How Squad Values allow an near perfect prediction of league position

by Andrew Crawshaw

Tony picked out some headlines from the newly published Football Observatory article, I also saw it and thought the analysis looked interesting.  I am not going to go over the aspects that Tony covered but concentrate on the last table in the article, the overall squad value.

The article compares the squad values of all teams in the English, Spanish, German, French and Italian top football leagues – 98 teams in total and has sums (in millions of Euros) varying from Barcelona (682.0) to Cordoba (8.8).  I have separated the teams into their leagues in the following tables and added in columns showing the squad value as a percentage of the league total and the difference between actual finishing position and expected position based on value ranking.  I then pick out a few key points from each set of figures.

The final column is the difference between the clubs position in the league at the end of the season and their position in the squad value table.  Thus Arsenal are second in this table and were third in the league, so their difference rating is -1.

English Premier League

Team Squad Value (€m) Percent of League Value Difference in finishing position
Chelsea 617.8 16.17% 0
Arsenal 466.1 12.20% -1
Liverpool 381.5 9.99% -3
Man City 374.7 9.81% 2
Man United 337.7 8.84% 1
Tottenham 313.9 8.22% 1
Southampton 197.6 5.17% 0
Everton 185.9 4.87% -3
Swansea 147.8 3.87% 1
Newcastle 106.9 2.80% -5
Aston Villa 94.6 2.48% -6
Stoke City 85.1 2.23% 3
West Ham 84.5 2.21% 1
Crystal Palace 82.0 2.15% 4
Leicester 81.8 2.14% 1
Sunderland 69.7 1.82% 0
WBA 66.8 1.75% 4
Hull City 44.0 1.15% 0
QPR 41.3 1.08% -1
Burnley 39.8 1.04% 1

Key Points

  1. The Chelsea squad value was approximately 16 times that of Burnley and approximately 70% of the total league value was concentrated in the top 7 teams.
  2. The top seven teams in terms of squad value finished in the top seven places in the league and the bottom three in terms of value were relegated – that’s a pretty good correlation in my opinion.
  3. Aston Villa and Newcastle performed far worse than their squad values indicated – Newcastle manager now sacked (Villa to follow suit?)
  4. Other notable underperforming teams were Liverpool and Everton each by three places.
  5. Palace and West Brom outperformed their squad values significantly, Stoke to a slightly lesser degree.

Spanish La Liga

Team Squad Value (€m) Percent of League Value Difference in finishing position
Barcelona 682.0 27.73% 0
Real Madrid 545.1 22.16% 0
Athletico Madrid 255.1 10.37% 0
Valencia 171.5 6.97% 0
Sevilla 129.9 5.28% 0
Athletico Bilbao 123.1 5.00% -1
Villareal 100.9 4.10% 1
Real Sociadad 90.4 3.68% -4
Celta Vigo 79.3 3.22% 1
Malaga 71.3 2.90% 1
Espanyol 55.0 2.24% 1
Grenada 33.0 1.34% -5
Levante 23.1 0.94% -1
Elche 19.9 0.81% 1
Getafe 17.4 0.71% 0
Almeria 14.8 0.60% -3
Rayo Vallecano 14.6 0.59% 6
Deportiva La Coruna 12.5 0.51% 2
Eibar 11.9 0.48% -1
Cordoba 8.8 0.36% 1

Key Points

  1. The Barcelona squad value was approximately 80 times that of the lowest placed team Cordoba and 70% of the League value was concentrated in the top five teams.
  2. As with the Premier League the top seven and bottom three places in the league corresponded with the squad values so again a good correlation
  3. Grenada (by 5 places), Real Sociadad (4) and Almeria (3) underperformed significantly
  4. Rayo Vallecano were the only team to significantly outperform their value index – by a massive 6 places look out for their coach Francisco Jemez Martin being targeted by a higher ranked team somewhere in Europe

French League 1

Team Squad Value (€m) Percent of League Value Difference in finishing position
PSG 285.8 22.72% 0
Monaco 146.0 11.61% -1
Olympique Lyonnais 143.1 11.38% 1
Marseille 97.7 7.77% 0
Bordeaux 67.7 5.38% -1
St-Etiene 57.2 4.55% 1
Lille 54.8 4.36% -1
Toulouse 53.4 4.25% -9
Lorient 53.3 4.24% -7
Rennes 49.3 3.92% 1
Montpellier 35.6 2.83% 4
Nice 33.9 2.70% 1
Nantes 33.1 2.63% -1
Reims 27.2 2.16% -1
Guingamp 26.6 2.11% 5
Caen 22.6 1.80% 3
Bastia 22.1 1.76% 5
Metz 20.5 1.63% -1
Lens 15.7 1.25% -1
Evian TG 12.2 0.97% 2

