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19/20 Summer Transfer Window Review


Least efficient: Real Madrid

For the 2019 Summer Transfer Window, Real Madrid are the least efficient team with a total negative variance of £190.54m. With significant overspends on Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo, even the sales of Marcos Llorente, Raul de Tomas, Theo Hernandez and Keylor Navas (all of which produced positive variances) did little to address the Capital side’s inefficiency this transfer window.

After Zidane’s return to Real Madrid last season, it was always known that Florentino Perez would hand the Frenchman a blank chequebook in order to reinvigorate an ageing Los Blancos side. However, the numbers reveal that the Club’s eagerness to return to the summit of European football has led to considerable overspends in the transfer market.

None of Real’s new signings have made any significant impact on the first-team squad so far this season and after Saturday’s defeat to Mallorca, one more poor result could lead to the end of Zidane’s reign for a second time.

Most efficient: Eintracht Frankfurt

The crown for the most efficient team in the 2019 Summer Transfer Window goes to Eintracht Frankfurt after generating a positive variance of £100.93m. Large positive variances were generated by the sales of two of the Club’s key men last season, Sebastien Haller to West Ham and Luka Jovic to Real Madrid. However, the money generated from these sales has been invested efficiently throughout the squad.

Filip Kostic, Martin Hinteregger, Dominik Kohr and Kevin Trapp all arrived at the Club for fees below their respective market values whilst Sebastian Rode and Bas Dost only attributed minor overspends.

At the time of writing, Eintracht Frankfurt currently sit in 8th place although only two points behind top of the table Borussia Monchengladbach. Current form appears to show that despite the huge transfer revenues generated from the sales of two key players, the team is as strong, if not stronger than the previous season. Therefore, Eintracht Frankfurt look set to be in contention for a European position in the Bundesliga once again.


Least efficient: Joao Felix

The least efficient transfer of the most recent transfer window was Atletico Madrid’s purchase of Joao Felix from SL Benfica which produced a negative variance of £111.09m. The main factors behind the significant variation between the player’s calculated market value and his eventual transfer fee are his age and inexperience in senior football.

With just one season of first-team football under his belt, Felix represents a huge financial risk for the Capital side and being just 19 years of age, the likelihood of his progress being hampered by injury or poor form is much greater. However, the player has shown huge potential in just one season, excelling in domestic, continental and international competition. Therefore, whilst this transfer contributes a huge ‘overspend’ currently, his value could easily rise to two or three times that of Atletico’s initial investment in 5-10 years.

Despite the huge perceived overspend on Joao Felix, Atletico Madrid had a total negative variance of £24.93m which reveals that the rest of the Club’s business was extremely efficient. This was mainly due to the sales of Lucas Hernandez, Antoine Griezmann and Rodri as all three players were sold for fees much greater than their calculated market values.

Most efficient: Nicolas Pepe

Whilst SL Benfica’s sale of Joao Felix was the most efficient transfer of the window, this move has already been discussed in the section above. Therefore, the second most efficient transfer of the 2019 Summer Transfer Window was LOSC Lille’s sale of Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal.

Pepe made 41 appearances in Ligue 1 last season and, at 24 years of age, is entering the peak of his career. However, due to Ligue 1’s relatively weak stature in comparison to the Premier League, these factors alone will not produce a substantial valuation. In this instance, international caps will have a greater influence on a player’s value.

At the time of transfer, Pepe had made 12 international appearances for the Ivory Coast yet, as Ivory Coast are currently ranked outside of the top 50 of the FIFA World Rankings, these appearances provide no additional value to the player.

For these reasons, Nicolas Pepe was valued at just £6.07m at the time of transfer which is £65.93m below the £72m fee received by LOSC Lille for the player.

Arsenal were also found to be the least efficient Premier League Club over the 2019 Summer Transfer Window, accumulating a total negative variance of £153.07m. This was caused by considerable ‘overspends’ on both William Saliba and Kieran Tierney as well as the sale of David Ospina for a fee significantly below the player’s calculated market value.


Next, leagues as a whole will be considered to determine which Country is currently operating the most efficiently in the transfer market. To demonstrate this further, a new feature, ‘efficiency tables’ have been included below. This provides a different look to the seven leagues considered, ranking the clubs by transfer efficiency alone.

As now expected, the Premier League was once again the most inefficient of the top European leagues, conducting £2,078.21m worth of business with a negative variance of £590.52m, or 28%. La Liga completed a comparable total value of transfers, totalling £2,033.54m. That being said, whilst La Liga also produced a negative variance, this was much lower than the Premier League at £339.57m, or 17%.

The Bundesliga completed just more than half the value of transfers seen in both the Premier League and La Liga, with a total value of £1,094.76m. The Bundesliga also became the first major European league to show a positive variance although the value of this is minimal at £18.52m or 2%. In Serie A, the total value of transfers completed came to £1,640.76m, producing a negative variance of £85.15m, or 5%. Meanwhile, transfers totalling £1,296.86m were completed in Ligue 1. These transfers produced a positive variance of £77.84m, or 6%.

