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Ranking the most profitable Premier League academies

A strong academy system can be the heart of a football club, with self-produced stars becoming the foundation to build around or profitable assets sold to bring in funds.

The Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules have increased emphasis on producing academy graduates, who can be sold on and count as complete profit on the balance sheet.

Using data from the CIES Football Observatory, we’ve calculated the most profitable Premier League academies across the last decade. Those included must have spent at least three seasons at the club between the ages of 15 and 21 to count as an academy player.

Here are the five Premier League teams to have brought in the most money from the sale of academy players since 2014.

5. Liverpool – £169m

Liverpool have banked around £169m from selling self-produced players across the last decade, with the £49m sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City the biggest deal done. Initially signed from QPR as a 15-year-old, Sterling graduated through the Reds’ ranks to become a first-team regular before being sold on in a big-money deal.

Neco Williams (£17m) and Harry Wilson (£12m) are also among the academy players to have brought in sizeable sums for the Reds in recent years, though the very finest – including Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones – have remained at Anfield.

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Liverpool are currently enjoying a fine period in promoting young talent with Jayden Danns (18), Owen Beck (21), Conor Bradley (20), James McConnell (19) and Jarrel Quansah (20) all debuting for the club in the Premier League this season.

4. Aston Villa – £173m

Aston Villa rank fourth on this list, with the bulk of their £173m sales brought in from the £100m club-record sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City in 2021.

Pep Guardiola’s side activated the release clause in Grealish’s deal to make the winger the first £100m player in Premier League history.

Carney Chukwuemeka (£20m), Cameron Archer (£18m) and Aaron Ramsey (£14m) round out Aston Villa’s most valuable academy sales, with each having contributed to the rebuild of a side now pushing for Champions League football.

3. Manchester City – £216m

Manchester City might have been criticised for their spending across the last decade but the Citizens have emerged as significant sellers in recent windows.

The City academy has thrived of late with a number of names have represented other Premier League clubs after failing to make the grade at the Etihad.

Last summer alone, City brought in £89.3m from the sales of Cole Palmer, Shea Charles, James Trafford and Carlos Borges, a quartet of academy graduates who had started just three Premier League games for the club between them.

2. Tottenham – £218m

Tottenham brought in £96m from the sale of two of their own last summer, after sanctioning the departures of Harry Kane and Harry Winks to Bayern Munich and Leicester respectively.

Kane’s departure equalled the most expensive sale in the club’s history, alongside the then-world record deal that took Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in 2013.

The departures of Kane and Winks swelled the club’s coffers to £218m from the sale of academy graduates across the last decade, with Andros Townsend (£12m) and Ryan Mason (£13m) also included among the notable sales during that period.

1. Chelsea – £297m

Chelsea have been a money-making machine when it comes to offloading academy players, with Cobham having been a factory for young talent across the last decade.

The west Londoners have brought in £297m from the sale of academy products alone, the fifth-highest figure of any side in world football since 2014.

Mason Mount (£55m) became the latest name to earn Chelsea a pure profit margin after moving to Manchester United last summer, with the England midfielder becoming the Blues’ biggest academy sale.

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Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marc Guehi also count among the considerable sales, while there could be further homegrown names ushered out the exit door in the upcoming transfer windows.

The record-breaking transfer spend of Todd Boehly needs to be offset and academy sales appeal to those looking to balance the books at Stamford Bridge.

Conor Gallagher, Armando Broja and Trevoh Chalobah have all been linked with exits, as Chelsea’s academy continues to produce talent and provide profit.

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