The influx of foreign players in the Premier League has dramatically increased. A report by the BBC showed that at the beginning of the 1992 Premier League season, 76% of players in the starting eleven were English; at the start of the 2007 season the figure had dropped to 37%.
In comparison only a few English players have chosen to move abroad. The English Premier league generates the most money through sponsorship and TV revenues compared to other countries. Players also get higher wages in England, a large bracket of top players earn over £100,000 a week.
Some players do decide that playing football in Spain or Italy is very appealing and make the move abroad. Gary Lineker signed for Barcelona in 1986 after an impressive performance at 1986 World Cup. The Barcelona manager at the time was fellow Englishman Terry Venables.
Lineker started his time at the Nou Camp well, scoring 21 goals in 41 games but when the manager changed in 1988 so did Lineker’s performance. He was moved out of position and soon started being left out of the starting line up, he decided to move back to England.
David Platt was another player that made the move abroad. He spent four years playing in Italy, for Bari, Sampdoria and Juventus. Platt’s moves between the Italian sides demanded high transfer fees and he was one of the only players to have success in Italy. Platt said he enjoyed “the lifestyle as well as the football.”
In more recent times English players have struggled to make it big abroad. In August 2004 Real Madrid signed both Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Owen. Woodgate’s move was a surprise; he had been plagued with injuries and was in fact injured at the time of the transfer.
Woodgate made no appearances in his first season but when he started to play he was praised by the fans. This soon fizzled out when he picked up more injuries and he moved back to England in 2006.
In comparison Owen was fit when he joined the Spanish side but found himself often watching from the bench and was criticised by the fans. In the summer of 2005 Madrid signed the two Brazilian strikers Julio Baptista and Robinho and it was inevitable that Owen would return to the Premier League.
David Beckham is one of the few players still playing today who has staked his claim abroad. His £25m move to Real Madrid from Manchester Utd concluded weeks of speculation back in 2003. His career had its moments but never really made the impact he had wished for.
In 2007, Beckham moved to the Major League Soccer Club LA Galaxy. Beckham’s deal was worth a reported £128 million pounds. His case is rare, Beckham is not just a footballer he’s a global brand and an icon which is why he earns so much.
In 2010, I believe the decision is simple for a top-flight English footballer. Staying at home offers the best lifestyle, with more money and the chance to play in the best league in the world.