Manchester billionaires dominate European squad value ranking


It may not come as a surprise that Premier League champions Manchester City and their local rivals Manchester United have the two most valuable squads in Europe, but the size of the gap between them and the rest is quite staggering.

The CIES Football Observatory in Switzerland have produced a study of all 98 squads playing in Europe’s top five leagues: the Premier League (England), LaLiga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France).

The CIES used its bespoke algorithm to calculate the transfer values of every individual player in each squad, to estimate how much each club would potentially recoup in transfer fees if all of their players were to leave.

For example, should Manchester City suddenly decide to make every single player on their first-team roster available for transfer and successfully move them all on for the fees determined by CIES, they would recoup more than €1.2 billion ($1.47bn/£1.08bn).

After scouring the CIES ranking, here are the key points to know (all CIES’ individual player valuations can be searched here, all fees are listed in euros for consistency).

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1. Manchester billionaires

According to another recent CIES report, City and United boast the two most expensively assembled squads in Europe’s top five leagues. City are the only club to have invested over €1bn in transfer fees on the players at Pep Guardiola’s disposal in 2021-22. The most recent arrival is Jack Grealish, who signed from Aston Villa for a British-record fee of €117 million and joined stars such as Kevin De Bruyne (€63m), Raheem Sterling (€57m) and Ruben Dias (€68m) who all cost City big money.

United’s most high-profile piece of transfer business in the summer window was the sensational return of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Juventus for a transfer fee which could rise to €23m. Ronaldo joined a squad featuring expensive signings such as Paul Pogba (€105m), Bruno Fernandes (€64.5m) and Harry Maguire (€94m), but has wasted little time in re-establishing his status as the main man at Old Trafford.

So it’ll reassuring for the big-spending Manchester rivals to know that they top the table for estimated squad value, with both clubs boasting well over €1bn in talent — City with €1.28bn and United with €1.21bn. Based on CIES’ calculations, both teams would recoup more money than they spent on transfers, with United standing to make a profit of almost €350m.

2. Premier League podium

While no other club can claim to have broken the 10-figure barrier for estimated squad value, Chelsea are edging close to that mark and complete a 1-2-3 for the Premier League. The reigning European champions, who beat City in last season’s Champions League final, have an estimated squad value of €946m.

According to CIES, Chelsea’s big summer signing Romelu Lukaku could potentially move for a transfer fee greater than the €115m the Blues invested in him in the summer if he were to move again in January, while their Champions League final match-winner Kai Havertz is now valued at close to double the €73m fee for which they signed him in 2020.

3. Barcelona still have money in the bank

Despite their widely publicised financial plight, Barcelona are the highest-ranked club in LaLiga with an estimated squad value of €896m, placing them fourth overall. The CIES algorithm places a heavy emphasis on talented young players, so breakthrough star such as Ansu Fati (who is valued by CIES at €40m-50m) and Pedri (€120m-150m) bump up the total.

As you might expect, Real Madrid are the next Spanish club on the overall list, coming in at seventh overall with an estimated squad value of €846m thanks to their own clutch of young stars like Vinicius Junior (€120m-150m) and veterans like Karim Benzema (€40m-50m).

4. The usual suspects

There are few surprises when it comes to the leaders in the rest of Europe’s top five leagues in terms of their squad values, either. Bayern Munich are top in the Bundesliga (€890m), Paris Saint-Germain are miles ahead in Ligue 1 (€808m) and Juventus take top spot in Serie A (€618m).

There are no Italian teams in the overall top 10, with Juve highest in 11th place. Inter Milan (€469m) and AC Milan (€434m) are 17th and 18th respectively, narrowly below Leicester City (€480m) in 16th.

Just for the record, Monaco can claim the second most valuable squad in France’s top division with an estimated total of just €335m — meaning that even if you removed Lionel Messi (€50-70m), Neymar (€50-70m) and Kylian Mbappe €90-120m) from consideration then PSG would still have Ligue 1’s most valuable squad.

5. The Premier League is way ahead

The Premier League can claim to be the most valuable league across European football, based on the findings of the report.

According to CIES, the English top tier has a combined estimated transfer value (of all players in all teams) of a whopping €8.9bn. That’s a rough average of €445m per club.

The top three of the overall squad value ranking is dominated by English clubs with Manchester City top, Manchester United second and Chelsea completing the podium. Further down, Liverpool occupy the sixth spot while Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are just outside the top 10, in 13th and 14th place respectively.

LaLiga is second (€5.3bn overall, €263m per club), Bundesliga is third (€4.5bn, €251m), Serie A is fourth (€4.4bn, €222m) and Ligue 1 is fifth (€3.4bn, 172€m).

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