A growing trend amongst Premier League teams is to buy young players from continental Europe at basement prices and filling their squads with a high quantity of these bulk bought Dutch and French players.
These players come at much lower prices than their British and Premier League counterparts but there is one fundamental flaw that has been unveiled with this method of acquisition. This transfer policy is failing. It doesn’t work and is proven to be poor.
Both Newcastle United and Aston Villa have spent the past few seasons purchasing wave-upon-wave of Ligue 1 and Eredivisie players aged 21 to 25 who have no Premier League experience, and have been bought based on the prices they can eventually be sold for.
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Cabella, Thauvin, the De Jong brothers, Anita and Gouffran are just a few of these players that Newcastle have brought in under both McClaren and Pardew. Rather than blaming the players themselves, or even the management, we have to look closer at the general transfer policy of the club.
One common problem amongst teams with this transfer policy is getting the players to fight for the team, the fans and for the passion of playing in English football. Obviously there are cases where English players have looked indifferent and foreign players have fought with extreme passion, but sometimes you need a player that understands English football and how big a club like Newcastle United really is.
Aston Villa bought almost an entire new starting XI, including English players, but too many of these players lacked the experience and the know-how to win games in the world’s toughest league. They look like they will be relegated and to avoid a similar fate this January is crucial to Newcastle.
Newcastle have shown an attempt to switch to a new transfer policy that incorporates more British players, that is clear, with the recent signing of £12million on Jonjo Shelvey and the reportedly interest for Tottenham’s Andros Townsend.
These are two deals in the right direction; players with bags of Premier League experience. However, more significant investment is required for this team to be put back on track. They need an out and out proven Premier League goal-scorer and a central defensive leader to organise their shambolic defence. If they have the capital, which we all know Mike Ashley does, the likes of Saido Berahino and Phil Jagielka should be top of their shopping list.
Now I don’t suggest buying English players just for the sake of having English players – the last thing anyone wants is for Newcastle United to go back to buying Michael Owens and Alan Smiths – but there is a need to inject some passion into this side.
They need some fire to lift them out of the relegation dog fight they could become trapped in. These changes can’t just be for this January but changes to higher up positions, like Graham Carr, and a long term plan to purchase these English players and better integrate those purchased from foreign leagues.
The reason I’ve chosen Newcastle and Aston Villa as examples, when this is systemic problem with numerous Premier League and former Premier League teams, is because they are so invested in this policy that their teams are filled with ‘flops’ and now both clubs face the very real possibility of relegation.
Also, to clarify, this is not to say signing players from these leagues doesn’t work full stop, or that buying English is necessarily best, but these teams need Premier League experience and they need some of the passion that only players playing in their home country can bring.