Young Player Challenge - January 2016 Update

Winter break. Good time to check how did our Young Talent Challenge do since the last update. As always, here is the list of the 23 most talented players that are yet to turn 20 plus our earlier picks even if they are no longer among the 25 most talented. Players listed with a value of 2,000,000 € or below at Transfermarkt.de are anonymized and numbered. The numbers are consistent with earlier posts. When talents become known, we will uncover them.

Player Transfermarkt First Listed Transfermarkt @ first listed Goalimpact PeakGI Player Age
Julian Brandt, Bayer Leverkusen 10.000.000 € Apr 15 5.000.000 € 140 174 20
Anonymous Talent 28 600.000 € Jan 16 600.000 € 85 165 17
Anonymous Talent 20 0 € Jul 15 0 € 85 158 18
Anonymous Talent 29 250.000 € Jan 16 250.000 € 73 156 17
Youri Tielemans, RSC Anderlecht 12.000.000 € Apr 15 12.000.000 € 102 155 19
Anonymous Talent 30 1.750.000 € Jan 16 1.750.000 € 89 155 18
Rubén Neves, FC Porto 6.000.000 € Apr 15 5.000.000 € 103 154 19
Anonymous Talent 31 0 € Jan 16 0 € 81 153 18
Anonymous Talent 19 1.200.000 € Jul 15 500.000 € 96 153 19
Ante Ćorić, Dinamo Zagreb 5.000.000 € Jul 15 2.500.000 € 99 151 19
Anonymous Talent 32 0 € Jan 16 0 € 73 151 17
Anonymous Talent 33 0 € Jan 16 0 € 90 150 18
Breel-Donald Embolo, FC Basel 16.000.000 € Apr 15 8.000.000 € 101 150 19
Anonymous Talent 34 900.000 € Jan 16 900.000 € 90 150 18
Anonymous Talent 9 1.500.000 € Apr 15 750.000 € 117 150 20
Anonymous Talent 24 0 € Sep 15 0 € 76 150 18
Martin Ødegaard, Real Madrid Castilla 4.000.000 € Jan 16 4.000.000 € 66 149 17
Anonymous Talent 4 700.000 € Apr 15 500.000 € 94 149 19
Anonymous Talent 36 0 € Jan 16 0 € 93 148 19
Andrija Živković, Partizan 7.000.000 € Apr 15 3.000.000 € 111 148 20
Anonymous Talent 37 0 € Jan 16 0 € 84 148 18
Anonymous Talent 38 0 € Jan 16 0 € 74 147 18
Anonymous Talent 2 1.500.000 € Apr 15 1.000.000 € 97 147 19
Anonymous Talent 39 0 € Jan 16 0 € 78 147 18
Anonymous Talent 27 1.500.000 € Sep 15 500.000 € 105 146 19
Anonymous Talent 3 300.000 € Apr 15 1.000.000 € 97 145 19
Anonymous Talent 26 1.300.000 € Sep 15 750.000 € 85 143 18
Anonymous Talent 8 1.500.000 € Apr 15 500.000 € 99 141 19
Anonymous Talent 18 50.000 € Jul 15 0 € 104 141 20
Anonymous Talent 12 400.000 € Apr 15 125.000 € 99 141 19
Anonymous Talent 22 2.000.000 € Jul 15 1.000.000 € 93 140 19
Anonymous Talent 5 300.000 € Apr 15 350.000 € 103 139 20
Richairo Živković, Willem II 2.500.000 € Apr 15 4.000.000 € 98 139 19
Anonymous Talent 1 500.000 € Apr 15 300.000 € 91 138 19
Valentino Lazaro 2.000.000 € Jul 15 2.500.000 € 106 138 20
Anonymous Talent 15 1.500.000 € Apr 15 1.000.000 € 89 138 19
Anonymous Talent 23 1.500.000 € Jul 15 750.000 € 99 137 19
Anonymous Talent 17 450.000 € Jul 15 200.000 € 87 137 19
Anonymous Talent 16 0 € Apr 15 0 € 94 136 19
Danilo, Valencia CF 7.000.000 € Sep 15 7.000.000 € 105 136 20
Anonymous Talent 11 75.000 € Apr 15 50.000 € 83 135 19
Teddy Bishop, Ipswich Town 2.500.000 € Apr 15 2.500.000 € 97 135 20
Anonymous Talent 13 250.000 € Apr 15 125.000 € 101 134 20
Anonymous Talent 25 0 € Sep 15 0 € 66 133 18
Anonymous Talent 21 0 € Jul 15 0 € 45 113 18

Julian Brandt still leads, but to remarkable things happend. First, he didn't manage to further improve his peak. In fact, it dropped by three points. Secondly, another player of similar talent appeared on the screen. As his value is listed well below 2,000,000€, he remains anonymous and we take him into our virtual portfolio of January 2016 as "Anonymous Talent 28".

