The CIES Football Observatory released its squad reports for the month of March, grading clubs across Europe on three factors: age structure, group stability and contractual policy.
According to the findings of the study, Manchester United possess the most sustainable squad across all of Europe’s top five leagues. The Premier League club has also been tipped to be one of the favourites to win the league in the years to come. As for the ongoing season, the finding has predicted that Manchester United should make it to the Champions League next season without too much hassle.
Coming to the details of the study, they take a cut-off age for each position – 33 for a goalkeeper, 32 for a defender, 31 for a midfielder and 30 for a striker – before measuring what percentage of minutes players above those ages have played for teams this season.
The second test is group stability, looking at the reliance on new signings, and how many minutes are played by recruits since June 2020. Top of the list across the whole of Europe is Fulham, while Manchester United are sat in the bottom 10, having relied little on new signings, breathing continuity through the squad – a desirable attribute according to the study.
Finally, they studied the minutes played by players who are on loan, or whose contracts are set to expire before June 2022.
Manchester United lead the list, while Basque clubs Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao come in second and third respectively. The top five is capped off by Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in fourth and fifth respectively.