CIES Football Observatory


Issue n°211 - 22/01/2018

Manchester City heads the table for foreign signings

Issue number 211 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks teams from the five major European championships according to the percentage of players signed from foreign clubs. Manchester City tops the rankings with 17 international recruitments out of 22 players fielded so far in domestic league games (77.3%). At the opposite end of the table is Athletic Club Bilbao (one player, Aymeric Laporte, out of 23).

The proportion of players signed from abroad is above two thirds in six other clubs: Chelsea, Lazio, Sevilla, Leipzig, Paris St-Germain and Udinese. In total, 29 teams recruited at least half of the footballers fielded so far from foreign clubs. English Premier League teams are over-represented among those transferring the highest percentage of squad members from abroad. Burnley (9.1%) and Bournemouth (9.5%) are exceptions to the rule.

In general, the most competitive clubs sign a greater percentage of players from foreign teams than lesser performing ones. However, this is not a fatality. Liverpool, Juventus, Real Madrid, Napoli, Manchester United, Barcelona and Tottenham all signed less than half of current squad members from abroad. The freshly published 31st edition of the CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report presents a deeper analysis of transfer networks in professional football.

% of players fielded signed from abroad, big-5 league clubs

[TOT]: Number of players fielded in domestic league matches since the start of the season
[REC]: Players signed from foreign clubs

Editors: Raffaele Poli, Roger Besson and Loïc Ravenel