Soccer Magazine

Why English Players Are "overvalued" in the Premier League Transfer Market

By Thetoaststaff
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While English players aren't typically breaking transfer fee records every year, we all notice English players in the Premier League tend to go for a wee bit extra than internationals of equal caliber. I'm not saying this is inherently true, but it's a noticeable trend that gets thrown around the water cooler more than once per transfer window. My theory? Money.
In a league based almost exclusively in England (not forgetting our newly promoted Welsh friend, Swansea), less than half of the league's player composition is from England, 40.9% to be exact. I've created a table to illustrate the breakdown by club:

Club English* Non-English % English (approx)

Arsenal 5 26 16.1%

Aston Villa 14 16 46.7

Blackburn Rovers 8 21 27.6

Bolton Wanderers 17 11 60.7

Chelsea 7 20 25.9

Everton 12 19 38.7

Fulham 5 18 21.7

Liverpool 11 22 33.3

Manchester City 11 21 34.4

Manchester United 12 23 34.3

Newcastle United 16 19 45.7

Norwich City 21 13 61.8

Queens Park Rangers 18 19 48.6

Stoke City 14 14 50

Sunderland 16 14 53.3

Swansea City 12 23 34.3

Tottenham Hotspur 12 19 38.7

West Bromwich Albion 19 20 48.7

Wigan Athletic 11 18 37.9

Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 21 48.8

Total 261 377 40.9 %

*The English players column includes strictly those from England. It does not include players from Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales. **Numbers based on current, first-teamsquad list as of August 4, 2011.It's pertinent to point out, first, that we're in the middle of the summer transfer window and these numbers are likely to change.
Assuming England has any sort of national pride, they want to see their own countrymen succeed in their own professional football league, a league whose top talent is increasingly being imported from abroad. Top English players on top EPL teams are a rarity. Look at the traditional Big 4, for example: Arsenal (16.1%), Chelsea (25.9%), Liverpool (33.3%), and Manchester United (34.4%).  It's a combination of factors - not the least of which the EPL being the best domestic club league in the world - that attracts the world's best players.  
Diversity is a good thing.  Having the world's top talent in the same professional league is a good thing.  But when that league is based in England, fans are typically going to be drawn to players they can identify with.  It's the same thing for me.  I'm from Atlanta, Georgia, and I graduated from the University of Georgia (UGA).  I feel a slight sense of kinship with any professional athlete from UGA or the city of Atlanta, whether I personally know them or not.  It's not that I dislike anyone from outside of the state, it just explains why I pull for UGA Alums John Isner and Bubba Watson in tennis and golf, respectively.  It's just a trait I identify with.  Same thing with American internationals in soccer.  Outside of Manchester United, I root for any team with an American who sees regular playing time (i.e. Clint Dempsey with Fulham, Tim Howard with Everton, and Stuart Holden with Bolton).  I purchase these clubs' shirts with these Americans' names on the back, I seek these teams out on TV, and I'm more apt to pay to see these clubs if they're ever performing exhibitions here in the States.
I have to assume the English feel some sort of similar civic camaraderie.  In a league whose domestic audience is 82.8% British (according to 2009 census estimates), these English players are more than just on-field talent.  They're local heroes, they're brand ambassadors, and most importantly, they're revenue drivers.   

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