The big six are still the big six when it comes to squad values

By Sir Hardly Anyone

As we know Arsenal has the youngest set of first team players in the League.  But who has the costliest?

The Football Observatory has just produced a chart showing how much each team in the Premier League is currently worth.  So it is not recording how much each club’s players cost, but rather how much they are currently worth on the open market, according to the Observatory’s estimations.

Obviously all estimations are a spot of guesswork because for any sale you need a club willing to sell and a club willing to buy, but nevertheless it is I think quite an interesting analysis.  Here are the clubs at the top of the list, and it is in fact a list of the big six.  We are sitting in sixth.

  • Manchester City: 1280 €M

On this basis the Arsenal squad is worth just 44% of the Manchester City squad, and 46% of the Manchester United squad.   But Arsenal have a points total that is 71% of the Manchester City total so buying players to get more points (which is obviously why they are bought) is not as simple as those who demand that we buy, buy, buy would like to suggest.  On this basis 

But I wondered, does spending equal points.

To work this out I thought I would note the value from the Football Observatory of each team in the Premier League, and then look at the number of points the club has gained this season, and so be able to divide one into the other to see how much each point has cost the club.

Then as a concluding thought I have worked out where each club would stand in an efficiency chart by working out the position each club would have in a cost per point league.

Thus a club with 10 points which had spent €M50 would have spent €M5 per point.   The lower dpwm the table each club is in the “cost per point” position table at the end, the more efficient its spending has been.

Therefore every point Brentford has got has cost thus far 1 million euros while every point we have got this season has cost 12 million euros.

We can also see if the amount spent does relate to position through the fourth column: €M Exp pos.  Chelsea, who are top of the league spent the third most amount of money, Liverpool who are second spent the fourth largest amount

Exp pos is the position in a league table based on value of the players

Cost per point: The value of the squad divided by the number of points.  The lower this figure the more efficient the club’s work in the transfer market – although of course this figure will change over time depending on how well the new players settle in.

Cost per point league position: How efficient the club has been.  Brentford are top as each point has cost them under 13 million euuros, compared with Arsenal where the cost per point is over 56 million euros.

Lge pos Team Pts €M Exp pos Value €M Cost per point €M Cost per point  league position
1 Chelsea 16 3 946 59.12 14
2 Liverpool 15 4 868 57.86 13
3 Manchester City 14 1 1280 91.42 19
4 Manchester United 14 2 1214 86.71 18
5 Everton 14 10 326 23.28 4
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 14 14 232 16.57 2
7 Brentford 12 17 153 12.75 1
8 Tottenham Hotspur 12 5 568 47.33 10
9 West Ham United 11 8 337 30.63 6
10 Aston Villa 10 9 332 33.20 8
11 Arsenal 10 6 563 56.30 12
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 11 296 32.88 7
13 Leicester City 8 7 480 60.00 15
14 Crystal Palace 7 16 169 24.14 5
15 Watford 7 19 128 18.29 3
16 Leeds United 6 12 291 48.50 11
17 Southampton 4 13 248 62.00 16
18 Burnley 3 18 137 45.67 9
19 Newcastle United 3 15 215 71.66 17
20 Norwich City 1 20 124 124.00 20

The winners at the moment are clearly Brentford, Everton and Brighton, all having spent lower amounts of money but achieving at the moment higher positions in the league.

The other measure used here is how much each point gained in the league this season has cost the club.  Obviously this value will go down as the season progresses and teams get more points.

Brentford as we might have guessed are clearly the most efficient club at the moment spending just €M12.75 per point.  The least efficient is Norwich City, whose position is harmed by having only one point.  Had they gained two points they would leap up to 16th with one point €M62.

But leaving Norwich City aside the most profligate club at present is Manchester City who have spent 91.42 million euros for each point gained.

Arsenal are 12th in this regard having spent 56.3 million euros per point gained.

Now obviously as more points are scored but no more players are bought (at least until after Christmas) the cost per point goes down but this snapshot gives an idea of who might be feeling pleased with themselves thus far.

There is another issue revealed here as well.  There is an eternal call for Arsenal to buy more players, despite the fact that as we have seen across the years, not all players repay their value in the squad.

Arsenal spent the sixth largest amount of money last summer, but are 11th in the league.

But that may not mean the club was a total failure in the transfer market.  Arsenal bought young players, giving us, as we recently noted, the youngest playing XI in most games this season.   That suggests the players’ values will increase, whereas clubs that buy players aged say 28 or above, will probably see their value decline. 

Also of course Arsenal probably won’t sell these players, and so the chances of success will increase.

4 Replies to “The big six are still the big six when it comes to squad values”

  1. You may recall that I did a similar analysis a few years ago to demonstrate the managerial expertise of the manager a proportion of fans demanded should be sacked i.e. one Arsene Wenger. Unfortunately, I cannot recall what year I did it but it is worth recounting a few of the facts that were revealed.

    My study was of clubs over a full ten year period and based upon the number of premier league points per £1m of net spend. The results were a little as expected but I was also stunned by some of what came to light.

    Chelsea and Man City both gained between 1.0 and 1.5 points per £1m having both spent vast sums of money in order to compete with the best.

    The media darling that was Alex Ferguson did indeed prove to be better than a succession of managers at the other two clubs and, if my memory serves me right, he gained between 6 and 7 points for each £1m. (Interestingly Man U went for Moyes as manager after Fergie left which was interesting because Everton were the second most successful in this regard having gained about 26 points per £1m on net spend.)

    No other club/manager came close to Everton apart from one Arsene Wenger who had amassed an incredible 45 points for every £1m of net spend over the ten year period.

    When I mention these facts to fans whose clubs ‘buy trophies’, they rapidly dismiss them, I suspect because it doesn’t fit how they wish to see things. Nevertheless, they are facts.

    It took quite some time to carry out the study so if anybody chooses to dispute this, I’m happy to listen once you have the stats to back up your argument.

  2. This is fun to look at, I guess, but absolutely pointless in reality.

    You’re looking at squad values and treating it like money spent, which doesn’t account for homegrown players, players signed very cheap, or players bought at a young age and developed. It alos doesn’t account for outgoing player sales. Guys like Mount, Christensen, Foden, Alex-Arnold, etc cost their teams next to nothing. Ronaldo’s transfer fee was minuscule compared to what the observatory is going to value him at. You’ve got Chelsea as the most expensive, per point squad in the league right now. The reality is that Chelsea’s net spend over the past five seasons is just 133 million Euros ( Ours is 249. All you’re doing is looking at what website values the current squad at, you’re figuring out absolutely nothing having to do with money spent, and can’t really form any conclusions about the effectiveness of spending with this.

    This data would make an interesting exercise if we compared clubs’ net spending with what the observatory believes their squad is actually worth. You’d probably get a better idea of who is actually using their money well.

  3. I apologize, I read the chart incorrectly. Chelsea should be third in “spending” per point according to the chart in the article. I think my point still stands, though. Treating something that is not spending as “spending” is pointless. Look at the valuations of the squads and compare them to actual spending to get anything useful from these valuations.

    That said, Arsenal just spent heavily on young players, hoping to buy before their values skyrocket. Arsenal’s data in that chart would probably be a bit underwhelming, and would likely need an asterisk.

  4. The exercise would stand up if it were squad salary : points gained.

    player costs are effectively diminishing capital assets.

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