International Centre for
Sports Studies

Avenue DuPeyrou 1
2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Mon. 20 March 2023

Global analysis of player loans

The loan of players is a practice much in vogue in professional football. The 83rd edition of the CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report analyses the characteristics of 3,178 players currently on loan in 75 leagues from 57 associations worldwide. It notably shows that loans concern 9.5% of players, with record percentages at around 20% in Italy.

The report also highlights that loans do not just involve footballers at the start of their career. Indeed, less than 30% of the total number of players on loan are 21 years of age or under, while almost half are 24 or over. This shows that loans are not uniquely used with the aim of developing the potential of young players, but also for several other reasons, such as making room in squads or signing reinforcements without paying transfer indemnities.

Many big-5 league teams figure among the clubs who loan out the most players present on the 1st March in the 75 leagues analysed. Arsenal tops the list with 25 footballers loaned out, followed by Atalanta. Inter, Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester City, Juventus, Chelsea and Wolverhampton also are in the top 10. Generally speaking, the more competitive the club, the more it tends to loan out players to other teams.

In 63.5% of cases, the clubs where players are loaned have a lower sporting level to the owner clubs. This result indicates that loans principally serve the interests of the wealthiest teams, by allowing them to control the career of more players than they could have in their squad and develop. The club multi-ownership strategy, increasingly used by dominant teams, only reinforces this process.

>>> Full Report

This website uses cookies – limited to technical and analytical cookies – in order to allow your browsing and enhance your experience.

For more information, please see our cookie policy and our privacy notice.

I understand