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By Tony Attwood
Meandering around the multiplicity of figures that appear day by day concerning football teams, I came across one that I had not contemplated before. The 100 most valuable clubs in world football.
What would you expect? Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City? Spanish clubs, Italian clubs?
Well in fact six of the top ten most valuable clubs in world football (and this is the value of the clubs, not the transfer value of the players, although that is included in the calculation) has Manchester City top with a valuation of €1.26bn followed by Arsenal in second place on €1.10bn.
Third comes Paris Saint Germain, and then Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur at
Obviously these valuations take into account prospective future earnings and the value of property, as well as the debts.
In terms of the market value of players Arsenal are in third place in the chart behind Mancheseter City and Real Madrid, which I must say surprised me – but is a rather pleasing thought.
To give a comparison the value of Tottenham Hotspur football club in this analysis is placed at €747.60m, below bankrupt Barcelona which despite its ludicrous loans situation is still valued at €862m.
Of course I’m not responsible for working any of this out, and I must admit I’ve not dug around to investigate the workings that generated these results, but I am sure that in terms of valuation Arsenal has not that long been in second place in the world value table for clubs. I suspect the owners must be rather chuffed.
Looking a little further I found a few other random facts that I hadn’t realised before. For example, Arsenal do not have the youngest players in the Premier League this season, but they are not far off. Three clubs have an average age of player used this season at under 25: Arsenal, Burnley and Chelsea. Which of course indicates at once that age isn’t everything.
These ages are calculated across the full squad – and it is interesting how different the approach of different clubs is, not just in age but also in the size of the squad and the number of players used.
Although we like to think of the squad size as being 25 players, that is of course only players aged over 21 on the designated day each season. Under 21s can be included in unlimited numbers. But as the figures show, large squads do not equate with success.
Burnley has the largest squad of players nominated as being in the first-team squad (an amazing 33 according to Transfermarkt). After them come Nottingham Forest with 32, Manchester United 31, Chelsea and Sheffield United with 30, and then a whole host of clubs with 29 players including Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur.
At the other end of the table we have Manchester City who have not even managed to reach the permitted 25 over-age players – they have just 24 on their list. Arsenal are on 25.
But of course that is just the total number of players in the first team sqaud, as submitted to the Premier League at the start of the season with under age players added as they are used.
Struggling clubs tend to use the most players: Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United have each used 27 players, with Bournemouth on 25. But then so have Manchester City used 25 – although as I noted before they only registered 24 in the squad – which suggests they slipped in an extra youngster after registration. Their squad details and players used list is here. Do write in with the answer if you work it out.
Arsenal’s position is that in terms of squad size they are down by the bottom of the chart with only Manchester City below them. In terms of players used Arsenal are pretty much mid-table with 23 players involved. Top of that chart is Nottingham Forest having used 27 and bottom is West Ham who seem to avoid all injuries this season, and thus used only 20 players. The oldest team in terms of average age through the season is Fulham (28.6 years), and the youngest is Chelsea with 23.7 years average. Arsenal are just two from bottom with 24.8 years average.
Clearly having a young team and being successful (as Arsenal are being third in the table just one point behind the leaders after just under one-third of the season gone) is a good sign for the future.
Having a small squad, also tends to go with success, although it could be that the number of players used is smaller because the squad is doing well, rather than the squad is doing well because fewer players are used. The five clubs with 30 plus players used are all struggling somewhat: Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Chelsea and Sheffield United.
There is one other question that fascinated me in looking at this – how different in terms of these statistics is Arsenal now, from the Arsenal in 2018/19 – the full season of Unai Emery at the club.
Certainly the squad is much smaller – Emery had a squad of 42 players in his one full season although that came down slightly to 38 the following season during which he was sacked and Mikel Arteta brought in.
The number of players used in 2018/19 was 28, last season it was 26. The average age of the squad was 24.9 years, now it is a little older at 25.2 years. But in terms of the average age of the starting XI last season it was 24.5 compared to 26.7 – so quite a bit younger overall.
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