If there is one thing that frustrates me about English football it is the massive price tags put on young English players. The news that Manchester City agreed a deal with Liverpool for Raheem Sterling for a whooping £49million again shows that English talent is overpriced. There is no doubt that Sterling is a quality player but how can he be worth more than the likes of Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard who both signed for their respective clubs for in the region of £35million. Sterling is 20years old and hasn’t yet played 100 Premier League games leading many people to criticise the money involved in his transfer fee. In recent history clubs have made a habit of paying big for up and coming English players including Andy Carroll, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw. If we look at some of the transfer fees involving English players in the past fifteen years we can see that often the money paid is unreasonable-
Rio Ferdinand, £29million, Leeds to Manchester United, 2002
Wayne Rooney, £27million, Everton to Manchester United, 2004
Shaun Wright-Phillips, £21million, Manchester City to Chelsea, 2005
James Milner, £26million, Aston Villa to Manchester City, 2010
Darren Bent, £24million, Sunderland to Aston Villa, 2011
Andy Carroll, £35million, Newcastle to Liverpool, 2011
Jordan Henderson, £20million
Adam Lallana, £25million, Southampton to Liverpool, 2014
Luke Shaw, £30million, Southampton to Manchester United, 2014
Calum Chambers, £16million, Southampton to Arsenal, 2014
Raheem Sterling, £49million, Liverpool to Manchester City, 2015
I am not saying that all these players have been overpriced, of course. The likes of Rooney, Ferdinand, and Milner have contributed to winning Premier League and Champions League trophies. I’m sure if I was to ask any supporter of Manchester City and Manchester United they would say that those players where absolutely worth it. Jordan Henderson has also impressed many and looks likely to be the man who Liverpool aim to build their squad around for many years to come. However, the other fees paid have been far less successful. Andy Carroll had a terrible time at Liverpool and was sent out to West Ham not long after his big money move. Darren Bent never really hit the heights that Aston Villa would have hoped for and Luke Shaw spent most of last season either injured or on the bench. I believe that one reason for players being unable to make an impact after big moves is because of the pressure that comes with a multi-million pound price tag. If a club is going to sign a player for £25million+ then the fans will be expecting big, and often unrealistic, things.
The statistics show that in the English Premier League in 2014 only 36.08% players where from England, 4.87% from Scotland, 2.45% from Wales and 1.53% from Northern Ireland (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30122051). One reason for this can be contributed to the fact that if clubs are expected to pay an extortionate amount of money for an English player then of course they are going to look overseas for the bulk of their squad. Fans of the English Premier League have been honoured by getting to watch some of the best players in the world play in England including Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard but it is important that clubs ensure that British players get the chance to play as well. If the trend of paying massive amounts for English players doesn’t stop then I believe that many English players are going to have their opportunities increasingly limited which is going to continue to have a detrimental effect on the quality of the England squad. An overpriced and overrated squad will not get anywhere near the heights that is expected of them.