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English Premier League

The Unconnected League



Onlookers from the continent would be first to spot this unfortunate English trait which is becoming stereotypical of our beloved Premier League along with the ‘tough and fast paced’ adjectives. A rigid, unconnected group of 20 ever changing teams follow the same trend year after year. The lack of player movement between clubs has become cultural, sadly.

Across in Germany, Johannes Geis, a highly rated homegrown German, moved from Mainz to Schalke with little fuss. Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski made the move from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich infamously. Yet the latter two moves have become accepted by Dortmund fans as the interchange between clubs from the same nation is a part of their culture, Dortmund fans would know all so well with star man Marco Reus coming from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Over in Italy, a Juventus monopoly reigns over the league as many of the talents, most recently Simone Zaza and Paulo Dybala, are snatched up by the Italian Champions. Again, these transfers are accepted by the smaller clubs board and fans. The men in power throughout the Italian league understand that the world will not end with the loss of a star. The trust in solid reinvestment and new emerging talents overrides the desire to keep a player that wants to leave.

So why in England, the nation with the world’s most followed football competition, are clubs so reluctant to deal with other members of the league?

Going right back to 1964 would present the last transfer between Liverpool and Manchester United. Phil Chisnall was the man to swap Anfield for Old Trafford and is only one of nine to ever make a move between the two clubs. Gabriel Heinze nearly became the tenth after stating his desire to move to Merseyside from the Red Devils but Sir Alex Ferguson blocked the move. Heinze went public with his desire to move, a sign of betrayal from United fans that once sang his name. The Argentinian was sent off to Madrid after destroying all relationship with United. The Heinze saga lives so strong in Sir Alex Ferguson’s mind that he recites it in his autobiography.

The feud between rivals may explain a little to why there is such a rigid national transfer system but in comparison to the Milano rivals, players appearing in both red and blue is a much more regular sight. Seedorf, Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo are all world class players that have betrayed one of the Milan clubs, yet the view of the fans takes into account what the player did for them, not what the ‘traitor’ did for their rivals.

The wariness of a scaring deal involving current champions Chelsea and Liverpool also may play part in the lack of transfers between two English clubs. The failure from a £50m transfer for Fernando Torres has left a cloud of negativity around the inter-league transfers. Will players be able to perform in another region of the country?

Yet this point should be pretty easy to answer. A simple ‘yes’ would fit perfectly. Players from around the continent come to England and perform so surely players that have experienced English football should be at an advantage.

Maybe the answer lies with the selling club. Fernando Torres was sold for an unbelievable amount of money to a team in the same league. The added pressure of the transfer value can cause a fall in confidence after a couple of bad performances but also the pressure from his previous success. The fans of Chelsea were well aware of how Torres stacked up in the Premier League and therefore were right to assume he would have the same amount of success at the Blues as he did back at Anfield.

The dual factors of money and poor form clearly did damage to a once unstoppable Fernando Torres. The English culture of restricting transfer movement around the country causes over pricing. The selling team being reluctant to part ways with their player adds intense pressure after the transfer, something that doesn’t happen as severely elsewhere.

More recently, Raheem Sterling managed to grind out a move from Liverpool to Manchester City for £49m. That’s right, £49m. A player who is yet to achieve anything major in professional football has been priced successfully at £49m by Liverpool. The problems this fee creates are excessive. For Sterling, he has to operate at a constantly world class level otherwise he will be criticised as ‘over-priced’. Currently, he isn’t at a standard to perform at the status week in week out due to his age. A 20-year-old winger still has at least 5 years until they are fully developed.

For Pellegrini, he is put under pressure to play the youngster as fans would question why they bought Sterling if he doesn’t play. This generates problems for the manager as he is unable to pick his preferred starting eleven. Instead he has to choose a side that removes fan pressure.

The FA also suffer from the pricing as yet another young English player moves for an extortionate price to enable clubs to fill out a home-grown quota. The negative image of highly priced young English players increases pressure at international level. ‘With such high values, England should win the u21 World Cup’ is an common phrase used in the build up to tournaments. The reality is that the few English talents that emerge from academy levels are made into a commodity. Teams must have them. This means that prices highly inflate as a selling team can charge whatever they like as the buyer has no other alternative. The FA then comes under scrutiny for causing the hyperinflation.

An increase in competitiveness may also show why such little transfer action happens between Premier League club. Teams are wary that a sale of a player could end up harming there league chances. A stand out example of this is Juan Mata. Chelsea sold the Spaniard to Manchester United in January 2014. Under Louis Van Gaal’s guidance, Juan Mata helped secure United a Champions League spot with his stellar form at the end of the season. The quality he showed led to questions as to why Mourinho let the play-maker go.

