The ever-inflating transfer market has exploded in recent years, and some clubs have done a lot better out of it than others.
We’ve taken a look at the data on transfermarkt to see which clubs have received the most money from player sales this decade, starting from the 2010-11 season up to the current transfer window.
It’s an interesting mix of clubs, from Europe’s usual behemoths that tend to operate by both buying and selling high to smaller names that successfully scout talent early whilst developing their own players.
Benfica come out on top
The Portuguese talents have to be considered one of the most well-run clubs in Europe, and the sale of Joao Felix – this summer’s most expensive transfer so far, and the fourth most expensive player of all-time – boosts them to the top spot.
The teenage sensation, who scored 15 goals in his breakthrough season, was sold for a reported €126m to Atletico Madrid. Overall, they’ve made an astonishing €953m this decade and could conceivably break the billion mark before the end of this window.
But he’s not the only homegrown star to have come through the club’s academy, arguably the best in the world – Bernardo Silva, Renato Sanches, Victor Lindelof, Goncalo Guedes and Ederson have all graduated from the club’s Caixa Futebol Campus since 2010.
Not only that, but the club have a knack for scouting South American talent. Angel Di Maria and David Luiz were originally brought to Europe by Benfica, before moving on for a tidy profit.
Atletico Madrid not far behind
According to the figures, Atletico Madrid have made €952m in player sales since 2010 – only €1m less than Benfica.
They haven’t made nearly as much of a profit as Benfica, who have only spent just over a third of what they’ve made.
The fact that Atletico have spent €32m more than they’ve made in this period is a testament to what a serious force they’ve become under Diego Simeone.
The ability to spend so much on Felix was down to selling Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona for €120, Lucas Hernandez to Bayern for €80m and Rodri to Man City for €70m – their three record sales all in the same window.
With a track record of selling brilliant strikers (Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero account for more than €130m between them), they’ve also managed to recoup handsome figures for signings that didn’t quite work out. For example, Jackson Martinez (three goals in 22 appearances) was sold to China for a €7m profit after his big-money move from Porto failed to live up to expectations.
Premier League clubs few and far between
Chelsea are in the top five (3rd) and Liverpool sneak into the top 10 (9th), but Tottenham (13th) and Southampton (19th) are the only other clubs in the top 20, while you have to look a long way down to see other big names such as Arsenal (26th) and Manchester United (36th).
There are four Premier League clubs in the top 20, whilst Serie A has six (Roma, Juventus, Inter, Genoa, Napoli and Udinese) although considerably ahead of the Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund (11th) are the only German club in the top 20.
Chelsea’s place high up is largely down to their status as high rollers, and the ability to sell on players who were bought in for a substantial fee originally (Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata are three of their four record departures, alongside Oscar to China). Only Manchester City, Manchester United, PSG and Barcelona have a bigger net spend this decade.
Liverpool’s place, meanwhile, is largely down to a few high-profile, extremely profitable departures such as Philippe Coutinho (€145m), Luis Suarez (€81m), Raheem Sterling (€63m) and Fernando Torres (€58m). But they’ve also done well to get smaller amounts from the fringe players in the squad.
The full top 10
Other points of note from the top 10 are Monaco, third, who have consistently been able to make profits but did particularly well out of Leonardo Jardim’s title-winning side of 2016-17 (Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Thomas Lemar, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho and Tiemoué Bakayoko account for nearly €400m combined).
Elsewhere, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona have all been able to support their gargantuan signings by selling for sizeable fees themselves, most notably Paul Pogba, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo amongst plenty of others.
Here’s the full list:
1. SL Benfica (€953m)
2. Atletico Madrid (€952m)
3. Monaco (€911m)
4. Chelsea (€874m)
5. Roma (€791m)
6. Juventus (€786m)
7. Barcelona (€755m)
8. Real Madrid (€708m)
9. Liverpool (€702m)
10. Porto (€692m)