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Player Shirt Sales 2014/15: Who's Your Favourite?

On the back of the data we released not so long ago regarding shirt sales, we’re this time taking on who comes out as the most popular Premier League player based on the number of football shirt sales with footy stars’ names on the back.

It has been suggested in the past that a reason why a football club may buy a player is due to their popularity and the amount of merchandise that the player can single handily sell. Of course the players ability should always be the biggest factor when a club is contemplating signing him, but potential merchandise sales may well enter the thought process when club owners are making their latest signings.

One of the most vocal about this is perhaps the current Real Madrid president Florentino Perez who has been quoted in the past stating that ‘when Beckham came we went from earning €7m a year to €45m a year’. Perez suggested that the majority of this increase in revenue came from deals with sponsors. Clearly, the association between one of the most famous people on the planet and the most famous football club was one that brands with capital wanted to be associated with. Another key source of revenue when signing a famed footballer can be the acquisition of their image rights. Again, Real Madrid found this out when they signed David Beckham.

Some more recent sales data that backs up claims expensive players nearly pay for themselves was released by Euromericas Sports Marketing. They put forward that around 345,000 James Rodriguez shirts were sold within 48 hours of him signing for Real, this figure equates to around £21 million in shirt sales, a third of what they bought him for. In order for SportsDirect.com to generate the £59.7 million Manchester United signed Di Maria for around 965000 shirts would have to be sold. However just a mere 540,000 shirts would accumulate the £35 million that was paid for Alexis Sanchez. These statistics do suggest just how important sponsorship and image rights are for a club when financing a marquee signing. Based on shirt sales alone clubs would struggle to recoup the money they splash on the world’s best talent. There’s no doubt that these figures will have an impact on the European heavyweights of football as it appears that spending what could be dubbed as a ridiculous amount of money on a player could turn out to be a tactical decision.

Some of the biggest surprises came from the players out of the top 10, as Ayoze Perez was 11th most popular player according to our sales data, beating the likes of Harry Kane, Cesc Farbregas, Oscar, Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling. It appears that the Spaniard has won the hearts of Newcastle fans after his impressive start to life in the Premier League. Whilst we are focusing on the most popular Premier League stars, it is in fact the name Jack that comes up as one of the most popular shirt printing requests as 0.39% of our shirt sales had this name on the back. It appears that if you are lucky enough to have this name then you are more popular than a host of big name stars including Papiss Cisse, Balotelli, Wilshere, Lallana, David Silva, John Terry and Yaya Toure.

As many of us may predict, attacking players generally sell more shirts than defensive players with the exception of goalkeepers who seem to be pretty popular amongst fans. Luke Shaw was the most popular defender and even then he was all the way down at 38 on the list.

The data shows that the 3 big summer signings Di Maria, Sanchez and Costa top the list. Does this mean that the only way to sell the most shirts is to splash the cash on your clubs next superstar? We will let you argue whether it is really worth spending the extra money on some players in hope of a healthy return.

Finally we’ll look at the stats we pulled out from our shirt sales below.

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