Expensive price for home grown talent

by Michael Healey

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

There has been a recent large outlay of money for home grown players between English Clubs. In many peoples view the money exchanged for certain players has been described as ‘excessive’. Names including James Milner, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have all crossed the £20 million plus threshold. The reason for the recent heavy influx of cash being swapped between clubs is simply because of FIFAs 6+5 rule.

What is the FIFA 6+5 rule?

This ruling is pretty straight forward. A club must field at least 6 home grown players in the match day squad limiting the amount of foreign players blocking the entry of the said nations youth or fringe players.

So why is this rule come into effect?

This is an effort to help bring academy players through the clubs systems instead of relying almost extensively on foreign players at low prices, hence the reason certain clubs are now beginning to splash the cash on home grown players.

Teams in the past, namely Arsenal, have produced teams with no English players in the team which has infuriated many supporters who believe each club should be represented by members of their own country, in this case English players. Arsene Wenger, Arsenals successful French manager, believed he was picking the best team available for his club by playing all foreign players.

This can pose another question that needs answering.

Are the powers that be only interested in improving National Teams?

Many of the English Premier League sides have often gone for the cheaper, foreign option in signing a player rather than signing an English player. This is due to the fact that prices are inflated to unrealistic prices and do not represent value for money. An example in this case can be seen with the transfer of Andy Carroll from his hometown club Newcastle United to Liverpool on the last January transfer day. The fee was an extravagant £35 million. This transfer fee placed Carroll 8th on the all time highest transfers in history. This was above renowned players such as Hernan Crespo, Christian Vieri, Andriy Shevchenko and Gianluigi Buffon.

The Carroll transfer was Liverpool’s biggest outlay on one single player in their illustrious history. True, the sale of Fernando Torres for £50 million made the sale virtually a non-entity in many people’s eyes, but is it becoming a worrying trend? Have clubs neglected their academies for too long that hefty transfer fees are becoming necessary? It is possible. There is also the opinion that the arrival of such quality foreign players has finally increased the level of English players.

Although boasting an innate, god given talent Wayne Rooney has blossomed into one of the worlds top modern players by playing with talents such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Carlos Tevez and Paul Scholes. The mixture of British and foreign talent will have played a massive part of Rooney’s rise to superstardom. The likes of Arsenals Jack Wilshere will have benefited enormously whilst playing with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri whilst Jordan Henderson, who recently signed for Liverpool from Sunderland, will benefit massively from playing with players such as Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are two young Manchester United defenders who will learn their trade off two of the finest defenders of a generation in Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

The argument will rumble on and rumble on with regards to home grown players commanding bigger and bigger fees and whether they are worth it, the question has to be asked: Has FIFAs 6+5 rule produced a nightmare for English clubs?

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