Of the old selected players, most still have a very good peak estimate. Just "Anonymous Talent 21" dropped to 113 and probably will not bring a strong return. Most others developed very well. Here is the overview of our investments.
„Julian-Brandt“ von Fuguito
Lizenziert unter CC-BY-SA 4.0

Cohort Investment Up Down Profit Rate of Return
Apr 15 6.700.000 € 63% 25,0% 2.975.000 € 44,40%
Jul 15 2.450.000 € 83% 0,0% 2.750.000 € 112,24%
Sep 15 1.250.000 € 50% 0,0% 1.550.000 € 124,00%
Jan 16 3.500.000 € 0% 0,0% 0 € 0,00%

The investments done in April 2015 will be hold for one year soon. 63% of them raised in value while only 25% dropped. We made on the overall investment of 6.7M€ a profit of nearly 3M€ or more than 40%. But it is dwarfed by the July investments that lead to nearly the same profit despite of an investment of only 2.4M€. In total a return on investment of 112% in just half a year. So far this portfolio is still to see a player to actually drop in value. Less time, but even more return was the September 2015 portfolio. 50% of the players increased in value in the just four months since the summer transfer window closed. This portfolio also more than doubled the value since then.

This month we again have some drop out because they turned 20.

Player Transfermarkt First Listed Transfermarkt @ first listed Goalimpact PeakGI Player Age Drop Out
Anonymous Talent 6 50.000 € Apr 15 50.000 € 107 130 20 Sep 15
Anonymous Talent 7 750.000 € Apr 15 500.000 € 111 138 20 Jan 16
Anonymous Talent 10 150.000 € Apr 15 200.000 € 107 133 20 Jan 16
Anonymous Talent 14 200.000 € Apr 15 250.000 € 108 134 20 Jan 16

All of the new drop-outs (Talent 7, 10 and 14) are still considered promising talents. We will change the rules and keep them in the portfolio.

Young Player Challenge - September 2015 Update

The transfer period ended and some of our talents moved to new clubs. This, in turn, affects also their market value. So time to check where we are standing. Here is the list of the most talented players that are yet to turn 20. Players listed with a value of 2,000,000 € or below at Transfermarkt.de are anonymized and numbered. The numbers are consistent with earlier posts. When talents become known, we will uncover them.

Player Transfermarkt First Listed Transfermarkt @
first listed
Goalimpact PeakGI Player Age
Julian Brandt, Bayer Leverkusen 7,500,000 € Apr 15 5,000,000 € 139 176 19
Anonymous Talent 20 0 € Jul 15 0 € 111 152 17
Max Meyer, FC Schalke 04 13,000,000 € Apr 15 15,000,000 € 121 151 20
Andrija Živković, Partizan 4,000,000 € Apr 15 3,000,000 € 110 149 19
Youri Tielemans, RSC Anderlecht 12,000,000 € Apr 15 12,000,000 € 102 148 18
Anonymous Talent 2 1,500,000 € Apr 15 1,000,000 € 102 147 19
Anonymous Talent 19 1,200,000 € Jul 15 500,000 € 98 146 18
Breel-Donald Embolo, FC Basel 8,000,000 € Apr 15 8,000,000 € 101 146 19
Rubén Neves, FC Porto 6,000,000 € Apr 15 5,000,000 € 100 145 19
Anonymous Talent 24 0 € Sep 15 0 € 105 145 17
Ante Ćorić, Dinamo Zagreb 2,500,000 € Jul 15 2,500,000 € 98 144 18
Anonymous Talent 9 1,500,000 € Apr 15 750,000 € 108 144 19
Anonymous Talent 18 50,000 € Jul 15 0 € 105 143 19
Anonymous Talent 25 0 € Sep 15 0 € 97 143 18
Anonymous Talent 3 1,000,000 € Apr 15 1,000,000 € 99 143 19
Anonymous Talent 12 250,000 € Apr 15 125,000 € 102 142 19
Anonymous Talent 7 750,000 € Apr 15 500,000 € 109 142 20
Anonymous Talent 16 250,000 € Apr 15 0 € 101 141 19
Danilo, Valencia CF 7,000,000 € Sep 15 7,000,000 € 106 141 20
Anonymous Talent 26 750,000 € Sep 15 750,000 € 92 141 18
Anonymous Talent 27 500,000 € Sep 15 500,000 € 101 141 19
Anonymous Talent 8 1,000,000 € Apr 15 500,000 € 100 141 19
Anonymous Talent 4 800,000 € Apr 15 500,000 € 93 140 18
Anonymous Talent 5 300,000 € Apr 15 350,000 € 103 140 19
Valentino Lazaro, RB Salzburg 2,500,000 € Jul 15 2,500,000 € 104 140 19
Anonymous Talent 11 50,000 € Apr 15 50,000 € 94 140 18
Anonymous Talent 23 1,250,000 € Jul 15 750,000 € 100 140 19
Richairo Živković, Willem II 3,000,000 € Apr 15 4,000,000 € 99 139 19
Anonymous Talent 14 200,000 € Apr 15 250,000 € 106 139 20
Anonymous Talent 10 200,000 € Apr 15 200,000 € 106 138 20
Anonymous Talent 1 400,000 € Apr 15 300,000 € 95 138 19
Anonymous Talent 15 1,000,000 € Apr 15 1,000,000 € 94 138 19
Anonymous Talent 22 2,000,000 € Jul 15 1,000,000 € 94 138 19
Anonymous Talent 21 0 € Jul 15 0 € 92 137 18
Teddy Bishop, Ipswich Town 2,500,000 € Apr 15 2,500,000 € 98 137 19
Anonymous Talent 17 450,000 € Jul 15 200,000 € 92 137 19
Anonymous Talent 13 250,000 € Apr 15 125,000 € 99 136 19

