Southampton have the most profitable youth academy among the top leagues in Europe, according to a study by the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) in Switzerland.
CIES studied which clubs in the top flights in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy generated the most money from transfers from players from their academies and discovered Southampton topped the list at 90.2m since 2012. (**********all prices given in euros).
Almost 40 per cent of the Premier League’s total came from Southampton’s summer sale of three England internationals: Adam Lallana to Liverpool (30m), Luke Shaw to Manchester United (35m) and Calum Chambers (20m) to Arsenal.
Lille were second on the list at 76m thanks to players including Eden Hazard (37m to Chelsea) and Mathieu Debuchy (16m to Arsenal), while Real Sociedad’s sales of Antoine Griezmann (30m to Atletico Madrid) and Asier Illarramendi (32.2m to Real Madrid) put them third with 62.2m.
At 43m, Real Madrid — Jose María Callejon, Daniel Carvajal, Esteban Granero, Alvaro Morata — pipped rivals Barcelona (38.8m euros) — Thiago Alcantara, Jonathan dos Santos, Andreu Fontas, Bojan Krkic, Antonio Sanabria — for sixth.
Radamel Falcao’s future at Manchester United looks even more bleak after failing to make an impact when turning out for the under 21s in a 1-1 draw with Totttenham at Old Trafford.
Dropped to the junior side by Louis Van gaal in a bid to discover form and match fitness, the 29-year-old Colombia striker, who United paid Monaco a reported £6m to sign until the end of the season with the option of a £43.5m permanent deal in the summer, struggled and was eventually substituted after 72 minutes.
The former Porto and Atletico Madrid star has managed just four goals in 20 appearances since arriving in England.
Gianfranco Zola has been sacked as manager of struggling Cagliari after just 10 games in charge, with the Serie A club reappointing Zdenek Zeman as coach.
Former Chelsea striker Zola replaced Zeman as manager in December but won just eight points from a possible 30, leaving them 18th in Serie A.
In a statement, the Italian club said it had taken a “reluctant decision against a great man who has written unforgettable pages in our history”.
Zola ended his playing career at Cagliari in 2005.
The 48-year-old also spent seven seasons as a player with Premier League club Chelsea between 1996 and 2003.
Zeman, 67, was himself only appointed Cagliari manager in June 2014, but the Czech-born Italian was sacked with the club third bottom in the table.
The Spain international has been something of a bit-part player under Luis Enrique – making only 19 starts as he has stayed in the shadow of Barca’s frontline trio of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Having been a regular under Luis Enrique’s predecessors, Pedro acknowledged he is likely to consider his future with the club.
“It’s obvious that it’s difficult to nail down a place in the team,” he said.“I have had few opportunities this season but I have to wait and when they do come, take advantage of them.
“I’m going through a difficult moment. I’ll evaluate my future at the end of the season and I’ll speak to the club.”
With Barca’s transfer ban running until 2016, it remains to be seen whether the club would allow the likes of Pedro to leave at the end of the season.
Angel Di Maria
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says Angel Di Maria has “no excuses” for being sent off for tugging at referee Michael Oliver’s shirt during the side’s FA Cup exit.
The struggling Argentina international was dismissed in the 77th minute of United’s 2-1 quarter-final defeat at home to Arsenal after reacting angrily to being booked for diving.
Di Maria clasped at the back of Oliver’s top, earning a second booking and his marching orders.
“In Spain he knows that he doesn’t touch the referee, but that is also in his emotion,” said Van Gaal. “I’ve already spoken with him, he knows my opinion. He’s touched the referee and that’s forbidden in every country, so he has no excuses.”