After Euro 2012 provided the biennial education that English football tends to receive off the back of any major international tournament, it's plain to see in the build-up to the 2012-13 domestic campaign, that the Premier League is in decline.
Increasingly insular in its thinking, the stance that our country's top-flight has cause to claim superiority over all of its rivals must surely be starting to change, if only for the fact that the majority of the world's greatest stars that lit up this summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine, now ply their trade in either La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga.
Today, there are simply not enough top-class foreigners playing on these shores. The Premier League may have been enhanced by some of the most exciting talents from around the world in recent years, but that landscape is starting to change, with Spain, Italy and Germany now leading the way.
The likes of Eric Cantona, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Gianfranco Zola, Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas, have all left their own mark on a lasting legacy of exquisite imports, making English football what it is today.
Sadly, though, many of these players have left this country in the past few years. Some in the latter stages of their careers, when their best days were far behind them. Meanwhile, the departure of players like Ronaldo and Fabregas proves there's a new trend emerging, as leading foreign stars look to move away just as they are entering their prime. The Premier League is weaker as a result.
When players of that calibre were still playing in England, we could justly claim to having the best league in the world. However, that boast no longer carries the same weight.
Ashley Cole is a prime example of the parochial perspective of where the Premier League currently ranks amongst its competitors. The Chelsea and England defender is still widely regarded in this country as the best left-back in the world. His impressive performances in the Champions League this season only enhanced his reputation in the eyes of the narrow-minded football fan.
But, the eye-catching displays of Spain's marauding maestro Jordi Alba, who has just been snapped up by Barcelona for a paltry sum of €14million given the quality of his performances in Vicente del Bosque's all-conquering side, proves there is better, younger players out there, capable of taking the Premier League to the next level. The title of world's greatest left-back now, surely, lies with him.
The only way to redress the balance is for Premier League clubs to step up their bids to sign the brightest up and coming continental talent, and ignore accusations that the arrival of world-class foreign stars is having a detrimental impact on England's national team, the suggestion being that young players starting out in the game are being given less opportunity.
The truth is, playing alongside or against the best can only push you on and make you better. The more imports English football can attract, the more our young players will learn.
For all the spirit and determination that Roy Hodgson's Three Lions side showed at the European Championships last month, what was most abundantly clear, is the fact that in terms of technical ability, England are light-years behind.
But, rather than continuing to watch, and admire from afar, we must encourage and embrace a renewed influx of exciting foreign talent, and let those players lead the way in re-establishing the Premier League as a domestic heavyweight, in a class of its own.
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