The financial prowess of the Premier League is damaging English football as we know it
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Posted by John Smith | Published on September 4, 2016
After months of ongoing rumours, large sums of money being spent across Europe and thirteen clubs in England’s top division breaking their all-time record fee spent on a player, the “biggest transfer-window of all time” has come to an end. With the implementation of an exclusive television deal for the Premier League, an unthinkable sum of £1.1 billion was spent in the attempt of strengthening the top sides in England.
In comparison to the other “big leagues” in world football, the Premier League is undoubtedly the most attractable league for international players to join. The financial gains of the league enables clubs to succeed, in regards to player fees and wages, to bring the best players to the England in contrast to a club in a different country. To put this into a greater perspective, La Liga and Bundesliga clubs almost spent three times less in transfers in comparison to the Premier League.
Out of the four top European leagues, it’s no surprise that England’s top division also held the worst net-spend with an approximation of -£710 million. This figure is especially surprising in contrast to the rival leagues, La Liga had a net-spend of around -£31 million whilst the Bundesliga and Serie A had reported net-spends of -£65m million and -£20 million respectively (Source – Transfermarkt).
Regardless of the fact that a current, or a potential future, international superstar may have signed for your respective club, it isn’t necessarily successful for those that are a part of the English football team. With an increasing number of global footballers playing a part in the English Premier League, it is, in fact, the English players themselves who are proving to be the greatest sufferers in the process.
Less than three months ago, England played their part in the most recent European Championship tournament in what was definitely another embarrassing run for the Three Lions. In what was reported as an “easy group”, England were drawn against the likes of: Wales, Russia and Slovakia, but failed to conquer and thus had enough to just finish second and progress into the next round. Despite the poor finish, the Three Lions were once again awarded “luck” as they were drawn against an inexperienced Iceland side who were enjoying their first ever run in an international tournament. The ‘underdogs’ proved to be a greater match as they conquered an embarrassed England side 2-1.
It’s clearly obvious that the Three Lion’s short-lived time in France was nothing short of humiliation, no efficient argument could quite possibly be made in regards to how everyone performed. Giving consideration to the fact that an extraordinary amount of English players originate in the Premier League, it is proving to be a major error in regards to England’s ongoing failure in international competitions. A lack of motivation to play football elsewhere in the world combined with a lack of inspiration in regards to the national team is making life that much more difficult for the Three Lions to look a threat.
Taking into account that every member of Roy Hodgson’s squad consisted of Premier League players, one of the biggest issues for the country is the fact that everyone is playing in a league where it is severely difficult to thrive in. When observing everyone selected for the Three Lions in comparison to the other countrymen playing in the Premier League, it’s obvious where the problem lies. If you were to build a team of the best players in the Premier League, would any English international make the cut? To put it simply, no.
Regardless of the fact that they always play on home soil, it’s hard to imagine any English international being the best player in the league in their respective position. Is Harry Kane a better striker than the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Sergio Aguero? Is Joe Hart a better goalkeeper than David de Gea or Thibaut Courtois? Are Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling better defenders than the likes of Laurent Koscielny or Vincent Kompany? Keeping in mind that all of these players play in the same league, it’s becoming more and more difficult for English players to strive in their respective position as many more star players around the world are being brought to the Premier League.
To expand on this, the financial strengths of the Premier League is not only damaging English football in the short-run but also in the long-run. Bearing in mind that clubs in the league receive a significant amount of funds every year come the end of the season, they make the decision to focus more on the transfer market in comparison to giving more attention to the development of their respective youth academy or reserves team.
As noted, since an outstanding number of professional English footballers play their football in the same country, it makes life that much harder for them should they ever switch club. Since it’s highly rare for them to play football in a different country, the amount required to buy an English footballer is way beyond their actual value. As a result of the high fee paid, the media then make the decision to apply extra pressure and criticise the player if they do not perform to the standards set by the fee. Raheem Sterling is the perfect example for this who struggled during his first year at Manchester City. As a result of his poor performances, the media and certain fans began to slate him after every game he played which had an effect on how poor he sometimes played.
Whilst Raheem Sterling has significantly improved under his new manager in Pep Guardiola, it’s hard to argue whether he would cost so much if he was not English. Manchester City broke the bank once again earlier in the summer to sign another English prospect in John Stones for £47.5 million. This signing perfectly resembles the transfer of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool, would John Stones have cost so much if he was not English? Even though both of these players are talented and have a great amount of potential, it is this stimulus of overpaying for English talent which also has negative repercussions on the national team. It’s hard for English players to properly flourish since their ridiculous asking price force Premier League clubs to look outside of the country to sign a new player, and in return spend less money on a better player.
The Premier League has increased in support for a variety of reasons: the ridiculous transfer fees, the small clubs competing with the big clubs and also some of the best players in the world playing in the league. Nonetheless, with more money being poured into the “biggest league in the world” it’s hard to imagine a positive future for the national team of the country. Unless changes to some of the issues listed above are improved upon, those who follow the national team should not look for any international success in tournaments to come.