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Issue number 100 of the CIES Football Observatory Big-5 Weekly Post presents the map of the 100 clubs that have trained the most footballers playing in 31 European top division leagues. The notion of training clubs refers to teams where players have been for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21.

At the head of the table is Ajax Amsterdam. The Dutch team has trained 77 players employed by the 468 teams of the 31 leagues included in the analysis. At second and third place are Partizan Belgrade (74 players) and Barcelona (57). This data confirms the outstanding know-how of these clubs in the training of youth players.

France is the most represented national association in the top 100 positions of the table: 15 clubs. This is seven more than the second and third most represented countries: Spain and the Netherlands. Conversely, there are no Turkish, Cypriot, Romanian and Norwegian teams in the top 100.

If you want to know more about the European football players’ labour market, you are kindly invited to consult our online Digital Atlas. Thank you for your interest!

The CIES Football Observatory published today a second Monthly Report on “Talent scouting: an experience capital approach”. This report identifies the most promising players under 23 years of age in 31 top division championships of UEFA member associations.

Thanks to this analysis we are able to highlight not only well-known players such as Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling, Romelu Lukaku or Thibaut Courtois, but also footballers not yet taking part in the big-5 leagues but of whom we will surely hear much about in the future such as, among others, Tonny Vilhena, Jetro Willems, Pione Sisto or Georgi Milanov.

The notion of experience capital refers to games played in adult championships up until 23 years of age. We attribute different values to matches according to an exclusive classification method that takes into account the performance of national association representatives in European club competitions, the division of the employer club in the domestic league and results achieved for matches played.

The method of experience capital allows clubs to optimise their approach regarding transfers by considerably reducing the risks inherent in such operations, from both the sporting and economic point of view. Our research team is at the service of clubs interested in finding out more about the practical modalities of implementing a talent spotting system of this kind.

The report also emphasises the crucial role of leagues outside the big-5 in the career development of players. Among footballers aged 23 or over currently under contract with big-5 league clubs, only 12% have always played in teams taking part in the top European championships between the start of the professional career and their 23rd birthday.

Issue number 99 of the Big-5 Weekly Post presents the highest capital experience values for U20, U21, U22 and U23 players for both the five major European championships and the remaining 26 leagues surveyed.

The CIES Football Observatory is pleased to present the comparison between fees paid to sign big-5 league players during the last transfer window and the value estimated by our research team. The high correlation between fees estimated and reported confirms the accuracy of our exclusive econometric model. All the data are presented in issue number 98 of the Big-5 Weekly Post.

Buy-out clauses or options to buy existed for the five most over-paid players. This certainly helped the seller teams in the negotiations: Villarreal for Gabriel Paulista, Swansea for Wilfried Bony and Fiorentina for Juan Cuadrado.

The top level performances of Bernardo Silva and Ryan Bertrand explain the activation of the option to buy by Monaco, respectively Southampton. However, the current value of these players is well below the price paid.

Monaco and Southampton accepted to over-pay by considering the opportunities of development for the players concerned. This holds also true for Arsenal with regard to the signing of Gabriel Paulista. The three players have indeed the concrete possibility to become pillars of their national A-teams in the near future.

The cases of Wilfried Bony and Juan Cuadrado are different as they are already well established full internationals. They were primarily recruited within the context of the race for the Premier League title.

While Chelsea was also able to transfer other players – André Schürrle and Ryan Bertrand – at a higher price than expected, Manchester City was not able to do so. Chelsea could probably have got more from the permanent move of Fernando Torres. Nevertheless, his permanent move allowed the London club to save money for his salary.

The over-representation of deals between Italian clubs among the most under-paid transfers – Manolo Gabbiadini, Alfred Duncan, Daniele Gastaldello, Luca Antonelli and Gabriel Paletta – reflects the deep economic crisis of professional football in the country.

Issue number 97 of the CIES Football Observatory Big-5 Weekly Post focuses on the players born on or after 1.1.1992 who performed the best since the start of the season in six complementary areas of play (see explanations below). The analysis only includes footballers who played for at least 50% of championship minutes.

At the top of the rankings per area of the game are José Gímenez (Atlético Madrid) for rigour, Layvin Kurzawa (Monaco) for recovery, Marco Verratti (Paris St-Germain) for distribution, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) for take on, Isco Alarcón (Real Madrid) for chance creation and Neymar Júnior (Barcelona) for shooting.

Only two players are in the top 12 positions in three different rankings: Paulo Dybala (Palermo) for take on, chance creation and shooting, as well as Paul Pogba (Juventus) for distribution, take on and shooting. The following players are in the top 12 in two areas of the game:

  • José Gímenez (Atlético Madrid)
  • Marquinhos Aoás (Paris St-Germain)
  • Phil Jones (Manchester United)
  • Layvin Kurzawa (Monaco)
  • Marc Stendera (Eintracht Frankfurt)
  • Marco Verratti (Paris St-Germain)
  • Lucas Moura (Paris St-Germain)
  • Isco Alarcón (Real Madrid)
  • Koke Resurreción (Atlético Madrid)
  • Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)
  • Nabil Fekir (Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Paul-Georges Ntep (Stade Rennais)
  • Neymar Júnior (Barcelona)

CIES Football Observatory Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Shooting: ability to take advantage of goal opportunities through accurate shooting
  • Chance creation: ability to put teammates in a good position to score
  • Take on: ability to create dangerous situations by successfully challenging opponents
  • Distribution: ability to keep a hold on the game through efficient passing
  • Recovery: ability to minimise goal opportunities for opponents through proficient interception work
  • Rigour: ability to minimise goal opportunities for opponents through robust duelling

Issue number 96 of the CIES Football Observatory Big-5 Weekly Post presents the indicator of the average number of attempts per goal. In the top four places of the table are Spanish clubs : Real Madrid (5.4 shots per goal), Valencia (5.7), Atlético Madrid (6.0) and Barcelona (6.6).

The top ranked teams in the remaining big-5 leagues are Olympique Lyonnais (6.7 shots per goal, 5th place), Eintracht Frankfurt (6.9, 7th), Chelsea (7.0, 10th) and Palermo (7.5, 12th).

Conversely, at the bottom end of the table are Hambourg (22.9), Aston Villa (20.9), Torino (17.1), Granada (16.9) and LOSC Lille (15.2). These figures both reflect a lack of efficiency and the difficulty in taking up a favourable position to shoot. As a matter of example, Aston Villa scored only two goals out of 109 attempts in second halves!

All these statistics were calculated from data provided by our partners Opta Pro. They are to be found here.

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