Julian Brandt kept his lonely lead and even improved his expected peak yet a little bit more. However, this time it was only one additional point. One player dropped out of the list because he turned to twenty. For our investment tracking, we count him as sold at the final value.

Player Transfermarkt First Listed Transfermarkt @
first listed
Goalimpact PeakGI Player Age Drop Out
Anonymous Talent 6 50,000 € Apr 15 50,000 € 110 140 20 Sep 15

We also updated the virtual investment portfolio in all players that have a market value of 2 million or below. The following table shows the investment results cohort, i.e. per investment point in time.

Cohort Investment Up Down Profit Rate of Return
Apr 15 6,700,000 € 56% 12.5% 2,800,000 € 41.79%
Jul 15 2,450,000 € 71% 0.0% 2,500,000 € 102.04%
Sep 15 1,250,000 € 0% 0.0% 0 € 0.00%

Of all anonymous players first listed in Apr 2015, 56% saw their market value rise and only 12.5% suffered from a reduced value. Netting profit and loss leads to a net profit of 2,800,000€. Signing all players back then would have costed us 6,700,000 €. That is a rate of return of nearly 42% in just five months.

Our July investment turned out even more profitable. On an initial investment of just 2,450,000€ we had a net profit of 2,500,000€. That's +102% in just two months. Actually, none of the players had his market value reduced and an incredible 71% now have a higher  market value than in July.

Five new players have been identified in this September update and the total investment is only 1,2500,000€. Stay tuned to see the how they develop.

We are providing football clubs with lists of potential scouting targets. If you are interested, please contact us at info@goalimpact.com


Young Player Challenge - July Update

A new quarter started. Time to look what our young talents are doing. Here is the list of the most talented players that are yet to turn 20. Players listed with a value of 1,500,000 € or below at Transfermarkt,de are anonymized and numbered. The numbers are consistent with earlier posts. When talents become known, we will uncover them.

Player Transfermarkt First Listed Transfermarkt @ first listed Goalimpact PeakGI Player Age
Julian Brandt, Bayer Leverkusen 5,000,000 € Apr 15 5,000,000 € 136 175 19
Max Meyer, FC Schalke 04 15,000,000 € Apr 15 15,000,000 € 123 154 20
Anonymous Talent 2 1,000,000 € Apr 15 1,000,000 € 99 14918
Youri Tielemans, RSC Anderlecht 12,000,000 € Apr 15 12,000,000 € 97 14818
Anonymous Talent 17 200,000 € July 15 200,000 € 98 14718
Andrija Živković, Partizan 4,000,000 € Apr 15 3,000,000 € 106 147 19
Rubén Neves, FC Porto 5,000,000 € Apr 15 5,000,000 € 97 146 18
Anonymous Talent 8 500,000 € Apr 15 500,000 € 102 146 19
Anonymous Talent 3 1,000,000 € Apr 15 1,000,000 € 99 146 19
Ante Ćorić, Dinamo Zagreb 2,500,000 € July 15 2,500,000 € 95 145 18
Breel-Donald Embolo, FC Basel 8,000,000 € Apr 15 8,000,000 € 97 145 18
Anonymous Talent 18 0 € July 15 0 € 104 145 19
Anonymous Talent 19 500,000 € July 15 500,000 € 92 145 18
Anonymous Talent 20 0 € July 15 0 € 102 144 17
Anonymous Talent 7 500,000 € Apr 15 500,000 € 109 143 20
Anonymous Talent 9 750,000 € Apr 15 750,000 € 104 142 19
Valentino Lazaro, RB Salzburg 2,500,000 € July 15 2,500,000 € 104 142 19
Anonymous Talent 4 800,000 € Apr 15 500,000 € 90 142 18
Anonymous Talent 21 0 € July 15 0 € 95 142 18
Richairo Živković, Jong Ajax 4,000,000 € Apr 15 4,000,000 € 98 141 19
Anonymous Talent 22 1,000,000 € July 15 1,000,000 € 94 141 19
Anonymous Talent 23 750,000 € July 15 750,000 € 99 141 19
Anonymous Talent 1 400,000 € Apr 15 300,000 € 94 141 19
Anonymous Talent 11 50,000 € Apr 15 50,000 € 91 141 18
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, FC Augsburg 4,000,000 € Apr 15 4,000,000 € 111 141 20
Anonymous Talent 5 350,000 € Apr 15 350,000 € 100 140 19
Anonymous Talent 16 0 € Apr 15 0 € 97 140 19
Anonymous Talent 12 250,000 € Apr 15 125,000 € 96 140 19
Anonymous Talent 6 50,000 € Apr 15 50,000 € 110 140 20
Teddy Bishop, Ipswich Town 2,500,000 € Apr 15 2,500,000 € 98 139 19
Anonymous Talent 15 1,000,000 € Apr 15 1,000,000 € 91 139 18
Anonymous Talent 10 200,000 € Apr 15 200,000 € 106 139 20
Anonymous Talent 14 200,000 € Apr 15 250,000 € 104 138 20
Anonymous Talent 13 125,000 € Apr 15 125,000 € 99 137 19

