Big 5 leagues see up to €8.5bn wiped off player values. Could Kane be a bargain at €112m?

By Paul Nicholson

May 6 – The impact of the coronavirus on football’s transfer market is going to be seismic in terms of player value with one analysis calculating a decrease in total player value across 10 of Europe’s leading leagues of between €6.6 billion and €10 billion, depending on whether the season restarts or is cancelled.

The research by KPMG’s Football Benchmark team covering 4,183 players found that if the seasons are cancelled there will be a drop of 26.5% in value since February 1. If the season is able to complete value would drop  by EUR 6.6 billion – 17.7%. Either way the disappearance in player value has been almost immediate.

The impact of the transfer business falling off a cliff edge will impact clubs differently. Hardest hit will be the so-called ‘selling clubs’ who make ends meet by developing and then selling their players to balance their books.

“Those who are financially strong and have been able to maintain sustainable liquidity will be in a much powerful position, while those in dire straits, and which are more reliant on matchday income and player trading activities will be more severely affected. They might have to sell players, often for less, to make ends meet,” says the report.

“Specifically, clubs whose business model depends on player trading will be the most impacted. In addition, in their desire to exhibit ethical behaviour, football clubs may be reluctant to make hefty investments in player purchases – a result of the pandemic’s huge impact: i.e. with many countries suffering high death tolls and medical staff undergoing intense pressure to cope with an unprecedented number of sick people, fans are more emotionally sensitive than previously.”

The report authors say that the drop in value is less marked for younger players and those on long term contracts, but that generally the Big 5 European leagues “bear the lion’s share of that decrease in their players’ values, with a total of €8.5 billion in Scenario 1 (season not completed) and €5.6 billion in Scenario 2 (season completed).”

For the world’s most expensive players, their values have held up stronger, generally only dropping 20% in the worst case scenario.

The world’s highest valued player, France and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe, has seen his price tag drop from €225 million to €177 million (21.5%) for the worst case scenario of the season being cancelled. In contrast third ranked player by value, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, would drop 13.8%, from €150 million to €129 million.

Other notable valuation movement are for Liverpool’s attacking duo Mo Salah (ranked 5th) and Sadio Mane (ranked 7th). Salah loses 19.8% of value from €155 million to €124 million, while mane drops 17.3% from €141 million to €126 million.

Harry Kane, Spurs’ potentially want-away striker, who has seen his value consistently drop over the past year, still ranks eighth but 16.7% decrease from €135 million to €112 million makes him a significantly cheaper acquisition for big clubs who still have big money for marquee players.

Looking at club squad valuations under the worst case scenario of the league not being played, Premier League clubs still dominate the top 20 by squad value but the cumulative drop in the value of their stock is huge.

Manchester City (ranked first in terms of squad value) have seem 22.6% almost €280 million wiped off that value (from €1.243 billion to €961 million). Liverpool have seen almost €300 million (24.4% wiped off their value), dropping from €1.2 billion to €907 million.

Andrea Sartori, CEO of KPMG’s Football Benchmark, said that: “A cancellation of the football season – at the time of writing already a fact in France and in some other countries – the estimated revenue losses in the big five leagues could exceed €4 billion. On the other hand, a restart and completion of the season in the following months behind closed doors would lead to aggregate revenue losses of around one-third to one-fifth of the total loss estimated for a full cancellation of the season.”

This really is a very nasty virus that, like money itself, doesn’t discriminate.

See the full report at

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