).

The majority of teams with the highest stability figures are among the most competitive teams in their respective leagues. The opposite holds true for the least stable clubs. The lowest stability levels were recorded for the Croatian team Istra (0.15 years) among the 31 top divisions surveyed and for the Italian side Parma (0.65 years) at big-5 league level.

The data for all teams in the competitions analysed is available in the exclusive CIES Football Observatory Demographic Atlas. Monthly Reports number 34 and number 38 discuss from multiple angles the link between stability and success. More analysis is also presented on a daily basis from our Twitter account. Follow us!

New Report reveals negative impact of high player turnover

The CIES Football Observatory just published its 38th Monthly Report. The study analyses club strategies in the area of player turnover for the five major European leagues since 2005/06. It reveals that too many changes in line-ups do not constitute a good strategy for optimising results. On the contrary, high turnover levels tend to affect players’ confidence and aggravate the situation.

Seventeen of the twenty teams whose 11 most fielded footballers played for the least percentage of minutes relegated. This is a clear reflection of the real danger faced by clubs of finding themselves trapped in a vicious circle of poor results and instability, and vice versa. The existence of a negative correlation between turnover and points per match confirms the relevance of sticking with a core group of footballers to optimise performance.

The only team in the period studied that fielded less than 20 players over a season was Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2014/15. This did not prevent them from finishing in an excellent third place. That season, the team coached by Lucien Favre also participated in the Europa League, where it reached the last 16. While the achievement of good results reduces the incentives for player turnover, the Report shows that low player turnover in turn favours good results.

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