By Sir Hardly Anyone
Arsenal, of course, have been widely publicised (and criticised with the old “can’t win anything with kids” jibe) as having the youngest squad and smallest squad in the league.
So we thought we’d have a look at the figures provided by Transfermarkt and see just how true that is. And while we were at it we thought we would see if the value of Arsenal’s players has increased or decreased since the summer transfer window shut.
First a spot of background. In terms of the squad size Arsenal does have the smallest with just 23 players listed although that honour is shared with two other clubs: Brighton and Hove, and Manchester City. The largest squads are Manchester United and Nottingham Forest both with 30 players listed. So on the basis of that snapshot, smaller squads do better. Although counteracting that general rule, Newcastle have a squad of 28 and they are doing ok.
But contrary to some comments about Arsenal having a “small squad” Arsenal have not used the smallest number of players this season. The lowest user of players is Crystal Palace with 20 players used this season. Arsenal are seventh with 23 players used. Top of that league is Fulham with 27 players used. In other words Fulham have used 35% more players than Palace.
Generally using more players is a sign of (or side-effect of) not doing very well. The six clubs that have used the most players so far this season are Bournemouth (25 players, 14th in the league), Forest (25 players, 18th in the league, Everton (26 players, 17th in the league). Southampton (26 players, 19th in the league), Wolverhampton (26 players, 20th in the league) and Fulham (27 players, 9th in the league). So using lots of players is normally (although not in the case of Fulham) a sign of failure.
Of course, the squad and the starting XI are not quite the same, so it is worth checking the age of those who start. Arsenal have the youngest starting XI (24.1 years) and Fulham the oldest (27.9 years).
By way of comparison at the other end of the scale the oldest squads are Everton and Liverpool (average age 27), Newcastle United (28), Manchester United (30) and Nottingham Forest (32).
However perhaps the most interesting of all these figures is the value of the squad and how it changes. Again taking figures from Transfermarkt we can see how clubs have changed between the start of the season (taken as 15 August 2022) and now.
The most valuable squad both then and now is that of Manchester City, currently valued at €1.09bn – an 8.3% rise in value between 15 August and 20 November.
The second most valuable squad is Liverpool – but across the season their squad’s value has declined by €3.00m, although the number of players has stayed the same.
In terms of squad value, Arsenal are 5th in the table with a squad worth €672.70m That squad has grown in value by 11.3%.
Now of course squads can grow in value in two ways – one by buying in more valuable players and one by improving those players. So to avoid that element of confusion we can measure the value of the squad as of 1 September (the end of the transfer window) and now. This shows the increase in value of the squad as a result of the way the team is playing.
And on this basis the clear winners are Arsenal with a squad value growth of €102.50m. To be clear, without buying any more players, the value of the squad has risen by over €100m, because of their performances.
Arsenal are followed by Newcastle United (up €83.50m) and Manchester City (up €79.05m). The squads of Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City and Aston Villa are all deemed to have dropped in value since the start of the season.
Arsenal’s most valuable player according to Transfermarkt, is Saka at €90m. Second is Gabriel Jesus on €75m, showing that the valuers are considering not just his goalscoring but his extraordinary contribution to the forward line. Odegaard is third on €60m, equal with Martinelli.
And it is interesting to see how much these players cost Arsenal.
.Not bad business.
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