How much has each squad changed since last season?
I’ve been looking at squad churn – how much each club’s squad changes between seasons – for a fair few years now but I’ve never been all that happy with how the graphics turned out (apart from that one year I got Bootifulgame involved: http://matchstory.co.uk/portfolio/player-churn-the-championship/).
Therefore I thought it was worth having another stab at it and managed to come up with a template I liked pretty quickly. I’ve followed a similar approach to the squad age profile graphics I introduced last season, where every club’s data is laid out in a minimalist style to allow high-level comparisons.
There’s a brief explanation of how these work at the top of each graphic, but in summary I’ve plotted a donut chart for each club where every player’s league minutes from last season is a separate segment, ordered from largest to smallest. I’ve then shaded them dark if they’re still at the club and light if they’ve left, so you can see at a glance how regularly the players a club has lost featured last season.
To be perfectly honest, it would probably have been cleaner to use stacked bars rather than wrapping the data into donuts (and the smallest “slices” would probably be easier to see), but I preferred the look of them this way.
I’ve harvested the data from the official retained lists, the BBC transfer page, Transfermarkt and a variety of Twitter sources, so hopefully I haven’t missed anything. I’ve updated it since the initial version I ran on Friday morning to reflect a few deals that were confirmed late (plus a few I freely admit I missed).
You can see the data I’ve collected here in a Google Sheet – please let me know via Twitter if you think I’ve gotten anything wrong.
A pattern which persists over time is that the higher up you are in the pecking order, the less your squad tends to changes from season-to-season. This seems to make sense as the top clubs will have more control over which players depart and when. What it means in practice is that these graphics will get more interesting the further you scroll down.
Despite another big-spending window from Man Utd, Wayne Rooney was the only meaningful departure in terms of minutes played last season (although the returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t feature for a while). Liverpool and Crystal Palace are the only other Premier League clubs to have retained all of last season’s most-used 11 players.
At the other end of the spectrum, Swansea‘s late swap of Fernando Llorente for Wilfried Bony takes their level of churn beyond Man City as the most-changed squad in the top flight.
Millwall look to be placing faith in the squad that got them promoted to keep them in the Championship, with only Sheffield Wednesday and QPR having retained players who clocked up a higher share of the club’s league minutes last season. The Lions and the Owls are the only two Championship sides to have retained the services of all of their most-used 11 players last season.
Two of the three relegated sides – Hull and Sunderland – look to be completely remodelling their squads. Sam Clucas’ recent departure means that only one of the Tigers’ 10 most-used players from last season (Michael Dawson) now remains at the club. The extent to which Barnsley‘s squad has been raided is also clear.
Newly-promoted Doncaster lead the way as the only side in Leagues 1 and 2 to have retained all of last season’s most-used 11 players (thanks to Jordan Houghton re-joining for another loan spell). Plymouth also look to be keeping the faith in the core of the side that got them promoted.
Two of the clubs who narrowly escaped relegation – Bury and Gillingham have rung the changes heavily, with the Shakers’ turnover the most drastic. James Vaughan’s recent departure for Sunderland leaves Greg Leigh and Danny Mayor as the only two of their most-used 11 players in situ.
Barnet have retained players who accumulated over three quarters of the Bees’ league minutes last season, making them the least-changed squad in the fourth tier. While no League 2 club has retained all of their most-used 11 players from last season, Notts County stand out as having held onto 10.
The most-changed side in the division – and indeed the entire of the top four divisions – are Port Vale, who only have two of their 13 most-used players from last season still on the books. Fewer than a quarter of last season’s league minutes were racked up by their current squad. In fact the four teams relegated from League 1 are the four most-changed sides, with Coventry, Swindon and Chesterfield being the others.