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The football exchange rate

Football’s global reach means the sport is uniquely positioned as having many high-quality leagues dotted around the world. Therefore unlike in the NBA or NFL – which are effectively closed leagues – understanding how performance translates across leagues is one of the single biggest challenges a club can face.

This is particularly true when looking at performance data. If a player is the most effective ball winner in Uruguay, would he sustain this output in Spain? How would a player with impressive chance creation rates in the Austrian Bundesliga expect to see his numbers change in the Italian Serie A?

Performance stats can be highly complex, so let’s start with a simple one: goals. Our World Super League model enables us to create an ‘exchange rate’ of goals scored between leagues. Take a Danish Superliga club looking at a handful of players, all of whom have scored a goal every other game in different leagues. A player with this output in the German Bundesliga could expect to double his goals rate in the weaker Danish league, whereas an attacker stepping up from playing in Albania would see his output nearly halve.


As for Chile? Goals here are as valuable as they are in Denmark, a near one-to-one exchange rate. Clearly, an attacker would not be expected to score at exactly these rates, but with only anecdotes and finger-in-the-air estimates to go off, this provides a very useful starting point in translating performance numbers across leagues.

As clubs get smarter with adding context to performance data, it’s important to factor in league effects. With nearly 15,000 cross-border transfers in the first nine months of this year alone, smart clubs can gain an edge through calculating their football exchange rates.

About Omar Chaudhuri

Omar Chaudhuri has created 151 entries.