OVER EUR 1bn of talent has been sold by Portugal’s leading clubs over the past six years, according to KPMG Football Benchmark’s latest report on buying and selling footballers, The Player Trading Game.

Benfica and Porto lead the way in Europe, thanks to world-class academies and astute transfer policies. With the global transfer market becoming increasingly unsustainable, KPMG ponders the so-called “Neymar effect” and the fact that three players – Neymar, Dembele and Mbappe – have already broken the record set a year ago by the sale of Paul Pogba’s to Manchester United.

Interestingly, the most successful trading clubs are not the continent’s really big-hitters, but mostly clubs from an imagined “second tier”. Benfica, said KPMG, while accruing significant revenues from player trading – some 29% of total revenues – also lose home-grown and developed players at an early stage of their career. Benfica, over two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16), generated EUR 65m, including the sale of Renato Sanches to Bayern Munich for EUR 35m.

Porto have earned a reputation for buying at reasonable prices and selling on at considerable profits. The club has a high dependence on player trading, as evidenced by the fact that 34% of total revenues have been derived from player sales.

Given the English Premier League’s enormous broadcasting rights, it is no surprise there are no English clubs in the KPMG list of 20. This places them on the “buy side” of the market and to some extent remove the necessity to leverage player trading activity. Only Southampton recorded a positive balance in the two-year period under review.

    Total player trading revenues Player trading revenues as % of total revenues
1 Benfica 65 29%
2 FC Porto 58.2 34%
3 Schalke 56.3 13%
4 Marseille 47.6 22%
5 Monaco 43.1 22%
6 Sevilla 39.6 19%
7 Malaga 37.7 40%
8 Lyon 35.4 14%
9 Lille 32.8 25%
10 Sampdoria 28.7 27%


To see Football Benchmark’s full report, click here