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Fiorentina has the 46th most expensive squad in the world

The Viola have spent €58 million on the team, good for 9th in Serie A.

ACF Fiorentina v AC Milan - Serie A
“No, really, you all need to buy, like, 14 pairs of Tod’s if you want Fiorentina to win the Champions League.”
Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

We tend to think of Fiorentina as one of the 5 or 6 “biggest” clubs in Italy, and probably in the 2nd or 3rd tier of clubs worldwide. Not the heaviest of hitters, certainly, but with a certain cachet and dignity that the majority of teams would kill for.

That’s why it’s surprising that the cost in transfers to assemble the Viola squad is just 46th among the 5 major European leagues per Football Observatory, behind such luminaries as Middlesbrough, Sassuolo, and Leipzig. It also goes a long way to explaining Fiorentina’s struggles this season, as money spent usually equates to position in the league table.

The report which gives us this information is, in fairness, rather limited. It only counts total transfer expenditures, not overall team value. That means that academy players or players who were bought on the cheap and blossomed into stars—the basis of a sound transfer strategy for any club that doesn’t have oligarch/sheikh money—don’t impact the data as much. It also doesn’t take into account the money made by selling players, as compared to money simply put into the transfer fund by the owners. Finally, as the market inflates, players cost more, which means that good teams which were assembled recently probably cost more than good teams that have had some established success. Still, this is a good way to look at finances.

Transfer Expenditure to Assemble the Squad (Millions of Euros)

Football Observatory

It’s a little jarring to see sides like Sampdoria, Sassuolo, and Torino ahead of Fiorentina, and to have Bologna and Udinese just behind; these are all clubs we tend to consider operating at a level below the Viola. On the other hand, this is a consequence of getting the books balanced; keep in mind that Fiorentina is one of about three clubs in Italy that isn’t losing money.

Speaking of irresponsible spending, it’s equally surprising to see that Juventus have spent over 6 times what the Gigliati have. Inter Milan have spent about 5 times as much, while AS Roma and Napoli have more than trebled the Viola sum.

Also check out where the richest clubs are. Burnley is the only English team that’s spent less on transfers to assemble its squad than Fiorentina. Serie A can make a strong case for being the most financially competitive league, as it has the smallest range of expenditures on players, although it lacks the firepower of the Premier League, the Bundesliga, or la Liga.

I’ve pulled together a few basic stats from this info, but feel free to check it out yourself here.

League statistics

England total: €4.48 billion
England average: €224.4 million
England median: €140.5 million

Spain total: €1.973 billion
Spain average: €98.6 million
Spain median: €31.5 million

Italy total: €1.973 billion
Italy average: €93.7
Italy median: €56

Germany total: €1.164 billion
Germany average: €89.7 million
Germany median: €59 million

France total: €1.029 billion
France average: €51.45
France median: €38

Obviously, the English TV deals have catapulted the Premier League into the stratosphere. It’s kind of crazy to imagine that the average English squad cost almost 3 times as much to assemble as an Italian or German one. It also casts into focus how absurd Leicester City is: they beat teams that cost 7 times as much to put together, but they’re mid-tier in cost for the Premier League.The Bundesliga is, financially speaking, the most equal of the major leagues. Ligue 1 has PSG and Monaco spending lots of money, but lacks the middle class teams that Italy, Germany, and Spain have. It’s pretty clear why la Liga is always a 2- or 3-horse race: nobody can compete with the money spent at the top. Finally, Inter are probably the best option to break Juve’s hold on Serie A, given how much they’ve shelled out to assemble a top-notch squad.

Obviously, this is just a very brief overview of a pretty interesting bit of information, so please add your own observations.