You think that the rating of Julian Brandt looks unreal? It does. However, this didn't keep him from outperforming already high expectations. His PeakGI actually increased from 171 to 175 since April.



After the first three month, 19% of the players listed in April 2015 gained value and only one lost in value. In total the players saw their transfer value increase by 1,475,000€. Of the anonymous players, hence the not yet discovered talents, total earnings are 475,000 € on an initial investment of 6,700,000 €. This makes a rate of return of 7.1%. Not a bad start for the first three months.

Cohort Investment Up Down Profit Rate of Return
Apr 15 6,700,000 € 19% 6.3% 475,000 € 7.09%
Jul 15 2,450,000 € 0% 0.0% 0 € 0.00%

Next update will be in October, well into the new season. We might see more changes in value then, if some of the players managed to get a new position in their team or a new team.

Young Talent Challenge

"Predictions are difficult, especially about the future." coined Nils Bohr once famously. The equivalent in football is the scouting of future top players. Goalimpact is designed to predict future performance - as opposed to describing past performance. Hence we would assume that players identified as future top players by Goalimpact have a higher than average chance of indeed become a football star.

The holy grail of identifying talents is identifying them before everybody did and hence before they become expensive. In this post, we want to start a series of tracking young players on their quest to become a top player. Some of the players are known talents, some are yet to be uncovered. As proxy for if a player is known or not, we use the market values as published by Transfermarkt. Any player with a value above 1.5M€ is declared to be known (although maybe still very cheap), any player below or equal to that number is defined as unknown. We will not publish the names of unknown players, but we assign numbers to them to be able to track them in future post.

Ok, here is the list of the most talented players according to Goalimpact that are yet to turn 20. If a player is shown as 20, then this is a rounded number.

Player Transfermarkt Goalimpact PeakGI Age
Julian Brandt, Bayer Leverkusen 5,000,000 € 132.5 171.3 19
Max Meyer, FC Schalke 04 15,000,000 € 122.9 154.8 20
Anonymous Talent 1 300,000 € 99.6 145.9 18
Anonymous Talent 2 1,000,000 € 96.9 145.3 18
Anonymous Talent 3 1,000,000 € 98.4 144.8 18
Richairo Živković, Jong Ajax 4,000,000 € 101.7 144.3 19
Rubén Neves, FC Porto 5,000,000 € 95.7 144.0 18
Anonymous Talent 4 500,000 € 96.2 143.5 18
Yoeri Tielemans, RSC Anderlecht 12,000,000 € 95.4 143.3 18
Andrija Živković, Partizan 3,000,000 € 101.9 142.8 19
Anonymous Talent 5 350,000 € 102.2 142.2 19
Anonymous Talent 6 50,000 € 111.5 141.8 20
Anonymous Talent 7 500,000 € 107.0 141.5 19
Breel-Donald Embolo, FC Basel 8,000,000 € 93.9 141.4 18
Anonymous Talent 8 500,000 € 97.8 141.3 19
Anonymous Talent 9 750,000 € 103.0 141.1 19
Anonymous Talent 10 200,000 € 107.3 140.7 19
Anonymous Talent 11 50,000 € 92.0 140.4 18
Anonymous Talent 12 125,000 € 96.9 140.1 19
Anonymous Talent 13 125,000 € 101.5 139.7 19
Anonymous Talent 14 250,000 € 105.1 139.4 19
Teddy Bishop, Ipswich Town 2,500,000 € 98.3 139.3 19
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, FC Augsburg 4,000,000 € 108.5 139.0 20
Anonymous Talent 15 1,000,000 € 91.6 138.8 18
Anonymous Talent 16 0 € 95.7 138.8 19

Most staggering result is Julian Brandt that is rated as future football god. Between him and the May Meyer on number two is already a huge gap. Given that talent, I wonder how long he will be playing at Leverkusen. Big teams must be queuing already to get him on board. On rank three is already an unknown player. He is playing in the second division of a non Top5 country.

We will post an update of this list maybe once per quarter tracking the players. Let's see how far we get. Buying all unknown players costs us 6.7M€. Let's see how this value changes over time.