Chelsea also have a secure way of developing talent without involving anyone from the Premier League. Aitor Karanka, the Middlesborough manager, benefits from his friendship with Mourinho as he is given a handful of Chelsea’s youth players. Most notably Patrick Bamford. The youngster became a key player for Boro and fired them withing touching distance of the Premier League.

Vitesse Arnhem are another non Premier League team to benefit from Chelsea’s loan system. Numerous young talents have crossed over the Dutch border as part of their football education at Chelsea. These loans have come from the owners of each club having a close relationship.

The question is why?

Why would Chelsea prefer their players to play football in a less competitive league than to educate them in the very league that they will be playing in. That’s where the premier leagues clubs mentality can be questioned.

The culture of being a single club operating solely must come to an end. Extortionate prices, damaged mentality, uber intense rivalry and player vs club battles can’t surely be wanted features of England’s very own beautiful game.

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Journalism student at the University of Sheffield. Freelance for TheBootRoom.

English Premier League

Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week

The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.



Photo: Getty Images

With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.

Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.

In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.

Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.

The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.

Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.

This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.

If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.

Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.

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English Premier League

Despite improvement, Everton should not rekindle Thomas Vermaelen interest

The Belgian defender has been in better form for Barcelona this season.



Rumours have emerged today suggesting Everton could be back in for Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Catalan newspaper Sport has reported that the 32-year-old could be offered a new deal by Barcelona, with a team from the Premier League interested in signing him.

Sport Witness has openly hypothesised that Everton could be that team. Whilst there is no confirmation or substantiated report that is the case, the boot certainly fits.

Last summer Everton tried to sign Vermaelen.

As reported by the Liverpool Echo, at the time Barcelona vetoed a loan move to Everton as they felt the defender could be a useful asset.

The Belgian certainly has. After struggling with injuries and form throughout most of his Barcelona tenure the former Arsenal man has enjoyed a good season.

The 32-year-old has been a genuine asset to the Catalans, despite still being used sparingly, and such form has even seen him win back a place in Roberto Martinez’s national selection for Belgium.

If it is Everton interested in Vermaelen it is easy to see why. Centre-back has been a major problem for the club this season.

However, Vermaelen, or a player of his ilk, is not the answer to the Toffees’ woes.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The Belgian is obviously a talented player with plenty of experience, but Everton need to freshen up their back-line.

Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka’s age has shown in recent months.

The pair have been, at the best, inconsistent for the past 18 months and Everton need fresh young talent in the heart of defence if they are to succeed.

Vermaelen is not only 32 but also immensely injury prone. Everton need reliable figures to plug their leaky defences and the Belgian can simply not be relied upon.

Whilst on paper it seems a good deal, and one Everton could certainly turn to their benefit.

The truth is supporters of the Goodison Park outfit will hope they are not the club reportedly keen on bringing Vermaelen back to the Premier League.

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English Premier League

Have West Ham United found the next Mark Noble in Alfie Lewis?

The 18-year-old put in a fine performance against Dagenham and Redbridge this week.



Photo: Getty Images

West Ham United took on Dagenham and Redbridge in a friendly yesterday, in a match to raise funds for the National League side.

It was no surprise to see West Ham come out victorious. They won 3-1, with Michail Antonio at the double and Jordan Hugill scoring his first goal for the club.

It was, however, a Hammers team depleted by international selection.

With that in mind, David Moyes’ side fielded some of their younger players. Plenty of them caught the eye, but none more so than central midfielder Alfie Lewis.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The 18-year-old put in a fine display for 90 minutes which left West Ham fans very excited on social media.

It was an even more special achievement given Lewis spent most of last year on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.

Lewis himself told the official West Ham website after the game: “I’m delighted.

“It was a good experience for me tonight, to play with the likes of Patrice Evra, and Mark Noble in midfield. It was a good challenge and a good test for us as well, and I think I did well.”

He spoke of it being an honour playing alongside Mark Noble, but is he the successor to the throne?

Whilst Noble has had his critics in recent times there is no doubt he has been a long-term hero at West Ham.

Fans of the club have often wondered why Noble has never received England recognition given his consistent form in the Premier League.

(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Noble has gone on to play over 400 games for West Ham since his debut for the club back in 2004.

Lewis certainly has the ability to follow in his footsteps. An energetic midfield creator, West Ham look to have another midfield gem in their ranks and one that can hopefully progress into the first-team soon.

The Hammers have a fine record of bringing through young players.

Noble is one current example and Lewis could not be at a better club if he is to find his way into the West Ham first-team.

This season, with a relegation battle raging, might come a little too soon for the teenager.

Nonetheless, in 2018-19 it will not be a surprise if Lewis finds himself playing alongside Noble in the West Ham midfield once again.

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