Real Madrid and RB Leipzig focus on youth for new players. Spurs and Man City make top 20

real madrid

December 8 – Real Madrid head a ranking of big-5 league clubs who recruit the youngest players to their squads, with an average age of 22.2 years.

The CIES Football Observatory ranking covers 31 top divisions in Europe looking at club player signings – not including the signing of players graduating from the club’s own youth academies. CSKA Moscow made the earliest recruitment (21.1 years), ahead of FC DAC 1904 (21.7) and SC Heerenveen (22.1).

Looking at Big 5 league clubs only, the top 20 is dominated by nine German clubs. RB Leipzig rank second (22.3) while European champions Bayern Munich are equal fifth (23.4). In the full ranking taking into account the 31 leagues, Bayern rank 30th.

In the Big 5 Top 20 Barcelona are the second of two Spanish teams ranked (7th – 23.4). There are five teams from France’s Ligue1, but not PSG. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers make the top 20 from the Premier League.

Only one Italian team makes the top 20, AC Milan at 20th (24.3).

“At the opposite end of the table is Gençlerbirliği SK with an average age of recruitment of 29.0 years, followed by Anorthosis FC and BB Erzurumspor. At the level of the big-5 leagues, the teams least focused on the signing of young players are Benevento in the Serie A (28.1 years), Elche CF in the Liga (27.8), West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League (26.5), Montpellier HSC in the Ligue 1 (26.1) and Union Berlin in the Bundesliga (26.0),” find the report authors.

Average age at recruitment, squad players (October 2020)

Not including footballers from the youth academy or U23 club-trained players.

See full rankings at

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