Transfermarkt is one of the most visited football sites in the world.  It offers information on fixtures, results, scores, statistics and transfer news.  

I had an opportunity to speak with Thomas Lintz, the Managing Director for Transfermarkt.  He was good enough to answer some questions that I have collected from readers.  You can learn more about Thomas by clicking here.

Transfermarkt = Football News

Can a player submit themselves to be listed on the Transfermarkt?  If yes, how do they do this?

No, players can only be added by TM employees or data scouts, following some basic rules on when a player should be listed.

This is mainly: We are covering the competition he’s playing in or other needs like current rumours, etc.

Who collects and validates information on the players? 

Transfermarkt is a football portal for fans made by fans. Pretty much like Wikipedia, data is gathered by users and reviewed by so called data scouts. Those are users that commit to certain countries or competitions and take care of those specific areas on a regular basis. Everybody is invited to register and submit one of the many correction forms available for all players, clubs, managers and competitions.

How do you identify the teams that are listed.  (There are some US lower level teams listed, but not others.  Are they only listed if they are affiliated with a higher level team?)

Teams typically are added when they appear in one player’s transfer history.

How do you come up with the estimated market value of a player?  

Transfermarkt market values are estimated in a rather qualitative than quantitative process. This means that our users, experts and admins are discussing values continuously and at some point (usually at least twice a year, maximum four times) new market values are entered, checked in the Transfermarkt HQ and finally published. In the discussion, there are several criterions contributing to the market value. All of them should be taken into account whilst discussing and – quite important – comparing players, clubs and leagues continuously.

To name the important ones: performance data, age, position, club, league, national team, transfer fees paid so far, possible transfer fees in future, marketing-related factors (“prestige”) and future perspectives.

Important to know is, that market values shall not be considered as a forecast for transfers sums, even though at some points market values may be exactly or nearly equal to a paid transfer sum. This means: A free agent (when a player’s contract has expired) still has a market value. Instead, market values try to show a player’s inherent value or otherwise put the player’s value as an asset for a club he’s under contract with.

Is there a negative “surcharge” applied to US players?

I am not 100% sure we understand this question. If you mean whether we give players a lower market value, based on their US passport, then that is a resounding no.

We think, if anything, US players are more valuable because they don't take up a foreign spot within MLS and open up marketing opportunities when signed by a European club. Players are not evaluated based on their nationality. Only the criteria mentioned in point 4 play a role.

Are US MLS players considered less valuable than Premier League or Bundesliga or La Liga teams?  MLS player's salaries are typically considerably less.

First, it is very important to note that salary and market values are two very separate things. Second, yes MLS players on average have a lower market value than players from the top European leagues simply because the level of competition is still significantly higher in Europe's elite leagues than it is the case in MLS.

On that note, MLS market values, just like salary, are closing the gap and the league ranks in the same range as the likes of the Eredivisie and Liga NOS on average player market values alone.

Do you see more US youth players being listed over the past few years?

We always thrive to have as complete of a database as possible and, as a result, we attempt to include every player at every club in the database. The US is increasingly a key market and we have, therefore, spent more time on North America filling the gaps where necessary.

We do think that the increased talent pool in North America, not just in the US but also in Canada has meant that we have more players from those markets in the database then ever before. The database in the USA currently comprises four leagues. Since the USLC and USL1 also feature academy players, more and more talents are finding their way onto our site.

Are the views on US players changing or are they just in a sweet spot right now because of COVID and because they are cheaper options for financially strapped clubs.

We know from talking to clubs in Germany that the US is increasingly becoming a key market for signing players. That development could already be observed before COVID. Talent development in North America has improved significantly too and with many German teams having connections with MLS teams and US talent being easily integrated in German society, Bundesliga teams, in particular, have found it an easy market to scout and develop talents. We think that other European countries are catching on to this as well and, again, this would have happened COVID or not. 

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