Clubs With Most Academy Products in Europe's Top Five Leagues

Nov 11, 2020, 2:30 PM GMT
Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood
Rashford and Greenwood | James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images
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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.

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

Hector Bellerin joined Arsenal's academy at 16
Hector Bellerin joined Arsenal's academy at 16 | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-SOUTHAMPTON
Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford both came through Man Utd's academy | PETER POWELL/Getty Images

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

Eduardo Camavinga
Eduardo Camavinga is Rennes' latest academy gem | Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

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

Iker Muniain
Athletic Bilbao have a long tradition of local players | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

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

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL SOCIEDAD-GRANADA
Home-grown Mikel Oyarzabal is Real Sociedad's home-grown star | ANDER GILLENEA/Getty Images

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

Carlos Soler
Carlos Soler came through the ranks at Valencia | Angel Martinez/Getty Images

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

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PARIS-METZ
PSG end up selling a lot of academy graduates | FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

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

Houssem Aouar
Lyon could Houssem Aouar for big money | Pool/Getty Images

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

Lionel Messi
Barcelona's academy developed Lionel Messi | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

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

Dani Carvajal
Most Real Madrid youngsters go on to play elsewhere | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

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.

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