Two new leagues have been added into consideration this year, the Russian Premier League and Liga NOS. In the Russian Premier League, transfers totalling £238.32m were completed. These transfers produced a negative variance £100.19m, or 42%. This takes the Russian League straight to the bottom of all calculated European leagues in terms of transfer efficiency. In contrast, Liga Nos completed transfers with a total value of £450.00m and produced a positive variance of £153.27m, or 34%. This makes Liga NOS the most efficient European league.

These leagues are ranked in the table below, prior to the previously stated efficiency tables.

RankLeagueTransfer Variance (m)Percentage of Variance
1Liga NOS£153.2734%
2Ligue 1£77.846%
4Serie A-£85.15-5%
5La Liga-£339.57-17%
6Premier League-£590.52-28%
7Russian Premier League-£100.19-42%

Efficiency tables:

Premier League

PositionClubTotal Transfer Variance (m)
2Crystal Palace£49.00
13Sheffield United-£34.03
14West Ham-£44.18
17Manchester City-£71.00
18Aston Villa-£92.76
19Manchester United-£104.20
*Norwich made no ‘significant’ (£2m or above) transfers.

La Liga

PositionClubTotal Transfer Variance (m)
1CD Leganes£35.03
2Real Betis£28.67
3CA Osasuna£11.90
4Levante UD£11.25
5RCD Espanyol£3.60
6Granada CF£3.35
7Villareal CF£2.24
8Deportivo Alaves£0.73
9Athletic Bilbao*£0.00
10RCD Mallorca*£0.00
11Real Valladolid-£3.16
12Getafe CF-£6.23
13Celta Vigo-£8.57
14Real Sociedad-£11.79
15Valencia CF-£17.66
16SD Eibar-£20.56
17Atletico Madrid-£24.93
18Sevilla FC-£70.27
19FC Barcelona-£82.63
20Real Madrid-£190.54
*Athletic Bilbao and RCD Mallorca made no ‘significant’ (£2m or above) transfers.


PositionClubTotal Transfer Variance (m)
1Eintracht Frankfurt£100.93
2TSG Hoffenheim£28.15
3Borussia Dortmund£23.64
4FSV Mainz£14.00
5FC Koln£13.65
6Borussia Monchengladbach£10.34
7SV Werder Bremen£1.38
8Hertha BSC£0.62
9SC Paderborn£0.00
10Union Berlin*£0.00
11SC Freiburg-£2.27
12Fortuna Dusseldorf-£6.87
13VfL Wolfsburg-£8.19
14FC Schalke-£15.05
15FC Augsburg-£18.06
16RB Leipzig-£20.73
17Bayer Leverkusen-£26.01
18Bayern Munich-£77.01
*Union Berlin made no ‘significant’ (£2m or above) transfers.

Serie A

PositionClubTotal Transfer Variance (m)
1Atalanta BC£24.17
2Genoa CFC£22.90
7Inter Milan£2.97
11SS Lazio-£4.61
13ACF Fiorentina-£5.70
14AS Roma-£6.62
17Hellas Verona-£20.44
18Bologna FC-£31.58
20AC Milan-£53.82
*Lecce made no ‘significant’ (£2m or above) transfers.

Ligue 1

PositionClubTotal Transfer Variance (m)
1LOSC Lille£56.00
2AS Saint-Etienne£38.52
3Angers SCO£22.78
4FC Nantes£22.35
5Olympique Lyon£19.09
6Girondins Bordeaux£13.23
7RC Strasbourg Alsace£3.52
8Stade Brest*£0.00
9Stade Rennais-£2.59
10Olympique Marseille-£2.66
11Nimes Olympique-£4.90
12Stade Reims-£5.40
13AS Monaco-£5.90
14FC Toulouse-£7.45
15SC Amiens-£7.91
16FC Metz-£8.10
17Montpellier HSC-£9.57
18OGC Nice-£10.06
19Paris Saint-Germain-£14.44
20Dijon FCO-£18.68
*Stade Brest made no ‘significant’ (£2m or above) transfers.

Russian Premier League

PositionClubTotal Transfer Variance (m)
1FC Sochi£8.11
2Krylya Sovetov£1.00
3FK Tambov*£0.00
4Ural Yekaterinburg*£0.00
5Akhmat Grozny*£0.00
6FK Orenburg*£0.00
7Arsenal Tula*£0.00
8Lokomotiv Moscow-£0.51
9FK Rostov-£1.66
10CSKA Moscow-£1.76
11FK Ufa-£3.11
12Rubin Kazan-£3.94
13Spartak Moscow-£12.67
14Dinamo Moscow-£15.05
15FK Krasnodar-£21.47
16Zenit St Petersburg-£49.13
*These clubs made no ‘significant’ (£2m or above) transfers. 

Liga NOS

PositionClubTotal Transfer Variance (m)
1SL Benfica£86.58
2FC Porto£33.45
3Sporting CP£19.58
4SC Braga£9.60
5Rio Ave FC£3.32
6Boavista Porto£1.82
7CD Santa Clara£0.60
8Moreirense FC£0.48
9Portimonense SC*£0.00
10CS Martimo*£0.00
11GD Chaves*£0.00
12Desportivo Aves*£0.00
13CD Tondela*£0.00
14CD Feirense*£0.00
15CD Nacional*£0.00
17Vitoria Setubal-£0.69
18Vitoria Guimaraes-£1.43
*These clubs made no ‘significant’ (£2m or above) transfers.  


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