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Transfer market inflation continues at big-5 league level

02.09.2014

Throughout the summer, the CIES Football Observatory has monitored transfers which have been completed at big-5 league level. As a result, we are now able to assess whether clubs have overpaid, underpaid or paid the correct market price for their new signings.

Our ‘right price’ has been calculated as the average between a player’s transfer value both before and after the deal. Significantly, the latter figure also considers the new contract duration of the footballer recruited. Both values have been calculated according to the exclusive CIES Football Observatory statistical model which incorporates nearly 1,500 fee paying transfers completed since 2009 (see below).

Our new data analysis has revealed that overall clubs paid on average 16% more than they invested in the five previous years for players with similar characteristics (add-ons included). This confirms the ongoing inflation trend of the transfer market at the top end of the football pyramid. The inflation trend is mainly due to the sums spent by a handful of wealthy clubs. This was notably the case for Manchester United with regard to Angel Di María (+30 million € between the right price and fee reported), for Paris St-Germain for David Luiz signing (+ 29 million €) and for Real Madrid in the case of James Rodríguez (+25 million €).

At the opposite end of the table, our analysis shows that the existence of buy-out clauses and/or non-sporting related issues allowed Barcelona to reduce their offer for Luis Suárez (-12 million € between the right price and money invested). The same holds true for Chelsea with Diego Costa’s signing (-10 million €). In absolute terms, Mario Balotelli was the most under-paid player (-16 million €).

The full picture for all players transferred for a fee of at least 10 million € (including add-ons) is presented in the 79th edition of the Big-5 Weekly Post. We also kindly remind you that our unique and simple online calculator to estimate the current transfer value of big-5 league players is freely accessible here.

CIES Football Observatory’s statistical model

The CIES Football Observatory academic team has developed an exclusive statistical model to assess the transfer value of players and predict transfer fees. This powerful econometrical model is based on the in-depth analysis of a sample of nearly 1,500 players transferred for a fee from big-5 league teams since the summer transfer window preceding the 2009/10 season. The statistical model developed includes a multitude of variables relating to the following areas: age, length of remaining contract, position, player performance at club level for the most recent and previous seasons, results of the clubs for which players are employed, as well as players’ international experience and results of national team represented.

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