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News

Mon. 07 October 2019

Monthly Report shows increase of loans in the big-5

The 48th Monthly Report of the CIES Football Observatory analyses the evolution of the number and characteristics of footballers having played on loan for teams of the five major European championships during the last decade. It shows that clubs from these leagues take more and more players on loan: from 2.62 per club and season between 2009 and 2014, up to 3.09 between 2014 and 2019 (+18%). In 2018/2019, footballers on loan played a record number of minutes in the big-5: 11.5%.

This evolution is notably explained by the tendency of wealthy teams (Manchester City, Chelsea, Juventus, etc.) to put under contract an increasing number of footballers with a sufficient sporting level to play in the major European leagues. This puts other clubs in a greater state of dependency when making up their squads, thus increasing their likelihood to take players on loan.

The study also shows that loans constitute in most of the cases a step towards a definitive departure. Indeed, only 29.6% of footballers lent to big-5 league clubs between 2009/10 and 2018/19 return to their owner team at the end of the loan period. In 27% of the occurrences, they were loaned again, while in the remaining 43.4% of cases they were transferred on a permanent basis to another team.

Regulation makes sense in avoiding the misuse of loan strategies orientated not towards a legitimate sporting logic to develop the potential of a young player on which the loaning team really counts, but rather towards an economic logic that aims to generate profits from the transfer market or a political logic aiming at exercising undue influence on rival clubs. In order to be effective, these measures should be implemented in parallel to the regulation of the questions of buy-back options (recompra) and the multi-ownership of clubs.