A study from the CIES Football Observatory has revealed which clubs have produced the most academy graduates currently playing in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
Perhaps surprisingly, there are only 11 Liverpool academy graduates plying their trade as first-team members with clubs with Europe’s top five leagues, with only 12 from Juventus and 14 from Bayern Munich. There are actually that have come from River Plate in Argentina (15).
Southampton have produced 15 players currently in Europe’s top five league, while there are 16 from Manchester City, 18 from AC Milan and 20 from Chelsea.
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Here’s a look at the top 10 most prolific academies, all of which have produced at least 23 top flight players operating in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
10. Arsenal - 23
Notable Examples: Hector Bellerin, Bukayo Saka, Wojciech Szczesny
Arsenal have enjoyed a recent influx of home-grown players into their squad, but former Gunners academy prospects playing at the top level also include the like of Wojciech Szczesny.
9. Manchester United - 24
Notable Examples: Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Michael Keane
Manchester United have the most prolific academy of any club in England when it comes to producing first-team players – and not just for the benefit of themselves.
8. Rennes - 25
Notable Examples: Eduardo Camavinga, Ousmane Dembele, Abdoulaye Doucoure
Rennes have long had a reputation for developing talented players, including Ousmane Dembele in recent years. Teenager Eduardo Camavinga is their latest gem.
7. Athletic Bilbao - 25
Notable Examples: Iker Muniain, Inaki Williams, Kepa Arrizabalaga
With club rules allowing only players hailing from the local region to play for them, Athletic Bilbao continue to produce the vast majority of their own talents.
6. Real Sociedad - 26
Notable Examples: Mikel Oyarzabal, Antoine Griezmann, Alvaro Odriozola
Although no longer strict like their Basque neighbours in Bilbao, Real Sociedad also retain a very strong youth programme that developed, among others, Antoine Griezmann.
5. Valencia - 28
Notable Examples: Jose Gaya, David Silva, Isco
Valencia have long fed many of Europe’s top clubs with elite talent produced on Spain’s east coast, including David Silva and Isco. Carlos Soler could be the next starlet to move on.
4. Paris Saint-Germain - 29
Notable Examples: Presnel Kimpembe, Alphonse Areola, Moussa Dembele
PSG have dominated youth football in France for a decade, although the majority of the players who emerge from the academy ranks tend to wind up plying their senior trade elsewhere.
3. Lyon - 31
Notable Examples: Houssem Aouar, Alexandre Lacazette, Nabil Fekir
Lyon’s record of producing players for both themselves and others over the years has been extremely impressive. Houssem Aouar will be the next graduate sold for big money.
2. Barcelona - 32
Notable Examples: Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Adama Traore
Barcelona had the greatest home-grown team of all time a decade ago. The remnants of that side still exists across Europe, while others like Adama Traore have gone on to achieve elsewhere.
1. Real Madrid - 43
Notable Examples: Dani Carvajal, Achraf Hakimi, Juan Mata
Real Madrid produce players like no tomorrow, even if precious few go on to become regular first-teamers. Plenty, like Juan Mata have had very successful careers at other clubs.