England second on foreigners list

21 January 2014 08:43

The Barclays Premier League has the second highest number of foreign footballers in all of Europe's 31 top divisions, according to a new report.

There have been suggestions the Premier League should adopt a cap on foreign players each team can have in their 25-man squad in an attempt to help develop young English talent, which have been championed by new Football Association chairman Greg Dyke.

The report from the International Centre for Sports Studies, an independent research centre based in Switzerland, shows the English top flight has the second highest proportion of foreign footballers at 60.4 per cent - just behind Cyprus.

Squads in Italy, Turkey, Portugal and Belgium also hold a majority of expatriate players, with the greatest proportion measured at Inter Milan of some 89 per cent.

Only Italy, Turkey, Russia, Portugal and Romania have fewer club-trained players than in England.

The general percentage of non-domestic footballers across all top-flight European clubs has now reached a peak of 36.8 per cent, while the number of academy-trained players has reached a new low of 21.2 per cent from the figures taken on October 1, 2013.

It is also stated England and Italy have the largest squads on average in Europe with player movement in general reaching a new high with new signings in 2013 making up for 41.3 per cent of squads and the average stay at a new low of 2.34 years.

Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace brought together the largest squad in all of Europe's 31 top divisions, with some 34 players representing the Eagles over the past three seasons, during which they won promotion to the Premier League after winning the Championship play-off final at Wembley - which is more than top-flight leaders Arsenal.

The Premier League leaders have the highest percentage of academy-trained players in the English top flight at 32.3 per cent, with the likes of current England internationals Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs both having come through the Gunners' youth system.

Barcelona, though, remain the leaders in home-grown talent with some 64 per cent for bringing through youngsters such as Lionel Messi and Xavi.

In Scotland, there was a decrease in active international players to 8.2 per cent, but also the second biggest climb in club-trained players, with the Scottish Premiership ranked seventh overall.

Head of CIES Football Observatory Raffaele Poli said: "The study shows that professional European football is still confronted with processes that do not necessarily augur well for its future.

"The cloud of economic uncertainty that hangs over sporting logics is flagrant in many clubs and countries.

"In general, the number of transfers carried out by teams during the current season is at an all-time high. A trend that is difficult to understand given the actual climate with its numerous financial difficulties."

Poli added: "Our study shows that a thorough rethink is necessary to introduce adequate regulatory mechanisms to protect players in particular, and football more generally, against the increasingly speculative nature of the transfer market."

Source: PA