Newcastle United claim their recent penchant for French stars is down to British players being overpriced.
Alan Pardew saw his team exceed all expectations last season and much of it was down to the number of players they acquired from Ligue 1 – i.e. Yohan Cabaye and Hatem ben Arfa.
In fact, Toon managing director, Derek Llambias, says they will continue to look abroad because the market for British talent is almost always too expensive.
This comment prompted the rusty cogs in GMF’s collective brain to creak into action and we set about deciding which British players would be considered overpriced.
A logical progression of this deliberation is to then compile the five most overpriced stars from these shores – these things always come in fives.
There are a variety of reasons behind each choice and GMF will do it’s best to explain them, but this is all about debate and we want our discerning readers to drive it.
Before then, here are our picks:
Andy Carroll - £35million
Newcastle United are not only shrewd in the buying market, they showed some real nous in the selling market over Carroll – they saw Liverpool coming in a big way. Reds fans will argue the money they got for Fernando Torres offset the purchase of the big Geordie but that doesn’t cut.
£35million is far too much for a big man who has jangled manfully up front but just hasn’t been able to direct more of his flailing attempts past the opposing goalkeeper. Although there is something very endearing about Carroll and GMF really wants him to prove he is worth the money, however unlikely that may be.
David Bentley - £17million
David Bentley was predicted for big things but the premium on young British stars was still in evidence for his move from Blackburn Rovers to Spurs. Arsenal had deemed Bentley not worth the bother his attitude brought, though they never doubted he had talent.
However, his talent was certainly not worth the money the White Hart Lane club shelled out for him after a good season and a half under Mark Hughes. Injuries weren’t terribly good to him but he fell down the pecking order fast at Tottenham and has been sent out on a series of loan deal without great success.
He is now struggling to stay fit and doesn’t even make the bench at White Hart Lane – a far cry from the days when he was hailed as the next David Beckham.
Stewart Downing - £20million
It would be cruel to pick entirely on Liverpool but the period of transfer madness that saw them pay such a fee for Downing was quite rare. Paying for something as intangible as potential is understandable, but Downing was an established that had shown he was useful but nothing outstanding.
Another reason why Liverpool paid over the odds was because he turned 27 a short time after completing the move, so they were signing a player that was unlikely to have any sell-on value should he see out a significant portion of his contract.
There was much trepidation when the transfer was announced and this was justified to some degree by him finishing his first season at Liverpool without a Premier League goal or assist to his name.
Shaun Wright-Phillips - £21million
Jose Mourinho’s team selection did not exactly help the son of Arsenal legend Ian Wright, but there was always a doubt over whether he could perform consistently at the highest level.
At Manchester City Wright-Phillips was the stand out player in a better than average team, though was prone to go missing even then. After three years of mostly coming off the bench Wright-Phillips returned to Manchester City but could not recreate his best form.
Another young British player that showed promise, attracted a big money move and failed to live up to his billing fully. He is now at Queens Park Rangers and looks likely to be relegated.
Francis Jeffers - £10million
Described as a much-needed “fox in the box” for the Gunners, Arsene Wenger paid a then unusually large amount of money for the then 20-year-old that was tipped to be the answer to the Gunners problem of not finishing off chances.
Again, injuries didn’t help but there wasn’t one point where Jeffers looked like he might make the grade at Arsenal and only four goals in 22 league appearances proved it was a misjudgment from Wenger.
Now 32 years old, Jeffers is a free agent after playing for eight different club in the nine years since he left the Gunners.
Now, GMF knows big transfer fees aren’t the fault of the player but that doesn’t stop them being too much. We want you to tell us if you think we are wrong and which British players you think were overpriced.
Join the debate and leave a comment below…