Julian Brandt still just a demigod, but soon will be grown up.

Liverpool's Transfers Revisited

Duncan Castles writes on Bleacher Report about the dismal transfer record of Liverpool FC under Brendan Rodgers' management. Part of the critic is the overly reliance on an analytic model in scouting that selected bad players or rejected good. For example, Castles points out that Liverpool rejected Sadio Mane on the ground that the model said he isn't good enough for Premier League. Mane now plays for Southampton FC and is proving the opposite. Given that Goalimpact predicted Sadio Mane to be good enough a full year and 4 Mio. Euros before Southampton signed him, let's check what Goalimpact tells us on the other transfers made. Here is the full roster. Rodgers' transfers are marked yellow.

Liverpool FC

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeLast National TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Goalkeeper
Simon Mignolet105.7114.726.8Belgien24122449
Danny Ward74.1131.521.4Wales [U21]9837
Brad Jones85.686.332.712111212
Average88.5110.827.0
Defense
Lloyd Jones79.2112.319.2England [U19]11970
Mamadou Sakho109.1111.924.8Frankreich21518002
Dejan Lovren118.5119.825.4Kroatien22519680
Glen Johnson125.3135.630.3England40936172
Ryan McLaughlin89.9113.220.2Nordirland [U19]302541
Kolo Touré129.7163.233.7Elfenbeinküste50942986
Michael Williams85.2119.119.1Wales [U21]2138
Alberto Moreno108.4119.022.4Spanien [U21]836965
Manquillo96.7117.520.6Spanien [U21]403270
Jon Flanagan112.7125.321.9England [U20]473714
Martin Škrtel105.5113.530.0Slowakei34330267
José Enrique108.7115.328.8Spanien [U21]25821950
Average105.7122.124.7
Midfield
Steven Gerrard130.6170.434.5England75163042
Suso91.0109.021.0Spanien [U21]805177
Coutinho101.0111.322.5Brasilien [U20]1439443
Cameron Brannagan64.9104.118.64344
Joe Allen112.9115.824.8Wales23716932
Lucas Leiva108.7113.927.9Brasilien28221344
Adam Lallana114.4115.926.6England27521777
Emre Can109.2128.120.9Deutschland [U21]1249880
Jordan Henderson122.5126.124.4England26921103
Jordan Rossiter72.1115.117.77537
Raheem Sterling102.0126.620.0England1218475
Lazar Marković117.3137.120.8Serbien1268203
Average103.9122.823.3
Attack
Daniel Sturridge121.3123.025.3England21713254
Fabio Borini94.7100.423.7Italien [U21]1247798
Rickie Lambert103.5132.132.8England26621835
Mario Balotelli106.9110.824.3Italien25916740
Average106.6116.626.5

First thing to note is that about half of the team was signed by him. Apart from Borini, all seem to be good enough to play Premier League, also Coutinho and Manquillo will need some more development.

Some of the players are quite young and expected to improve significantly in the coming seasons. Given their potential, they were not bad signings as such. Even though they are maybe not good enough to qualify for Champions League this season, some are expected to be develop into that level (>120). Due to this fact, one can argue that the prices paid were too high. You'd expect bigger talent or further developed players for that money. Even in England.
Kolo Toure is a very good player, but well beyond his peak. His aging
is going to accelerate soon.

Especially in attack, the signings were not very convincing. We have no information on the factors that lead to the signings, but the two signings from Italy might point to a malfunctioning adjustment for league strength or opposition in general.

Mignolet is for sure a good keeper, but for 10 million Euros you can easily sign better ones. Brad Jones that played against ManU the other day, doesn't live up to Premier League standards.

Optimal XI

Ignoring all tactical considerations (no, this is not a recommendation), just picking by Goalimpact, leads to the following starting XI plus bench.

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeLast National TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Daniel Sturridge121.3123.025.3England21713254
Steven Gerrard130.6170.434.5England75163042
Simon Mignolet105.7114.726.8Belgien24122449
Dejan Lovren118.5119.825.4Kroatien22519680
Joe Allen112.9115.824.8Wales23716932
Glen Johnson125.3135.630.3England40936172
Adam Lallana114.4115.926.6England27521777
Kolo Touré129.7163.233.7Elfenbeinküste50942986
Jordan Henderson122.5126.124.4England26921103
Jon Flanagan112.7125.321.9England [U20]473714
Lazar Marković117.3137.120.8Serbien1268203
Average119.2131.526.8
Bench
Mamadou Sakho109.1111.924.8Frankreich21518002
Lucas Leiva108.7113.927.9Brasilien28221344
Emre Can109.2128.120.9Deutschland [U21]1249880
José Enrique108.7115.328.8Spanien [U21]25821950
Average108.9117.325.6
15 Player Average
Average116.4127.726.5

This is good enough to end up sixth in Premier League, so currently Liverpool is underperforming. But even if they weren't, the team isn't good enough to reasonably expect to qualify for Champions League. Comparing this to the Champions League game against Basel, only Škrtel, Sterling, Coutinho and Lambert weren't first choice players according to Goalimpact. Still Basel (113.6) even fielded a slightly better team than Liverpool (113.1) in that game. This again underscores the fact that the team doesn't live up to Champions League ambitions.

