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Doing more with less

We all know that money has a big influence on our team’s performance; we can only dream as high as our budget allows us to do. Nevertheless, there are still teams that punch above their weight. What lessons can we learn from the most efficient teams in the world?

Our Efficiency Rankings enable us to compare a club’s actual performance level against the average performance level for clubs with the same wage bill, to understand how efficient they are. So for instance, last season Ajax had a World Super League rating of 781 with total annual salaries of about £19m. Their performance is much better than most teams in that same range of budget, so we say they are a very efficient team.

World Leaders: Manchester City and Liverpool
These are currently the two best club sides in the world, but also two of the wealthiest, so it may seem odd that they are efficient. However, they truly are; there are several other “Superclubs” that have failed to translate their budget into on-pitch results in recent times, and these two clubs stand out through a combination of smart recruitment and coaching stability, informed by best-in-class use of data to inform decisions. They provide an excellent template for other wealthy clubs to follow, and many are already taking note.

Fighting against the odds: Getafe and Atalanta
These two clubs have been challenging for Champions League qualification in Spain and Italy, respectively, despite having limited resources compared to the clubs around them. They have achieved this primarily via a combination of extremely efficient recruitment of experienced players from an eclectic assortment of leagues and retention of key players in their squad.

Small Market Leaders: Benfica, Ajax, PSV, Young Boys, RB Salzburg, Slavia Prague, Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk
These clubs share an ability to recruit the top talent within their respective domestic leagues. They are all frequent participants in European competitions, and in order to compete against the Superclubs in Europe they are forced to think differently and focus on superior knowledge of their domestic markets to sign standout young players from other teams in the league. In the case of Benfica and Shakhtar Donetsk, they complement that approach by extremely good recruitment from South America, which brings us to…

South American wonders: Palmeiras, Boca Juniors and River Plate
These clubs focus almost exclusively on South American talent. They are able to get an edge by dominating the South American market and benefit from the hurdles European superclubs have to clear when signing overseas players, including difficulty of obtaining work permits and a lack of knowledge of overseas leagues.

What do all of these clubs have in common? They all outperform expectations by achieving an edge in recruitment. Some sign young talent, while others go for experience. Some emphasize their domestic market, others recruit from around the world. Some are able to afford top talent, others have to be very creative. But every single one of these clubs found a strategy to achieve more while spending less. 21st Club was founded on the belief that we can win by outthinking rather than outspending our opposition, and these are some of the clubs that validate that belief.

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About Luis Usier

Luis Usier has created 17 entries.