The formation mechanism of the player transfer network among football clubs

Yu Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Clubs compete for talented players to succeed in the global football industry. Drawing on a network analytical framework, this research explores how endogenous and exogenous factors influence the partner selection process in the player transfer market. The boundary of the transfer network consists of 98 football clubs from the top five European leagues. Using exponential random graph models (ERGMs), the current study confirms that clubs have a significantly high propensity of exchanging players. Player transactions often occur through closed triads, such that clubs tended to make a deal with those who shared the same third partners. Additionally, league type and match performance produce stable and significant effects on the formation of transfer ties. Practical implications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-715
Number of pages12
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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