Football Financial Rollercoaster: Barcelona, Chelsea, and Arsenal Lead in Decade’s Losses

According to ongoing research by the CIES Football Observatory, Barcelona, ​​Chelsea and Arsenal are among the unluckiest teams in world football over the past 10 years.

The study delved into the transactions involving non-academy players from 2014 to 2023, revealing that Barcelona, a La Liga powerhouse, topped the list with a staggering loss of 631 million euros (£540 million). In contrast, Ligue 1’s Lille secured the highest profit, amounting to 386 million euros (£330 million).

An important part of the results is the unfortunately prominent presence of six Head Association clubs in the main 10. After Chelsea and the Armory in second and third place, Manchester took fifth place, with Aston State, Everton and Liverpool in seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.

The research, which encompasses the top 50 clubs for both losses and profits, spotlights Brentford (26th) and Brighton (29th) as the only two Premier League clubs featured in the top 50 for profit.

Even though Stoke City has been absent from the Premier League for six years, the club remains among those with the highest losses during the examined period, securing the 16th position

The study indicates that substantial losses often stem from significant signings departing for amounts considerably lower than the initial purchase prices. The report also points out specific players who played a role in contributing to these financial setbacks.

Notably, clubs from the Chinese Super League feature prominently in the top 50 for losses, alongside Saudi Arabian teams Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli, and Al-Ittihad, reflecting substantial spending during the last summer transfer window.

Barcelona’s financial outing during this period has been highlighted, with the club spending more than €1.2 billion (£1 billion) and earning €613 million (£524 million). The report cites arrangements, such as Philippe Coutinho’s move from Liverpool for £142 million per year in 2018, to the Aston Estate for just £17 million and therefore a loan from Al Duhail.

Chelsea faced losses of 482 million euros (£413 million), with players like Christian Pulisic and Jorginho contributing to the deficit. Arsenal, too, experienced losses of 436 million euros (£373 million), notably with Nicolas Pepe leaving on a free transfer to Trabzonspor after a £72 million signing.

In contrast, Manchester City and Bayern Munich were highlighted for having the best financial balances among the most competitive teams, with losses of 59 million euros (£51 million) and 61 million euros (£52 million) respectively.

Lille emerged as an example of overcoming adversity, recording a €386m (£330m) profit through essential player deals, including Victor Osman and Sven Botman. Ajax followed close behind with a positive balance of €317m (£271m) in player transfers.

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