Premier League clubs must cast their transfer nets further afield
Greater value can be found in the foreign transfer market
In an ideal world, the English Premier League would have as many English players coming through as possible.
This would, in turn, help increase the quality of the international team, whilst emulating the German and Spanish divisions philosophy of placing a greater emphasis on producing homegrown talent.
However, the reality is that the price tag for this talent is so high that the only option for many clubs is to cast their transfer nets further afield. Not only can clubs save money from looking abroad, but the quality of foreign stars is seemingly better than those produced on English shores.
One doesn't have to look too far to see how many Premier league sides have paid over the odds for English players. Liverpool's acquisition of Andy Carroll from Newcastle for £35m in 2011 made him the most expensive British player of all time.
After a mere 11 goals, and some quite abject performances, Carroll was loaned out to West Ham, and will unfortunately go down as one of the biggest British transfer flops of recent years, perhaps ever.
Add Jordan Henderson, Joleon Lescott and Ashley Young to this overpriced transfer list having all cost over £15m, and we can see a worrying pattern emerging. English players are failing to deliver performances that match their over-inflated price tag. That's not to say that these players do not possess any quality at all, but not relative to their price tag.
Cheaper alternatives can be found abroad. Think Yohan Cabaye to Newcastle United for £4.3m, Demba Ba's move to West Ham for an initial loan fee of 500K, and the arrival of free-scoring Michu to Swansea for as little as £2m. These are just a small handful of notable examples, the list of successful and significantly cheaper imports is an extensive one.
Additionally, the financial difficulties of foreign clubs, especially in Spain, is enabling Premier League clubs to take full advantage of their European counterparts monetary woes.
Michu is an important example when highlighting the common sense approach behind these transfer decisions. Often, the foreign imports are proven quality. Michu was not a gamble, although many view foreign buys as such, but the reality is that he was the top scoring midfielder in Spain with Rayo Vallecano last year, with 17 goals in all competitions.
One must wonder where the inflated price tags come from? Obviously Premier League sides will not want to sell to rivals on the cheap, but the greatest problem derives from media hype shown towards English players. We are often ignorant to the host of talent overseas, as we are blinded by the bias towards our own and the desire to replicate the likes of Spain and Germany by producing world class players consistently.
Clubs like Newcastle and Swansea have been successful in looking further afield, and remain focused on the task of signing talent, not just an English name with a big reputation and the price tag to match.
The price tag alone is not an indicator of talent. Many English clubs have fallen foul of this trap - in giving in to the perceived hype, by forcing the deal through with an exorbitant fee.
Just because a player is English, it does not mean they are any better than a cheaper foreign alternative.
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