Conclusion

If the ambition of Liverpool FC is to qualify for Champions League the players bought don't live up to that objective. Whilst only Borini would be outright rejected as a EPL transfer target by Goalimpact, most are more suitable for a team in the upper midfield of the league table than for a team with Champions League ambitions. In fact, of all new players only Toure and Sturridge are already as of today above the target Goalimpact of 120. Can and Markovic are expected to be well above the target level in future. In case of Markovic that is very soon, Can will take another year or so. Given the money spent on the transfer market, better far options would have been available.

Werder Bremen's Demise

Werder Bremen is the second most successful team in the Bundesliga. In the table comprising all games ever, it holds the second place in front of its local rival Hamburger SV, despite the fact that HSV played one season more. In total it won 4 league titles and 6 times the DFB cup. Once they even won the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup. But the last season they ended on a single digit rank in the Bundesliga was 2011/2012. Two seasons before that, they even qualified for the UEFA Champions League, a competition they have been qualified to since their last German title 2003/2004.

We want so investigate how their player transfers influenced the performance and we will start the investigation at the time they qualified the last time for the Champions League. Due to the qualification, they had still the extra income that comes with the participation, money that will be amiss in the season thereafter. Not to get lost in too many details, we will look at the transfers position by position and summarize in the end.

The analysis is based on our Goalimpact methodology. You can read about the algorithm here and here.

Goalkeeper

2009/2010, when Werder qualified for the Champions League the last time, they had mainly two keepers in the team. Tim Wiese was national goal keeper and Vander was his replacement in case of injury or suspension. Whilst Werder preformed significantly worse when Vander was playing, this didn't cause a big problem because Wiese stayed fit.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Tim Wiese 116.6 113.3 112.6 0 €
Christian Vander 90.0 83.9 77.0 0 €
Sebastian Mielitz 96.8 101.3 104.6 103.4 104.3 0 €
Raphael Wolf 200 k€ 81.4 81.6 82.4
Richard Strebinger 0 € 81.1 85.4 95.9
Raif Husic 100 k€ 73.0

One season later, Vander was replaced by the talent Sebastian Mielitz as second keeper. A good move, because Mielitz was already batter than Vander and appeared to have a lot of talent. Wiese, along with the whole team, performed worse than expected and saw both GI and PeakGI drop.

After Wiese's contract ended in the summer 2012, Mielitz became the first keeper. Because as the same time Vander ended his career, Werder brought in two new young keepers, Raphael Wolf and Richard Strebinger. Apparently, Werder was unsatisfied with Mielitz' performance and they refused to prelong his contract and replaced him with Wolf after only one season as first keeper. According to Goalimpact, that was a rather bad choice. Wolf has a significantly lower Goalimpact.

To summarize, Bremen spent a net 300,000€ on keepers to lower their keeper performance 30 Goalimpact points. To be fair, both Stebinger and Husic are very talented and the investment may pay off in future. For Wolf, we don't see a future that bright. We suggest to make Streibinger the first keeper as short term improvement.

Center Back

At the time Werder qualified for the Champions League the last time, they had an excellent defense in the box. Mertesacker and Naldo were both next to world class and maybe the best center back duo in Bundesliga at that time.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Sebastian Prödl 105.8 101.0 100.9 97.8 94.8 94.3
Per Mertesacker 137.9 137.3 11,300 k€
Petri Pasanen 133.9 128.0 0 €
Naldo 130.5 129.4 124.4 4,800 k€
Mikaël Silvestre 0 € 99.6 89.3 0 €
Sokratis 4,100 k€ 102.2 100.4 9,900 k€
François Affolter 500 k€ 110.2 0 €
Mateo Pavlovic 650 k€ 89.9 88.5 92.9
Assani Lukimya 0 € 106.2 99.8 99.2
Luca Caldirola 2,250 k€ 93.9 94.2
Gálvez 0 € 99.7

At the end of the season 2010/2011, Mertesacker and Pasanen left. Mertesacker was sold for substantial amount of money, Pasanen without transfer income, because Werder and the player couldn't agree on the conditions for the new contract. Naldo was injured for more than one year and sold one year later for another few million Euros.

From its for center backs, Werder chose to keep only Prödl, the
weakest player. They were unlucky that he underperformed
expectations falling below Bundesliga minimum.
As replacements, Werder brought Sokratis and Affolter on Board. Affolter was hired on a loan basis and left after just one season and returned to Switzerland. Sokratis, despite a development that was less than expected, was sold at a premium two years later.