Key Points

  1. PSG had a squad value 23 times that of the lowest placed team Evian and 70% of the league value was concentrated in the top 8 teams.
  2. The top five teams and the bottom three by value finished in their expected league positions – again a pretty good correlation, albeit not quite so impressive as in England or Spain.
  3. Toulouse and Lorient need to look at changing their managers, both massively underperformes.
  4. The managers of Montpellier (Roland Courbois), Guingamp (Jocelyn Gourvennac) and Bastia (Ghislain Printant) should be congratulated for outperforming the index

German Bundesliga

Team Squad Value (€m) Percent of League Value Difference in finishing position
Bayern Munich 378.9 23.77% 0
Dortmund 175.8 11.03% -5
Wolfsburg 162.1 10.17% 1
Leverkusen 155.7 9.77% 0
Skalke 113.3 7.11% -1
M’gladbach 108.9 6.83% 3
Hoffenheim 76.0 4.77% -1
Werder Bremen 51.1 3.21% -2
Koln 48.6 3.05% -3
Stuttgart 46.5 2.92% -4
Mainz 45.5 2.85% 0
Frankfurt 40.0 2.51% 3
Augsburg 39.4 2.47% 8
Freiburg 38.7 2.43% -3
Hannover 36.7 2.30% 2
Hartha Berlin 34.7 2.18% 1
Hamburg 25.9 1.62% 1
Paderborn 16.3 1.02% 0

Key Points

  1. Bayern Munich has a squad value approximately 23 times that of the lowest club Padderborn. 70% of the overall league value was concentrated in the top 7 teams.
  2. The correlation between Squad value and league positions was distorted by Dortmund who massively underperformed by five places and Augsburg who outperformed the index by a staggering eight places.
  3. Excluding Dortmund, the places at the top of the League were pretty much in line with expectations as were those at the bottom, Paderborn finishing bottom. Freiburg were also being relegated despite having a higher squad value than three other teams.
  4. Dortmund are looking for a new manager – perhaps they should look at Markus Weinzierl of Augsburg.

Italian Serie A

Team Squad Value (€m) Percent of League Value Difference in finishing position
Juventus 308.3 15.66% 0
Napoli 231.8 11.77% -3
Roma 220.6 11.20% 1
Internazionale 168.9 8.58% -4
Lazio 155.7 7.91% 2
Fiorentina 104.5 5.31% 2
Milan 102.8 5.22% -3
Palermo 87.6 4.45% -3
Torino 81.8 4.15% 0
Udinese 81.2 4.12% -6
Sampdoria 75.7 3.84% 4
Sassuolo 73.4 3.73% 0
Genoa 71.1 3.61% 7
Atalanta 49.8 2.53% -3
Empoli 38.8 1.97% 0
Cagliari 36.0 1.83% -2
Parma 26.4 1.34% -3
Chievo 19.7 1.00% 4
Casena 17.7 0.90% 0
Hellas Verona 17.0 0.86% 7

Key Points

  1. Juventus (308.3) had a squad value of 18 times that of the lowest value team Verona (17.0). 70% of the league value was concentrated in the top nine teams.
  2. Four of the top six league places were filled by the likely suspects based on squad values as were five of the bottom seven.
  3. There was a far greater deviation from the expected league positions based on squad value than in the other leagues analysed. Verona (17.0) in 13th place behind Sassuolo (73.4) and three places ahead of Udinese (81.2).  Fiorentina (104.5) ahead of Napoli (231.8) and Inter (168.9) in 8th place behind both Genoa (71.1) and Sampdoria (75.7).
  4. The Genoa and Verona managers will have increased their reputations, those of Udinese and Inter should be looking over their shoulders.


  1. The methodology of working out the player and hence squad values gives a surprisingly good correlation with teams actual league positions across the five leagues
  2. 70% of the total league value is represented by the top 5 (La Liga), 7 (Premier League and Bundesliga), 8 (Lige 1) and 9 (Serie A) clubs in the division.
  3. In England and Italy the highest values squads were about 18 times that of the lowest, in France and Germany the figure was 23 times and in Spain the figure was 80.

A footnote from Tony:

I’m really grateful to Andrew for this analysis which reveals just how non-competitive the league is in Spain, as if we didn’t know!  But it also gave me one other thought.

Take a player like Coquelin.  One year ago his value was probably listed at zero.   Transfer Market now has it listed at £3.96m.  If he carries on in 2015/16 as he did in the second half of 2014/15 that will rise dramatically.

What this means, I guess, is that valuation follows success, so in this regard we might expect the difference column to be zero throughout.  It means that even a change of three places is quite dramatic.

Anniversary of the day

12 June 1980: Clive Allen was signed by Arsenal from QPR in one of the strangest transfers ever.  He never played for Arsenal in the league (although he played in three pre-season friendlies) and moved to Crystal Palace in a swap deal for Kenny Sampson before the season began.

The complete Arsenal on this day index is now here with around 5000 major events in Arsenal’s history recorded.  May and June recently fully updated.

18 Replies to “How Squad Values allow an near perfect prediction of league position”

  1. This all seems to depend on an arbitrary valuation being provided. 3 million for Coquelin? Given his performances in the latter half of the season and a new contract, this is clearly incorrect. Also, how does Arsenals squad value exceed that of Man City?

