Clarets buck the trend with foreign signings

Only Athletic Bilbao - who primarily field only Basque players - have a smaller percentage of players signed from abroad among big-5 league clubs than Burnley.

Monday, 22nd January 2018, 1:00 pm
Steven Defour
Steven Defour

Issue number 211 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks teams from the five major European championships, according to the percentage of players signed from foreign clubs, with the Clarets 97th of 98 clubs.

Manchester City tops the rankings with 17 international recruitments out of 22 players fielded so far in domestic league games (77.3%).

At the opposite end of the table is Athletic Bilbao (one player, Aymeric Laporte, out of 23), with Burnley fielding two of 22, in Steven Defour, and Fredrik Ulvestad, who has been an unused substitute this season.

The proportion of players signed from abroad is above two thirds in six other clubs: Chelsea, Lazio, Sevilla, Leipzig, Paris St-Germain and Udinese.

In total, 29 teams recruited at least half of the footballers fielded so far from foreign clubs.

Premier League teams are over-represented among those transferring the highest percentage of squad members from abroad. Burnley (9.1%) and Bournemouth (9.5%) are exceptions to the rule.

In general, the most competitive clubs sign a greater percentage of players from foreign teams than lesser performing ones.

However, this is not a fatality. Liverpool, Juventus, Real Madrid, Napoli, Manchester United, Barcelona and Tottenham all signed less than half of current squad members from abroad.

The freshly published 31st edition of the CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report presents a deeper analysis of transfer networks in professional football, and can be found at