Then followed investments in Pavlovic, Lukimya, Caldirola and Galvez which, along with long-time Werder player Prödl, form today's center back. In the good old times, the average Goalimpact of the Werder central defense was 127.0. This is now down to 96.5. It is fair to say, that Werder sold their assets and hence had a net transfer income from CBs only of 18,500,000 €. But the players now in the team are hardly on the level you'd expect from a Bundesliga team, even as Caldirola is expected to improve a bit as he is only 23 years old.

Advise: If the team plans to stay in Bundesliga, we suggest going back to the drawing table for the central defense. For the short term, playing Lukimya and Galvez seems to be the best option. However, Galvez plays currently often as defensive midfielder.

Left/Righ Back

The defenders on the left and right back were never as good as the central defenders. But in back in summer 2010, they were more than just decent with Boenisch and Fritz. Werder didn't manage to keep Boenisch as he considered their offer as not sufficient and his contract expired. Fritz plays until today, but due to his age his performance decreased significantly.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Aymen Abdennour 104.0 0 €
Sebastian Boenisch 112.2 112.5 110.2 0 €
Clemens Fritz 112.7 108.8 103.4 96.3 90.0 90.1
Dominik Schmidt 93.3 93.5 0 €
Aleksandar Ignjovski 500 k€ 90.23 89.38 90.83 0 €
Florian Hartherz 200 k€ 95.1 150 k€
Lukas Schmitz 1,000 k€ 106.6 106.0 103.3 0 €
Theodor Gebre Selassie 1,800 k€ 108.8 102.5 101.6
Santiago García 2,000 k€ 93.7 93.1
Marnon Busch €0 94.0

2010, Clemens Fritz was a very good player, but he aged
as expected since then and can't deliver as good performance
for a full 90 minutes anymore.
Despite a net investment of 5,340,000€, the player quality for that position deteriorated. Currently, only Selassie has a Goalimpact above 100, the minimum level you'd expect from a Bundesliga player, also even his performance was below expectations from a few years ago.

In total the average Goalimpact of LBs/RBs dropped from 105.6 to a meager 94.7. Most of the loss in performance origins from the transfer policy, some is caused by aging and some by worse than expected player development.

On the upside, the young talent Marnon Busch is expected to reach that level soon and hence we'd suggest to play Bush and Selassie as the current best selection. That said, at least one additional player should be hired according to Goalimpact, because Fritz isn't fit enough anymore for 90 minutes and Garcia lacks the quality.

Defensive Midfield

For a long time, defensive midfield was synonym to Thorsten Frings in Bremen. Frings was a world class defensive midfielder and some say that Germany might have won the World Cup 2006 semifinals against Italy if it wasn't for his suspension. With his departure in Summer 2011, all that was left was below average Bundesliga level.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Peter Niemeyer 98.8 900 k€
Torsten Frings 137.6 120.4 0 €
Philipp Bargfrede 108.7 102.4 102.6 101.8 101.1 101.8
Daniel Jensen 113.3 100.4 0 €
Tom Trybull 200 k€ 91.0 99.6 100 k€
Felix Kroos 240 k€ 99.5 97.4 101.0 101.8 102.0

Werder didn't invest money into that position that many think is pivotal in modern football. They even hat a small net profit of 560,000€ in transfers. According to Goalimpact, Felxis Kroos was a good buy, but he failed to develop as expected after the transfer. Still he is now the best player available for that position.

Central/Offensive Midfield

According to Goalimpact, Werder's strength used to be the defensive players, but in the spot light used to be the offensive midfield. After years of glory with Johan Micoud and Diego, the last success is tight with the young Mesut Özil. Despite Özil's doubtless impact, Aaron Hunt and Tim Borowski also played an important role.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Tim Borowski 117.1 109.1 101.7 0 €
Said Husejinovic 96.4 96.9 0 €
Marko Marin 105.1 102.8 100.4 8,000 k€
Mesut Özil 120.2 18,000 k€
Aaron Hunt 115.4 111.9 110.3 105.4 98.9 0 €
Wesley 7,500 k€ 93.1 93.5 6,000 k€
Predrag Stevanovic 100 k€ 90.4 91.1 93.6 96.1 0 €
Florian Trinks 91.7 91.9 50 k€
Zlatko Junuzovic 800 k€ 100.0 98.4 93.6 92.1
Mehmet Ekici 5,000 k€ 109.8 110.8 111.0 1,500 k€
Aleksandar Stevanovic €0 91.0 98.3 110.0 0 €
Kevin De Bruyne 450 k€ 105.6 0 €
Cédric Makiadi 3,000 k€ 88.0 87.0
Ludovic Obraniak 1,500 k€ 98.4 97.8
Izet Hajrovic €0 96.8

With Özil's departure to Real Madrid, the fortune of signing excellent creative midfielder seemed to have left the team. They had already secured the service of "Germany's Messi", Marko Marin. A player that was never rated by Goalimpact as high as he was described by the media. Werder did a good deal in selling him for 8M€ as the market value halved shortly thereafter.

