A large amount of money has been paid for British players over the last few seasons, and most would agree that a sizeable chunk of such transfers have involved excessive fees.
This has led some to arguing that there is a premium on British players, and that they are extremely over-priced. There seems to be some evidence for this given the fees that Liverpool paid for north-east trio Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson.
Other examples include Martin O’Neill’s signings at Sunderland: namely £14m Scotland international Steven Fletcher and £10m Manchester City reject Adam Johnson.
However, the issue seems to extend even further. It seems that once a player plays relatively well for a Premier League club, his transfer fee sky-rockets. Swansea paid £2m for Michu, yet after half a good season in the Premier League his value would now be expected to be closer to £20m. Christian Benteke is a similar case at Aston Villa.
Although some may say that clubs should be rewarded for either nurturing young talent or spotting the opportunity of a bargain abroad, the ability of the player often does not match the value placed on him by the club.
Benteke is the prime example. He was already in the Belgian national squad prior to signing for Aston Villa for around £7m in the summer, yet after a season at Villa, The Telegraph report that he is rated at closer to £20m. Although he has impressed at times, he has not become nearly three times as good a player in the space of eight months.
The question may well be about value, and that ultimately value is something that is relative to each individual club. However the numerous examples of English clubs over-valuing their players, both British and foreign, could well have a detrimental effect on the players’ futures.
Young English players may get overlooked by managers who opt for foreign counterparts; Gus Poyet seems to think this way as he told the Daily Mail that "there are British players who have done nothing in football, yet they cost millions". Furthermore the massive prices that come attached to many English players also places an unfair weight of expectation on their shoulders, and can lead to them under-performing.
There has also been the well-reported example of Newcastle United, who have made little effort to hide the fact that they now look to France and Holland instead of England for future talent.
If this view has been taken up by managers based in England, then surely the same has been done abroad. This means that there is little chance of English players being able to ply their trade for European teams, and as a result may inhibit the development of the technical side of their game - something that many argue is lacking in the national side.
If inflated prices continue to infect the English game then the development of young players will continue to be inhibited, and the national side will continue to suffer.
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