November 8 – Home-grown players continue to be on the decline across Europe while foreign imports have reached a new high. That is the latest sobering conclusion issued by the CIES Football Observatory on the profile of players active in 31 top European leagues.
The latest study notably shows that the presence of “club-trained players”- those employed for at least three seasons between 15 and 21 years of age – has steadily decreased.
“This category of players now represents less than a fifth of squads. Insofar as transfer market speculation on young talents is on the increase, it seems most likely that the percentage of club-trained footballers will continue to drop over the next few years,” the survey says.
By contrast, the level of overseas players reached a new record in 2016: 38.7 %. The biggest importers are Cyprus where 65.4% of players in the Cypriot top division are from abroad. Overseas players also represent the majority of squad members in six other championships: Turkey, England, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Scotland.
“For the first time since our survey has been carried out, the percentage of expatriates is over twice that of club-trained players,” says the CIES report.
There are also a number of other records that have brought about “growing instability” in squads, says the CIES, not least the average length of stay of players at their employer club: 2.2 years in 2016.
Source: CIES Football Observatory
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