This was the question I was asking myself the other day.The biggest transfers in the English transfer window so far have been that between Premier League clubs. Liverpool, Manchester United and Sunderland have all spent big so far – totalling close to £100m. It’s the manner of the signings, though, that concerns me - and the sums of money they have had to shell out to purchase these players. Some still unproven yet valued at around £20million.
Is the tide finally changing in the Premier League? Where managers believe British based players may be the key to possible success. The problem with this approach, though, is the huge price tags on these players, which has already been mentioned. So are these players worthy of the price tags on their heads?
The perfect person to ask this question is Arsene Wenger. Not a fan of spending regardless of where the player is from or based, but has tended to look abroad for talent. In the past five years, Wenger has only signed one player who had previously been associated with an English based team. That was Theo Walcott. Just to reiterate my point, I am not arguing that teams are now signing British players, but players who have previously been attached to a Premier League club. Arsenal have not won a trophy for six-years with pundits and fans alike believing that Wenger’s transfer approach may be the cause of this. The club possess many gifted technical players, but some lack the drive and determination to succeed and win the big games. This has lead to Wenger to rethink his ideals and approach this summer. Fans want some steel added to the squad and want proven Premier League players to improve the squad. Wenger had been linked with Scott Parker and even Joey Barton earlier in the season, but to what extent this is true is still uncertain. Reports surfaced this week that Arsenal has made a bid of £17million for Everton defender Phil Jagielka, which was rejected.
And this is the problem I was discussing earlier. Managers in the Premier League demand extortionate amounts of money for their top players, which is why managers like Wenger look to Europe and other areas in discovering cheaper alternatives. This is why you find it hard to argue with Wenger, when you see other clubs in the league being forced to pay out inflated modern days transfer fees. Kenny Dalglish of Liverpool has spent at will since he returned to Anfield. He has spent close to £100m since January on mostly British based players. Andy Carroll (35m), Stewart Downing (20m) Jordan Henderson (18m), Charlie Adam (7m) – are the British players he believes can lead the club to glory. Even Sir Alex Ferguson has looked to what the division has to offer and has spent £40m to equip Ashley Young and Phil Jones. Jones the biggest shock - just 19 – unproven, and now one of the most expensive players in world football. So could it be seen as an investment? Looking back now at the signing of Wayne Rooney, also just 19, can now be regarded as a bargain at £25m and has gone on to score over 100 goals for the club.
Why are these players valued so highly though? People always say it’s because their British or they are on long-term contracts, which double’s the players valuation in some cases. Aston Villa are struggling to sign Charles N’Zogbia for £10m, who is in the last year of his contract but Wigan want £15m. I personally believe that managers and clubs are being ripped off. The times have changed in the modern game, which makes it perfectly normal to be paying £20m for a player who has done little to justify their valuation. With still over a month to go before the transfer window closes (thank god), don’t be surprised if your club signed an average Premier League player for £15m or so. We have this to look forward to again in January. Oh Great.
Follow Jamie on twitter @jamiejourno