The Premier League is renowned for its fast and physical nature and therefore one could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps Premier League clubs should look to buy players who ply their trade in the league. These players would already be conditioned to the hustle and bustle style of play and would be settled in England – seemingly content with the weather and all other possible obstacles, whereas foreign players would need time to settle in and acclimatize to the intensity of the league. Targeting local players minimizes risk for the buying club but comes at a higher cost (often referred to as the ‘English Premium’).
Toni Kroos has completed a move to Real Madrid for approximately £23m. Although he only had a year left on his contract, he has significant pedigree having won 3 Bundesliga titles, 1 Champions League, a Club World Cup & several individual awards – he is only 24 years old.
Adam Lallana transferred to Liverpool for a fee believed to be in the region of £25m. Lallana worked his way up the English pyramid having won back-to-back promotions with Southampton. He has played in the Premier League for 2 seasons in total, finishing mid-table on both occasions. He has performed admirably for a player who, quite literally, started from the bottom – but is he really worth that fee? It is unlikely.
So why did Lallana end up costing £2m more than Kroos? He is not even close to being on the same level – both in terms of pedigree or talent. The answer is simply because he is English or because he has played in the English league. This is why most clubs tend to look to foreign talent in search of players.
We’ve discovered that there is a definite price disadvantage when buying English players (or any player from an English club) although perhaps there is still value to be found. My question is, which 3 players should Arsenal target from within the league?
1. John Stones
John Stones is probably the most promising central defender in the league at the moment. Everton paid Barnsley £3m for his services in 2013 and the 20 year old is looking like excellent value for money. Assured on the ball, positionally sound (quite rare for one so young) and strong in the tackle; Stones could be the ideal 3rd if Vermaelan leaves or a long-term Mertesacker replacement if not.
Transfermarkt.com have his transfer value at £3.5m but there no chance Everton would accept that given the length of his contract and strength of his performances. I would imagine an offer of less than £12m would be swiftly rejected. Arsenal have a net spend so far this summer of about £14m – a fraction of the reported £80m budget and £12m for Stones would be a shrewd long term investment. Use the page numbers below to navigate through the rest of the article.