With the capture of Raheem Sterling by Manchester City for £49 million, the never ending debate over the hefty price tag of the English players resurfaces.
There has been no doubt regarding Sterling's potential, but £49 million?
Even Alexis Sanchez, the engine behind Arsenal's third place finish last season was brought for around £35 million. Chelsea's assist king Cesc Fabregas was also shipped for a sum close to £28 million.
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Sterling was nowhere close to the level of performance of either Sanchez or Fabregas. The beginning of the 2014-15 season also saw a strange incident when Adam Lallana was bought for a higher price than the classy midfielder Toni Kroos who won the World Cup with Germany. All these incidents lead us to one question: Why?
Some credit for inflating the price tag must go the media. Their adulation for the youngster knows no limit and start labeling them as the next BIG THING in English football. With media attention comes enormous hype and fame which may prove to be a recipe of disaster.
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However, the media is not entirely at fault. The prospect of a second World Cup has led the media in search of players capable of establishing England as a powerhouse of football.
The next reason may be attributed to the fact that most of the English players prefer staying in England. So, transfer is mostly done between rivals competing for the Premier League title. The situation gets complicated when multiple clubs pursue the same player. As a consequence, the price tag increases astronomically.
Home Grown Quota
The introduction of home-grown player quota by the FA has further complicated the issue. The rule sky rocketed the price of English players particularly. The affluent owners of the Premier League clubs and their ludicrous spending ability have not helped in this regard.
Let us take the case of Cesc Fabregas and Andy Carroll. The former was a proven talent who enjoyed success wherever he went- Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea and also the Spain National team. Meanwhile, Carroll never quite lived up to his billing and was later offloaded to West Ham after Liverpool had initially bought him for a staggering £35 million.
The Premier League is without doubt the most entertaining league in Europe boasting of five to six teams that compete for the title every season. Still, it falls way behind the pecking order as compared with the Spanish and German leagues.
The emergence of the Italian and French league clubs has also been noteworthy. Chelsea was the last English club to win the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy in 2012 though they didn’t quite convince everyone with their style of play. From then on it has been a downhill slope for English clubs.
The national team once again failed miserably in the World Cup bowing out of the group stage collecting a single point in the entire tournament. Only club football growth can bring about a change in the national scenario in England. But it is not done by raising their price tag.
Rather, the focus should be on grass-root development of the players which they seem less bothered about. Its high time English clubs re-evaluate their transfer strategies and act smartly in the market.
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