Goalkeepers | An Alternative Guide to Investment

In the latest edition of Football Index, the market went ‘full-IPO’ mode and witnessed a plethora of rockets across Europe’s finest goalkeepers. Not only was this revival from the depths of the Index arranged to favour fingers-on-buzzers, like a megastore opening on Black Friday, but it was also largely incalculable from the traders side. Plenty of new and experienced traders flocked to the likes of Ederson and Ter Stegen knowing the ribbon-cutting moment at 17:30 would cause quick capital appreciation – something many hadn’t seen in the low end of the market since the onset of the ongoing pandemic.

Since Thursday 9th July, we’ve seen 12 Goalkeepers increase 100% in market value. Pau Lopez of Roma has seen the greatest margin; 196% rise. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has risen the most in terms of absolute price; £0.81 market value increase.

Gianluigi Donnarumma | Last 7 days +£0.52 (79%)

Aside from the cunning traders who bought to flip on, the supreme resellers of the market if you will, there also must have been traders who bought Goalkeepers to hold for longer than the weekend. Some may have done a few sums in the intermission during market downtime before the grand release was unveiled – albeit through a system of crashing servers. Others may have just shot from the hip, simply going by ‘if they were valued at X before they could barely win dividends, they’re surely worth more now that they can win dividends’. A reasonable assumption, but an uncalculated investment nonetheless.

Team of the Month is an immediate factor to consider in the new ‘true price’ of a Goalkeeper, whilst the introduction of GK matchday dividends next season will also drive the value northbound in coming months. Matchday dividends are likely already playing their part in the values through both misunderstanding the introduction dates or traders calculating it in on a longer term basis.

Following a weekend of both glee and anger surrounding Football Index’s new dividend structure, we are still seeing the big questions floating around Twitter and Trading Groups.

What is the real value of a Goalkeeper? Will we see them rise further? Who are the Best Keepers to invest in?

There’s a thousand factors that need addressing here, but we’re going to hone in on some perspectives we believe traders may have overlooked when considering investing in Goalkeepers on Football Index.

Firstly, there are fewer Goalkeepers, so it’s presumably easier to win dividends. This is one of the arguments that rationally explains why the market moved to the very best goalkeepers over the weekend. When GK Matchday dividends are live, there’s approximately 1 Goalkeeper for every 4 defenders on the field. So it’s perhaps easier to identify a top goalkeeper as a heavy-hitter in the PB department, whilst it’s harder to identify a top defender (or so you’d think).

Secondly, the matrix is more simplistic for a goalkeeper. You don’t expect goals, assists or passes/key passes/dribbles completed/tackles etc, whereas with all three other categories (DEF, MID, FWD) these factors are central to a successful PB outing.

To exemplify this point; Trent Alexander-Arnold is a PB boss because of his ability to play crosses and key passes which contribute to a huge assist tally, whilst Sergio Ramos is a great option for his huge scoring ability. Marquinhos doesn’t offer a goal or assist tally near these two, but offers a high average PB through controlling the play from the back with outstanding pass completion each game. These three players are all incredibly different and have different PB dividend success, yet all compete for the same matchday DEF dividends and all show a good PB Average per game.

With Keepers, it’s far more simple, though equally as unpredictable.

A clean sheet is realistically an absolute must, as it offers 40 points. A win bonus is 18 points more. So these two already narrow down the playing field considerably on a Gold matchday. In recent years, the Top Premier League teams keep a clean sheet in approximately half of their games. We could dive in further to see how many of those statistically end up a 0-0 draw but let’s assume most of the time, they win. Alisson for example has kept 13 clean sheets in 26 games, all bar one of those clean sheets being a win (0-0 draw to Everton).

So a top tier keeper will take a clean sheet team win approximately half of their games to score +58 points minimum.

That’s not where the difference solely lies though, because a keeper will also LOSE -15 points for a team loss and -5 points per goal conceded. So a Keeper that wins a game 1-0 will have 78 PB points more than a 1-0 defeat, purely based on the team’s result due to that single goal concession.

For keepers with great defences in front of them, this means they don’t have to do all that much to have a high base score. It puts them in the running for PB. Ask yourself - how many goalkeepers keep a clean sheet and win each weekend? It’s a pretty small field to choose from in comparison to the number of midfielders that assist each weekend, or forwards that score etc.

Goalkeeper Scoring Matrix | Football Index

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. A keeper that may not keep a clean sheet but has a busy day may well score well too. A save is +10, and a ‘blocked shot' is +20. Having checked Opta to understand this, it seems Blocked Shot is in fact a stat used to monitor attacking play, when a shot is blocked by a defender. It seemingly has nothing to do with Keepers, and in fact no keeper has registered a blocked shot this season – funnily enough. Back to the point, a save is 10. So 4 saves are needed to offset the clean sheet performance. The only other big scorer left is a penalty save, +45.

After that, simply being involved here and there. Passes, High Claims or Punches from crosses. A keeper needs to ideally keep a clean sheet but have a couple of involvements in the game to register the odd save and claim possession through smothers or sweeping. It’s not many touches to make an impression.

To summarise GK Performance Buzz, we’d assume the best keepers keep clean sheets whilst still being involved. Sure enough, some of the highest average PB keepers include Neuer, Alisson, Ter Stegen, Szczesny, Sommer, Gulacsi. They all play for top teams in their respective divisions. Clean sheets fall their way regularly.