The signing of Wesley was seen as way too expensive by Goalimpact. You don't want to pay 7.5M€ for a player that has only a Goalimpact of 93 and is expected to peak at 97. The team contained the damage by selling him at only a small discount again.

The signings of Ekici and Aleksandar Stevanovic, while both no new Özil, were actually quite good, but they were removed from the team at the beginning of the current season. Without them, there is no Bundesliga offensive midfield left to speak of. All of them are below the minimum level of 100 and they are not expected to improve much more, too. The sale of Ekici happened after our Bundesliga season prediction. Even with him on the team, we saw Bremen as the weakest team in the competition. Now we consider the team as even weaker.

Bremen earned a net 19,700,000€ from selling their assets in the offensive midfield, but it caused the average player Goalimpact on that position to drop from 110.8 to 93.4.

Striker

Werder's strikers weren't world-class back in 2010, but they were all above average. However, Werder chose not to prolong the contracts of Almeida and Rosenberg and build up a new attack from the scratch around Pizarro. The striker from Peru, however, was unwillingly to prolong his contract due to the little quality in Werder's team and moved to Bayern Munich.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Claudio Pizarro 112.5 106.6 103.0 0 €
Hugo Almeida 114.9 2,000 k€
Markus Rosenberg 114.9 750 k€ 106.9 0 €
Sandro Wagner 350 k€ 100.7 550 k€
Denni Avdic 2,200 k€ 100.7 95.0 1,050 k€
Marko Arnautovic 6,200 k€ 99.0 95.9 98.4 2,800 k€
Eljero Elia 5,500 k€ 97.8 90.6 91.5
Nils Petersen 500 k€ 103.9 102.1 102.0
Joseph Akpala 1,500 l€ 106.3 250 k€
Niclas Füllkrug €0 77.9 85.0 90.1 400 k€
Johannes Wurtz €0 106.1 300 k€
Franco Di Santo €0 86.1 85.3
Fin Bartels €0 90.3
Davie Selke €0 66.5 74.1 90.5 94.7

Davie Selke is going to be Werder's best striker soon. He
developed excellent and outperformed expectations so far.
Since then, Werder's attack is a construction site. Many investments have been made that didn't really pay off. Some players were sold again at a loss. Füllkrug, a promising talent from their youth teams, wasn't fully trusted. According to Goalimpact that might be a mistake. He was still young and didn't played constant on a top level, but had a good prognosis (Peak 120). He has a Goalimpact of 97 by now and is soon going to be above 100 also the PeakGI dropped to 110.

Instead Werder placed their hope on Elia whom they bought for 5.5M€. A high price for a player with a Goalimpact of only 98 and not upside (PeakGI 99). Currently, the best striker duo would be Petersen and Selke. The latter is a talent from the own youth and still plays inconsistent, but he has a good prognosis and is expected to peak at 122. In the long-run a second good striker would be needed.

Summary

Werder Bremen reduced the team quality on every single tactical position. The formerly strong defense now looks shaky, the midfield is weak and lacks creativity and the striker seem harmless. To make things worse, there is only few talent in the team that would let us expect future improvement.

Regular substantial transfer surpluses lead to a continuous decline in
the average team quality. The Goalimpact reduced every single year and
now is below the minimum level you'd expect for a Bundesliga team.
The decline is the result of a transfer policy that was aimed at extracting value from the team's assets (the players). Selling the good players resulted in a steady inflow of cash, but the replacement players weren't nearly as good and some also overpaid. However, to say Werder did a bad job in their signings isn't justified. It was more there overall strategy to make transfer profits that lead to the deterioration of team quality and not single signings. The signings didn't generate the upside that some signings in the past did, but they didn't destroy value, too as many were bought for low fees or even no fee at all.

Still, in total the Goalimpact reveals a reduction in team quality every single year since the last Champions League qualification and generated a net cash-in of 20M€. We hesitate to call this a profit, as the positive cash-flow was more than offset by the reduction of team market value. The Goalimpact used to be well above 110, the level needed to be a contender for Champions League qualification, down to below 100, the level that makes relegation likely.

Looking forward, it is difficult to see if the new trainer, Viktor Skripnik, can avoid the relegation. Given the weak team it is not obvious that the problems were caused by his predecessor Robin Dutt. It is more likely that the demise was caused by a short-sighted transfer policy and a few bad scoutings prior to Dutt's arrival in Bremen. You don't need a crystal ball to foresee that Werder will relegate unless they make a 180° turn-around in transfer spending. Rather than swapping player quality into cash, they need to build up a new team that has improved quality. The latest scoutings and signings were not promising in this respect. There are rumors that Werder is willing to spend on new players in the Winter break. Winter is not the best time for signings and given the bad start in the season, it may already be to late to turn-around then.

And there is more bad news, with the current team, Werder would also struggle to stay in the 2. Liga, in case they will get relegated. Certainly an immediate re-promotion is very unlikely. So our final advise is to start thinking in long-term. An  advise not easy to follow in times of trouble.