The best trade wizards of the decade: 15 clubs with the biggest profit from transfers

The best trade wizards of the decade: 15 clubs with the biggest profit from transfers

The second decade of the 21st century is behind us. Every field is making conclusions on the past ten years and football is not an exception. While making teams of the decades is highly subjective and difficult to prove, numbers don't lie. We take a look at the 15 clubs with the biggest transfer profits in the past 10 years thanks to data collected by Transfermarkt.

Portuguese teams dominate the list with four teams and holding the first two spots.

The expected masters of the trade are Benfica. The Portuguese giants spent €353,360,000 on players in the last ten years, and earned €979,330,000 for a profit of €625,970,000! Joao Felix's €126,000,000 transfer has the highest contribution to the balance. Even more so as he is Benfica's academy product. The Eagles have 10 players that they've sold for €30,000,000 or more!

Porto is second on the list of the biggest profiteers. Their balance after expenditure and income are counted is €341,650,000, almost half as Benfica. Five of Porto's players have been sold for €40,000,000 or more - Hulk, Falcao, James Rodriguez, Eliaquim Mangala, and Eder MIlitao.

Ajax is third on the list, but all due to this summer's dealings. The sales of Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong for €85,500,000 and €75,000,000 respectively have put the club at the profit of €298,030,000. It helps that Ajax mostly relies on its own players, as evident by the significantly smaller number of arrivals (148) compared to Porto (323) and Benfica (368).

Lille is one of the most surprising inclusions on the list. Eden Hazard left as a 21-year-old for €35,000,000 but the club's biggest deal is Nicolas Pepe this summer. Lille spent €256,250,000 on incoming transfers but still managed to leave the decade with a €212,030,000 plus. During the 10 years behind us, Lille only spent more than €10,000,000 on five players, two of them in the summer, Renato Sanches and Yusuf Yazici.

Few would expect an Austrian side on the list, let alone this high, but Red Bull Salzburg has fully relied on the scouting network behind the club(s) to find profitable players. Spending just €106,060,000 and earning €303,650,000 for the profit of €197,590,000 is mostly due to the policy of buying quite a number of cheapish players and working hard to develop them.

Selling Neymar to Barcelona, Rodrygo to Real Madrid, and Gabriel Barbosa to Inter earned Santos a profit of €195,590,000 and the sixth spot on the list.

Another surprising inclusion on the list is Genoa, but less so when the number of departures and arrivals at the club are viewed. 641 new players in the last 10 years, and 628 players that have left. Most notably Krzysztof Piatek for €38,000,000 but Genoa earned a lot on deals that went a bit under the radar. Cristian Romero was paid €26,000,000 by Juventus this summer, young striker Pietro Pellegri was bought at 16 for €20,900,000 and so many more earned Genoa the profit of €185,150,000.

Udinese is the only club that comes close to Genoa in terms of arrivals and departures - 532:527. Alexis Sanchez to Barcelona, Alex Meret to Napoli and others earned Udinese a profit of €178,210,000.

Sporting is the third Portuguese club on the list, despite the Young Lions underperforming for years. Joao Mario for €40,000,000 to Inter, while Islam Slimani and Adrien Silva joined Leicester for big money deals too. The inevitable sale of Bruno Fernandes will certainly boost Sporting Lisbon far ahead on the next decade's list.

The club with the lowest number of arrivals, and hence the club which relied mostly on its academy, is not Ajax but Lyon. The end of the decade has been fruitful for the French side as Tanguy Ndombele, Alexandre Lacazette, Ferland Mendy, and Corentin Tolisso carried the burden of the €175,550,000 transfer profit.

Absolutely the biggest spenders on the list are Monaco, as the side spent €828,860,000 on bringing the likes of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Wissam Ben Yedder and many others. But their income money is also the highest, topping even Benfica with €986,620,000. As Kylian Mbappe, Rodriguez, Lemar, Martial, Mendy, Silva, Fabinho, Tielemans, and Bakayoko were all sold for €40,000,000 or more.

Scouting and honing players' abilities made Hoffenheim another surprising inclusion. Joelinton is the most expensive departure at €44,000,000 while Diadie Samassekou was the biggest expense at €12,000,000.

Braga somehow managed to enter the list despite few of its departing transfers being notable for the casual fan. Rafa Silva is the record-selling player at €16,000,000 and only two others were sold for €10,000,000 or more. But the number of sales and the expenditure of just €55,140,000 earned Brage the profit of €137,890,000.

The second South American inclusion is another Brazilian club - Sao Paulo. Lucas Moura did much of the heavy lifting with his move to PSG for €40,000,000 making for almost a third of the profit. It stands at €126,130,000.

But the biggest surprise on the list is certainly AZ Alkmaar. The Dutch side had the smallest expenditure out of all 15 clubs with just €46,950,000 spent on bringing in footballers. Nemanja Gudelj was the most expensive purchase of the decade at €3,000,000. Vincent Janssen the biggest sale for €22,000,000. The end profit with all the pluses and minuses is €126,130,000.

You can look at the whole list in detail HERE.

Hopefully, breakdowns like this might incentivize other clubs to focus on academies, youth staff, and giving chances to the youngsters. It pays off. On and off the pitch. 


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