The summer transfer window has illustrated the sheer insanity of the current transfer market, in particular the fact that English players seem to be costing far more than their European contemporaries.
The British media tend to have this habit of overhyping any young English player that makes it through to the first team of basically any Premier League club.
They are lauded as the next big superstar, or the next saviour of the England team.
I have got carried away by young players in the past, but my fervour towards the youngsters tends to be tinged with a note of realise that the young player only has potential.
I do not claim that they will be world beaters or world-class stars, because in truth very few do.
English players being hyped-up leads to them generally costing a king’s ransom in the transfer market. A good comparison to be made this summer is the transfers of Germany international Toni Kroos to Real Madrid and England midfielder Adam Lallana to Liverpool.
Real Madrid are reported to have paid £24million for Kroos, who to be fair has just won the World Cup and is looking like one of the best playmakers in the world game. The 24-year-old played a crucial part in Germany trouncing hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final.
Kroos only had a year left on his contract at former-club Bayern Munich, so that was likely to reduce the fee slightly, but when compared to the £25million Liverpool paid for Lallana it looks a bargain.
At 26 years of age Adam Lallana is a player entering his prime and his form for Southampton last season helped him gain a place in the England World Cup squad. The playmaker made two substitute appearances and one start in Brazil, as the Three Lions were tamed by Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Lallana is a talented enough player and has just come off the back of the best season of his career. However is he really worth more than World Cup winner Kroos?
My opinion is that he is not, but football is all about opinions. Maybe most Liverpool fans are happy with their club bringing in Lallana. Judging from a lot of message boards and fans forums Reds fans are happy he has joined, but are questioning his price tag, which really is fair enough at this stage.
Then there is Luke Shaw’s transfer to Manchester United for a fee in the region of £32million, compared to Chelsea’s capture of Brazilian left-back Felipe Luis for half the price.
Shaw is 19 years old and does look like a very good prospect for the future. However, his price tag just illustrates perfectly the nature of buying and selling English players. The youngster may go on to have a glittering career at Old Trafford, who knows maybe become a world-class star.
I am a big fan of Shaw and hope he develops into a top-class talent for the sake of the England national team. Is he worth twice as much as Luis who has just won the La Liga title with Atletico Madrid and got to the Champions League final?
The fact that people are questioning Luis’ talent because of the fact that he missed out on Brazil’s World Cup squad is just silly. Luis was part of the one of the best defences in the European game last season. That says it all about his ability.
The fact that English players are costing more than their European colleagues is leading to problems. One of those problems is big fees lead to big expectations and pressure. That can also lead to younger players losing their way in the game.
It hurts me to say this, but as the World Cup proved English players are just not as good as their world rivals. The fact that they cost more to buy is just adding to the problem.
Teams can be successful if they invest their money wisely in talented players, but at the moment there is just no value in signing English players. Do not get me wrong I like both Shaw and Lallana.
However I believe if the pair was from any other nation they would have cost much less than their summer transfer fees. There is a reason that most Premier League squads are full of foreign players.
Sad but true the reason is that English clubs can go abroad and sign players for a fraction of the cost of English players. That is unlikely to change in the near future and the English top-flight will continue to be full of foreign players, which unfortunately will likely reflect in the England national team’s performance at major tournaments.
Why are English players so overpriced?