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Portuguese clubs top the table of KPMG Football Benchmark’s Player Trading Ranking

KPMG Football Benchmark - The Player Trading Report

There are no Premier League clubs represented in the European Top 20.


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Portuguese giants SL Benfica (1st) and FC Porto (2nd) lead the player trading ranking, with an aggregated player trading balance of EUR 65 million and 58.2 million respectively for 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons.

Following the close of the summer transfer window, KPMG Football Benchmark shares its inaugural edition of “The Player Trading Game”, a report concerning the accounting treatment of footballers’ transactions for more than 150 football clubs for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons (latest available financial statements).

The report found that France’s Ligue 1 is the most represented league in the top 20 with six clubs. Italy’s Serie A is the second most-represented league in our report, with five clubs in the European Top 20. UC Sampdoria (EUR 28.7 million), ranked 10th, are the highest ranked Italian club.

Represented by four clubs in the ranking is Spain’s La Liga, where Sevilla FC (6th) have developed as transfer market experts and are the leading side with total player trading activities of almost EUR 40 million. The Premier League is the only league not represented in the ranking.

Among those defined as “net buyers”, Manchester City FC (EUR -171.9 million), Paris Saint-Germain FC (EUR -179.4 million) and Manchester United FC (EUR -238.9 million) totalled the highest negative player trading balance.

Andrea Sartori, KPMG’s Global Head of Sports and the report’s author, said:Possibly unsurprisingly, no English clubs are included in the “European Top 20” by player trading. This is likely attributable to the profile and sizeable broadcasting income of the Premier League and the greater means they enjoy compared to many of their European counterparts. Such features rather place them on the “buy side” of the market and to some extent remove the necessity to leverage player trading activity. Interestingly Dutch clubs, which have traditionally produced an abundance of talent, are also missing from our ranking.

As transfer fees continue to increase, “net sellers” maintaining prolific academies and successful scouting networks might be in position to further exploit this competitive advantage. On the other hand, for the biggest European football clubs, who are intrinsically part of the global entertainment industry, attracting the best talent is an absolute must to ensure a competitive advantage against their peers on and off the pitch and to grow their global fan base.

The report defines player trading using the sum of four main operations:

  • (+/-) Profit/Loss on disposal of players
  • (-) Amortisation
  • (+/-) Revenues/costs associated to loaned players
  • (-) Impairment


    = Player trading balance


Notes to editors

The foundation of this report is an analysis of the publicly available financial statements of the last two football seasons (2014/15 and 2015/16) from a selection of more than 150 clubs. Thus, it is important to note that this analysis does not consider the latest transfers to be accounted for in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial statements.

Further details of the methodology can be found in the Player Trading Ranking report here.

The “European Top 20” by player trading can be found on the list below.

The European Top 20
Portuguese clubs top the table of KPMG Football Benchmark’s Player Trading Ranking - The European Top 20

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