Dilan Markanday… And What It Means (Part 2)
I would also recommend reading Loan Pathways: The Academy Model, by Jon Mackenzie and Josh Hobbs for Analytics FC.
- I started researching and writing this around three months ago and so some of the details have possibly changed a little.
- Whilst I’m confident that my spreadsheet is at least 95% accurate, there could be a handful of errors or even players missing that would lead to small changes in the subsequent analysis.
- Spurs have tended to not disclose transfer fees. I could have used fees from Transfermarkt but that wouldn’t have filled all of the gaps.
- It was really tricky to make judgements around which leagues are ‘better’ than others when I was trying to rank the best level a player had played at.
Here is the data. Have a look, get your head around it. I wanted to look at the circumstances leading to the player leaving, how many minutes they’d played, etc, as well as how they left. Please comment if you spot any inaccuracies or have any information to add, I’d be very grateful.
Let’s start with some top-level analysis from the 11 academy intakes between 2007/08 and 2017/18. I’m using these because the intakes beyond this do not have many interesting stories to tell yet (except, perhaps the cases Luis Binks and Dennis Cirkin, who both left early in such of first team football — successfully!).
- From the 11 academy intakes between 2007/08 and 2017/18 we have introduced 137 players to our Academy. NB: I was going to phrase this as ‘given scholarships to 137 players’, but I don’t think that that is strictly true, since a handful joined us after the commencement of that intake and were likely via different contract types.
- 10 of those 137 (7.3%) have gone on to play over 1,000 minutes for Spurs’ first team. These are: Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, Steven Caulker, Tom Carroll, Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Harry Winks, Kyle Walker-Peters, Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp.
- If we include Marcus Edwards (for whom I do not believe we have received a fee yet, but likely will do in future) and both Luke Amos and Dennis Cirkin, for whom we understand the fees to be around the £1m mark, 12 players (8.8%) have been sold for £1m or more. These are: Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, Nabil Bentaleb, Kyle Walker-Peters, Steven Caulker, Tom Carroll, Alex Pritchard, Keanan Bennetts, Luke Amos (probably), Josh Onomah, Marcus Edwards (highly likely), and Dennis Cirkin (probably). Dilan Markanday’s fee may possibly rise to over £1m in the future. There is a small caveat here that there may be one or two others, but it’s unlikely.
- 4 players players (2.9%) have been sold for £10m or more. These are: Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, Nabil Bentaleb and Kyle Walker-Peters. There is a possibility that Marcus Edwards’ 50% sell-on arrangement could result in a future fee of £10m or more. There is also a small possibility that Dilan Markanday’s sell-on arrangement could also result in a future fee that takes his total transfer fee to £10m or more.
- 19 players (13.9%) have played significant minutes in the Premier League, Serie A or Bundesliga. I used my judgement here – i.e. Filip Lesniak (4 minutes) was excluded but Kevin Stewart (580 minutes) was included. Luis Binks (Serie A) would be a 20th player to include here if we were take into account the full range of intakes — he was in the 2018/19 intake.
- A further three players have played significant minutes in the Eredivisie: Ismail Azzaoui, Tomislav Gomelt and Marcus Edwards.
- 13 players (9.5%) have played significant minutes in the Championship; six of those were released and only Amos (possibly) and Markanday (possibly in the future) achieved a fee of £1m. None of them played more than 50 minutes for us.
- 17 players (12.4%) have played significant minutes in League One (of these; nine of those were released. Only Dean Parrett played more than 100 minutes for us).
- Ten (7.3%) players have played significant minutes in League Two (of these, nine were released, and one is still contracted to us (Jamie Bowden), and only Jake Nicholson and Cameron Lancaster (14 and 12 minutes respectively) played for us.
- Four players played in the Scottish Premiership — two released, two sold for nominal fees.
- Two players played in the Scottish Championship — one after being released, and Nathan Oduwa was there on loan and was eventually sold to Olimpija Ljubljana for a small fee.
- There are then players who have played at other decent levels across Europe and beyond, and at least 10 who have played in the National League and below.
- So that means 72 (52.6%) of our academy players have gone on to play in a top five league, the Eredivisie, the Championship, League One, League Two or the Scottish Premiership.
- There are 21 (15.3%) full internationals, including six full England internationals.
- NB: Omari Forson and Noni Madueke both left before joining the Academy as scholars.
Now for some comment.
53% of our academy players having played at those level feels quite low. I have nothing to compare to at other clubs, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t intend on doing this for other clubs — it was difficult enough for the club I’m actually interested in! If anyone knows of any similar analysis for other clubs, please do paste links in the comments. But yes, 53% feels low, though I think it’s improving significantly when considering hit rates of the more recent intakes.
I believe — and this is something I went big on in my initial article — that we have been poor at maximising profit on players we have let go. There are numerous examples of players who have gone on to be worth a lot more than we let them go for. Some examples are: Adam Smith (undisclosed fee, understood to have been small), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed fee, understood to have been small), William Troost-Ekong (released), Kevin Stewart (released), Milos Veljkovic (£400k), Paul-José Mpoku (undisclosed fee, understood to have been around £350k), Nathan Byrne (released), Jordan Archer (released), Lee Angol (released), Kane Vincent-Young (released), Joe Pritchard (released). We could argue over whether we might have expected to achieve a higher fee for even those sold for the highest price — Kyle Walker-Peters (£12m) springs to mind, a player sold at a fairly low point, who is now worth double what we sold him for.
At the time of their transfers, it might have seemed as though they were worth little, or perhaps their contracts were nearly up, or perhaps they needed a fresh start and the club did not want to retain them against their wishes. My view is that careful management of your best academy prospects should mean that clubs are able to initiate strategic loans that help create value, and offer enough first team opportunities (be they training opportunities, bench places, or actual minutes) that we a) create value and b) keep the players interested enough to renew their contracts. And when I say ‘best academy prospects’, looking at the data we are not talking about high numbers, so this should be manageable.
We should be aiming for a situation where no players complete their scholarship and go on to either leave the game entirely or end up in non-league. That should be a rarity. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. I do, however, believe that a large proportion of those we release for free hold significant value and, with the right loan planning, could have been players we sold, possibly for a future sell-on percentage. This is something we have thought about and, arguably, improved upon in recent years — I think the sales of Sam Shashoua, TJ Eyoma, Jubril Okedina and Armando Shashoua (following loans) speak to this. But we need to do more of it. Why could we not have done this with George Marsh, rather than ending up releasing him? Same question for Jack Roles, Jaden Brown (who was transferred but, as I understand, for a nominal or no fee), Nick Tsaroulla; these were good players who we should have profited from.
We have to think: what is the purpose of our Academy? We invested heavily in the training ground and, of course, that wasn’t solely for the Academy, but it was certainly a part of the motivation. The narrative used to go that if you managed to rake in a combined million quid for your youth players every year, it would pay the running costs — I’d love to know if that’s still true. So what is the purpose? Is it to try to produce a couple of players a year for the first team squad? Is it to generate revenue? Is it to occasionally luck out with a Kane (or even a Skipp or a Winks or a Tanganga)? Or is it all of the above? In all cases, I think we can do quite a bit better.
I’ve got some more thoughts which I’ll likely follow-up with in a few weeks, but for now I wanted to share this piece of research, get any corrections or additional information from readers, as well as your comments on how you think we’re doing.