A study has revealed what most of us already know…
Southampton’s academy is awesome.
After bringing through the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the past, Saints have continued their trend of churning out top-class stars from their Staplewood training ground with Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw starring over the past three seasons since their return to the Premier League. All of those players have since left, but they have made Southampton a considerable amount of cash.
In fact, Saints’ academy is the most profitable in Europe.
A study by the International Centre for Sports Studies’ (CEIS) Football Observatory has revealed that Saints have raked in almost $100 million in transfer fees in the past three seasons from selling off their academy graduates, more than any other European side.
Below is a list of the top 20 teams in Europe, in terms of the revenue they have generated by selling academy products aged 15-21 since July 2012.
Southampton leads the way, then comes Ligue 1 outfit Lille after selling the likes of Eden Hazard, Divock Origi and Mathieu Debuchy. Interestingly, the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United all feature in the top 13, as the profitability of their academies continues.
In the video above NBC Sports’ Roger Bennett traveled to Southampton to make the brilliant “Southampton Way” documentary, which looks at how the south coast club continues to churn out top talent as they currently sit in the upper echelons of the Premier League.