Strangely though, a few you’d expect to post a good average PB over the season are lower down the pecking order. Ederson, despite winning with Man City regularly whilst keeping clean sheets, is on par with Mat Ryan of Brighton.

Goalkeepers AVG PB is hard to pick apart.

Ahh. Just when you think you understand that a keeper must be somewhat ‘involved’ and also keep clean sheets, you see Dubruvka. Same number of goals conceded as Mat Ryan, though 2 more clean sheets. Plus over twice as many saves as Ederson this season. In return, a poorer average PB.

Discovering any form of pattern outside of clean sheets registered is almost impossible in terms of Goalkeepers PB. The market was right to favour those that keep clean sheets and perhaps lean towards the marginally younger to avoid capital depreciation.

But it’s still debatable whether it was right to drive value up 100%. Or in fact right to stop rocketing at >100%.

Let’s assume matchday dividends are live and ready now and it’s next season. Presumably keepers won’t be much lower in value unless everybody bought with the intention to flip quickly.

What can a good Goalkeeper win?

Well, a gold matchday is £0.03 per share, Silver £0.02 and Bronze £0.01. Keepers with cleansheets and a team win will carry that +58 score even if they’ve stood still for 90 mins. The best keeper over the course of the month will take £0.05 per share.

A high average PB is probably the best metric to lean on. Back in the day, PB peaks were the sole focus to win Matchday dividends – and the precious Star Player. The introduction of TOTM now means an average is becoming an important consideration too. In Goalkeepers, where the ability to hit high peaks is relatively low (PB Max this season is 230 compared to 403 for a midfielder), star player isn’t really in the running, so there’s more chance of aiming for a TOTM spot than a star player dividend. Therefore the average is probably of more importance than the peak unless you foresee a keeper putting up 250.

As discussed, high PB averages tend to favour more clean sheets. So those that keep the most clean sheets are of highest value. This is what we’ve seen from the market in recent days.

Is there still a rise to come?

We obviously don’t control the market alone, it's all of us traders who do, so we couldn’t tell you what will happen. But consider this. The most expensive GK is Alison at £1.57 right now. If he wins TOTM once plus a gold and silver matchday in a season that’s £0.10 in dividends. That’s a modest approach, and over the course of a season it could easily be more than two occasions of winning on matchdays. Then add IPD from presumably two cleansheets in the first 30 days you hold, that’s 2p. £0.12 in divs, returning 7.6% annually. For comparison, Paulo Dybala has a PB yield of 6.5% this season. Kevin De Bruyne has a PB yield of 5.1%. This suggests either Dybala and KDB have been historically overpriced, or Goalkeepers are still underpriced - baring in mind Alisson is the most expensive, whilst the two outfield examples scrape the Top 20. Going forward this may change as there are now more rewards for the outfield players too, noted. But it still doesn't detract from comparing the prices of this season and the respective yields.

Interestingly, the concept of ‘potential’ has barely been at play with GKs since the dividend announcement when compared to outfield players. The keepers which rose most (£) were established and experienced. Only 3 of the Top 10 risers were under 26 years old; Donnarumma, Pau Lopez and Rajkovic.

As much as it makes us grumble to see the manner in which GKs were introduced, then the manner in which traders have laughed at those holding keepers, we think those onboarding keepers for the long-term may be on to something.

They won’t win as many dividends per matchday, granted, but if some of the top keepers are in rotation of the dividends, they’ll be yielding north of 10% with ease each year. Keepers age well too, Gigi Buffon was playing a Champions League Final aged 39; Van Der Sar man of the match in the Champions League of ’08 aged 38. It's hard to see capital depreciation becoming a firm factor when most of Europe's best keepers are 30+ and have a few years extra in the tank compared to their outfield teammates.

With no dividend history of keepers, we’re all peering into darkness here. It takes a little imagination to calculate how an experienced keeper is a potentially a good investment on the index now. But roll with it.

Example: Gulacsi, of RB Leipzig. 30 years old. PB average of 95 – safely in the Top 20 keepers by this metric. PB Max of 216 which won him defender dividends before GK was introduced. He’s sat at £0.71 per share. If he wins a Gold and a Silver matchday per season, he’ll reap £0.05 per share. He’d have won TOTM once this year according to Index Gain, so let’s assume he’ll win it once next season. We won’t consider IPDs.

So £0.10 per share is 14.2% ROI annually. A solid yield. Hopefully you’d take that 14% ROI and be able to sell Gulacsi next year for a similar price given the likelihood of doing the same again for at least 3 years again. Not a bad budget option.

Final Words

The ceiling for Goalkeepers should probably reflect the same return on investment as any outfield player. This means their price should be lower on the basis that their dividends are lower. However, if you compare keepers with ‘experienced, proven PB dominants’ such as Kevin De Bruyne, Paulo Dybala and Thiago Alcantara, you’ll see the potential to yield a greater return on investment through assuming a similar number of winning PB occasions.

With TOTM establishing itself in the near future, we’ll see if the market picks up again at the higher end. As it stands though, traders shooting from the hip in hope of a good keeper bringing home PB dividends at least twice a season and getting a slot in the TOTM look to bring back a greater margin than plenty of other outfield options.

We’ve not decided if we’re dabbling in goalkeepers for dividends yet, as we look to build on our modelling of PB opportunities. But those that got on board early may have actually rushed into something half decent.

Player stats taken from Premierleague.com, PB data provided by indexgain.co.uk

Enjoy the read? Perhaps consider becoming a patron?

Football Index Gurus | United Kingdom