Young talent development and making them world-beaters have received major attention during the past five years. The club is relying on promoting its young players into the senior squad due to financial difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or other circumstances.
At the same time, several clubs see the value of making money by selling the goods produced by their academies. A player who has performed well while on loan and with the expertise needed to compete at the highest level is in high demand in the European market. Certain clubs are able to prevent missing out on future superstars by paying a little charge now. A few clubs have made a lot of money by getting rid of their young players because of this.
On that note, let’s take a look at the five clubs that have earned the most out of academy player sales since the 2017/18 season.
- Manchester City – £98.7 million
Manchester City have stamped their footprint on the rest of the world since being taken over by the Abu Dhabi Group in 2008. The first-team squad has received investments of over £1 billion, while the youth academy has also developed and is now producing dividends. Phil Foden is one of the best examples of the same, but he forms a niche group of academy graduates who have not been sold by the club in recent years.
However, Man City have made good money off them. Jadon Sancho’s sale to Borussia Dortmund in 2017 (£16m), Gavin Bazunu (£12m), and Romeo Lavia’s (£10m) moves to Southampton this summer are evidence of the same. Angelino’s move to RB Leipzig in 2021 also brought in some good money (£16m).
Overall, the Citizens have generated £98.7 million in transfer fees by selling academy graduates since the 2017/18 season. They could still add to this number as a number of clubs are reportedly keen to sign their exciting talents, like Liam Delap, James McAtee, and several others.
- Paris Saint-Germain – £100.1 million
Paris Saint-Germain are a classic example of a club that are mortgaging their future to chase success in the present. Although the French club buys excellent talent in the transfer market, they also sell their own academy graduates quite often. Few PSG youth players have found a way to break into the senior squad, quite simply because the owners see more value in buying potential world-beaters from other top European clubs. In doing so, the club has generated £100.1 million by selling their academy graduates since the 2017/18 season.
A huge chunk (£46 million) came in the summer of 2019 itself when they offloaded Christopher Nkunku, Moussa Diaby, Stanley N’Soki, Timothy Weah, and Arthur Zagre. This was after the club recouped a combined £17 million by selling the trio of Odsonne Edouard, Jonathan Ikone, and Yaciine Adli in 2018. Hence, while several of these players have made quite a name for themselves since their departure, PSG might not be too regretful of it purely because of their incredible squad.
- Arsenal – £152.3 million
Arsenal are looking like an exciting side once again, and Mikel Arteta deserves a lot of credit for rebuilding the club so well over the last two years. However, the Spaniard, coupled with fellow countryman Unai Emery and his predecessor, Arsene Wenger, has sold many academy graduates since the 2017/18 campaign.
One of the biggest single amount fees the Gunners received for their academy graduate was for Alex Iwobi’s sale to Everton for £34 million in 2019. Arsenal also earned a sizeable £20 million fee when Emiliano Martinez joined Aston Villa in 2020. Last summer, the club also generated £25 million by selling Joe Willock to Newcastle United.
Other notable sales included Theo Walcott (£20m), Woejech Sczesny (£16m), Francis Coquelin (£12.6m), and Sam Greenwood (£3m). In total, the Gunners have raised a respectable £152.3 million by selling their academy graduates since the 2017/18 season.
- Chelsea – £163.5 million
Although Chelsea have lifted every single domestic trophy in the last 20 years, the Blues are famous for selling their academy talent. While that transfer strategy has changed for the better in recent years, there are still some notable players who have left the club. However, Marina Granvoskaia, who left the West London club this summer, was a tough negotiator and often landed great deals for their academy talents.
A fantastic example was last summer itself, when the club generated £81 million by selling Fikayo Tomori (£24m), Tammy Abraham (£34m), Valentino Livramento (£5m), and Marc Guehi (£18m). Prior to this, Nathan Ake joined Bournemouth in 2017 for £20.5 million, with Bertrand Traore also joining Lyon for £9 million in the same summer. While Frank Lampard did not sell many youngsters during his reign at the club, Mario Pasalic’s £13 million move to Atalanta in 2020 was an exception.
Other prominent players that moved included Tariq Lamptey (£1.8m), Nathaniel Chalobah (£5m), Jeremie Boga (£3.5m), and others. All in all, the Blues have raised an incredible £163.5 million in transfer fees by selling academy graduates since the 2017/18 season. This number could only rise if the club decides to sell Armando Broja and Levi Colwill this summer, who have been of interest to multiple clubs.
- Real Madrid – £284.6 million
Real Madrid were crowned European champions for the 14th time last season as Los Blancos proved their mettle in Europe once again. However, the reason behind the club’s success has been their excellent transfer strategy, something that has kicked in over the last five years. While they have sold quite a lot of their academy players in the process, they have raised a massive £284.6 million in the process.
These include the sales of Achraf Hakimi (£38m), Martin Odegaard (£31m), and Raphael Varane (£36m). Alvaro Morata left the club twice, with his permanent departure in 2017 generating a fee worth £59 million. Marcos Llorente also made a lot of enemies when he jumped ship to city rivals Atletico Madrid in 2019 for £27 million. Other notable mentions include the departures of Sergio Reguilon in 2020 (£27m) and Raul de Tomas’ £18 million move to Real Betis in 2019. With trophies in the bag and a smart sales policy, Real Madrid are truly the kings of Europe in every sense of the phrase.