Is the Premier League losing it's allure?
As Saturday the 17th of August, draws nearer Premier League fans are tending towards their yearly peak of anticipation and excitement before the start of the season.
Having been one of the most exciting leagues, and richest - the Premier League has always attracted the biggest names in football from all over the world.
The allure of the playing in front of such large crowds, with passions running wild and the sheer level of competitive edge that the League offered to every player made it one of the “dream” destinations of footballers as well as managers.
So what went wrong this year?
Thiago Alcântara, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Edinson Cavani, Lucas Digne, Radamel Falcao, Mario Gómez, Mario Götze, Asier Illarramendi, Isco, Fernando Llorente, Marquinhos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, João Moutinho, Neymar, Dimitri Payet, James Rodríguez, Heung-Min Son, Kevin Strootman, Jérémy Toulalan and David Villa.
That's a list of top 20 players, who at some point or another were linked to an English club chose to snub these offers in favor of the La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie-A, or the rapidly rising French Ligue 1.
While one can argue that the main factor in some of these deals was plain financial greed. The fact remains that it was a factor in only some.
The most worrying factor for a Premier League fan is perhaps that simply - other clubs and leagues are now considered better.
The La Liga, probably the closest in competition with the Premier League over the past decade, with the two best players in the world - Messi and Ronaldo, has now seen them seemingly edge ahead.
Termed as a two-horse race till a few years ago, the case is not so anymore.
Malaga saw a Champions League semi final slip through their hands in the final minutes last season,
Valencia have been regulars in the Champions League. Atlético Madrid has both won the Europa League as well as the UEFA Super Cup multiple times in the last decade. With Sevilla matching Atlético with a couple of Europa Leagues and a Super Cup and Bilbao and Espanyol both having been beaten finalists, Spanish teams are no longer only represented by Barcelona and Real Madrid in Europe.
The German Bundesliga has grown from strength to strength. The emergence of Borussia Dortmund, with Jurgen Klopp as one of the best groomers of young talent has seen the likes of exciting players like Henrik Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turn down advances from the Premier League. Bayern Munich, is the best team in the world at the moment, and with Pep Gaurdiola having rejected offers from England, Thiago having snubbed Manchester United, the Bundesliga is ready to take on the Premier League.
The top three clubs in the Premier League having had an overhaul in management could also be a factor. With the exception of Mourinho, the other two are relatively inexperienced in managing at the top level. Moyes has been unable to make any note-worthy additions to the squad, while City have had to sign their second choice targets instead of Isco and Cavani.
Add to this the spending power of clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, and one can wonder if there is still hope for the Premier League? Can the Premier League teams still measure up against the European elite?
While there is no imminent threat or crisis, far from it, the loss of quality players to rival leagues has definitely blemished its sheen.
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