Column: The pitfalls when evaluating a successful academy– there is a holistic financial model that tells a significant story
9 December 2020
The collective obsession with transfer fees means we will always tend to be drawn into narratives about academy productivity from a pure, tangible monetary perspective.
”But as we know”, writes Omar Chaudhuri from 21st Club, “players aren’t simply assets to be traded, and some of the most important academy players may never sell for a fee.”
Manchester United are estimated to have saved nearly £60 million in player costs thanks to the performance of their academy products last season, suggesting a significant return on their youth development investment.
"We don’t say it’s a business plan, it’s a football programme,” Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar told The Guardian in September, speaking about the club’s phenomenally successful academy. “We want our success with the players we educate. And if in two, three years we win trophies with them and they get a higher level, the interest of other clubs should be there. And those clubs should be bigger. After two to three years, it’s time to move on.”
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