The unyielding growth of foreign stars that have worked their way in to the Premier League since its conception will undoubtedly be skyrocketing for many years to come. The increase in popularity of the competition across the world has seen an influx of foreigner rain down on England, much the same way as the current weather conditions across the nation. The unfortunate Englishmen of the domestic league are without an umbrella; being drenched and hung out to dry by their colleagues from every continent. With only a handful of home-grown players considered to be in the elite group of talent that the league has to offer, rumours are flying around the media of an exodus of English players, willing to find employment abroad. Despite many of the rumours being quashed by players or their agents, questions still have to be answered as to why, at the peak of the Premier League’s popularity, are English players being tempted by clubs on the continent and farther?
Figures from the first week of the last Premier League season indicated that just over 38% of the players who appeared for their clubs were English. Discount the teams outside the top 6 and the percentage would significantly decrease. The downfall of the England national team in terms of ability have stifled the home-grown players reputation, whilst an increase in the dominance of national teams around Europe have in turn put foreign players in the spotlight. The fact that many teams are now captained by foreigners breaks an unintended tradition of home-grown players leading their teams. Vincent Kompany, Fabricio Coloccini and Robin Van Persie are examples of players who have impressed enough to lead Englishmen in their own league, something you rarely see on the continent.
After an indifferent performance from the national team at the European Championships, the England team has gained a reputation that doesn’t fit with the all action philosophy of the Premier League. A case could be made that teams would much rather adopt players from countries such as Spain and Germany, whose national footballing prowess makes them a perfect fit for the English game.
So, whilst the influx of foreigners to our shores clearly has definitive reasons, a case has to be put forward as to why English players are now gaining an increased desire abroad. Thanks to the media that almost defines this countries footballing ideas, English players are a commercial commodity in the strictest sense of the phrase. Rumours of Frank Lampard interesting teams such as LA Galaxy and Beijing Guoan indicate the importance of a Premier League veteran as an international household name and the commercial value it brings. Well known names such as Lampard’s former club mates Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka have already made the move to uncharted football territory, being paid unrivalled amounts by a Chinese team due to their commercial prominence. An English player would demand comparable wages and would generate even more interest than other nations players thanks to the media coverage that this nations footballers receive.
The financial rewards that come from playing abroad are undoubtedly tempting, something that even the most revered English player, David Beckham, couldn’t resist when switching from Real Madrid to Los Angeles. It would come as no surprise if the older English contingent of the Premier League choose to play out their twilight years in the financially rewarding sunshine. With rumours also surfacing that younger English players who have received a slating by the unforgiving tabloids in this country could head abroad, again tell of the uneasy ride that many home grown stars have to take in order to reclaim their careers and reap financial gain in the process.
There is no question that global growth of the Premier League has it’s rewards; some of the world’s best players already do or wish to ply their trade on our shores. However, the sudden rumours that suggest English players are interesting teams abroad could decrease the already meagre percentage of home grown talent playing in the best domestic league in the world.