  2. Clockendrider,
    I really don’t know how they arrived at the individual player valuations and readily admit that those for some individual players look decidedly iffy. They seem to rate young, full internationals with relatively long contracts far more highly than other considerations. Aggregating up to squad level (25 players),would seem to even out some of the anomalies. To be honest with you I was extremely surprised at the degree of correlation between squad value and league position. Compared with us the City squad is older which explains their valuations being lower.

  3. Admin, its me from another device.

    Very interesting piece of work. I read Tony’s earlier article, so I understand how the teams sere valued. One wouldn’t agree wholesale with the method but this analysis gives it some appreciable credit.

    Tony, the Transfer Market values are hardly ever the eventual purchase amount. Several EPL clubs would happily jump at Coquelin @ 12/14m!!

  4. I had a very quick look at the report but it’s far too vague in it’s definitions to be taken seriously but has raised 2 points;
    1) Is jenks in our squad or WHUs squad? I assume he’s in ours as there wouldn’t be a hope in hell of Chavs being valued 150m more than us without including the 400 players they have our on loan. Their 1st team is 16-/+ odd seniors and some boys.
    2)Don’t you think that they’ve ‘moulded’ their figures to suit the final tables?

  5. @ Andrew,

    The valuation depends on the league finish, isnt it. If ARSENAL finish better, with young players ie, our player valuation shoots up. Hence the low (ish) place for Man City in that table.

    I think, this should be an indicator of where we will be heading instead of where we finished.

  6. @Andy Mac

    Just for clarification the value of players on loan is not included in the squad values . I was surprised to see that Arsenal only had two players in the top 40 whereas some 7 from Chelsea were included

    I don’t know if you saw during the week but we had 79 players on contract at Chelsea iit seasons end and yes as I have said before I am far from comfortable with the number of players e have out on loan but what did surprise me was that Arsenal had 66 players on contract.

  7. Interesting. I think it would be more relevant if the valuations were of the squad before the season. So a value before/value after/position would probably be relevant to a prediction.

  8. @Gord,

    I saw that Arsenal and the agent were charged, but what did they do to get charged? I haven’t been able to find that anywhere.

  9. Thanks MikeT.
    I’ve had a better look and have no doubt that it’s complete bollocks.
    The valuations don’t make sense. How can Willian be 38m but Ramsey be only 32. Oscar 47 (where the hell did 47 come from) but Ozil is 34. Really it’s ridiculous. Our shadowed neighbours would be pleased that Kane is 60m but everyone else would be gobsmacked that a one season success lad would be valued like that…..

  10. Jerry

    The only thing I read, was at TheFA. I wouldn’t trust Guardian, Daily Mail, Metro, Mirror, Daily Star, ESPN or any of the others Google brought out to report this issues honestly and completely. I guess I was looking for The Economist, New York Times or similar for sources.

    The agent has to reply about 1 week earlier than Arsenal does. It is possible they both were to report at the same time originally, but Arsenal apparently asked for an extension.

    But I don’t know what it is they say is actually wrong.

  11. Not knowing their processes, I wonder if to some extent they looked at the performance of the teams and then did the valuations. 😉

  12. A good point, BUT one should firt of all, check-out mr05_eng.pdf?

    Figure 2: Dangerousness ranking, big-5 league, the Arsenal are ranked No.9

    Figure 3: Grip on the game ranking, the ten most dangerous big-5 league teams, the Arsenal are ranked No.4.

    Figure 4: Duelling ranking, the ten most dangerous big-5 league teams, the Arsenal are No.2!

    Figure 5: Set play ranking, the ten most dangerous big-5 league teams, the Arsenal are ranked No.6.

    Read further, and one can understand the methodology!

    What is the length, of a bit of string?

  13. Andrew, one suggestion I would have is to look not just at league finishing position, but at points won by each team. For one example, while you note that Augsburg’s finishing position was quite high relative to their resources, they finished with 49 points — much closer to relegated HSV (35 points) than champions Bayern (79 points).

  14. As the comments above suggest, this would only really be relevent if the prediction was made at the start of the season. The better a player does throughout the season the more his value goes up. a relegated team will obviously not have a high valuation.

  15. Pet peeve of mine…it’s ‘Atletico’ Madrid, not ‘Athletico’ Madrid, and ‘Athletic’ Bilbao (or Athletic Club), not Athletico Bilbao.

  16. OT: Twice

    I continue to look for a journalistic reporting of the Calum Chambers signing I can trust, and none have materialised.


    That Germany won by 10-0 over Ivory Coast might be “expected” in this expanded WWC format for 2015. We have Cameroon beating Ecuador 6-0. Was anyone expecting Switzerland to beat Ecuador 10-1?

    My thoughts are that perhaps this was too early to go to a 24 team format.

  17. Gord, Yes it’s far too early to expand the world cup but that’s one of the bribes that septic bladder gave to the minor nations (football-wise) to get their vote.

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