After months of widespread speculation and lengthy negotiations a deal has been struck and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has finalized his transfer to the Etihad Stadium. The 20 year old, who has been at the centre of this summer’s biggest transfer furore, has been bought by Manchester City for a record-breaking fee of £49 million. Sterling has now controversially become the most expensive English player of all time which begs the question, why are English footballers so expensive?
Many experts and fans alike are currently debating as to whether Sterling himself is even worth that type of figure. Although Vieira, who has been touted as the next Manchester City manager stated that 9 out of 10 people would regard the move as ‘positive’, Sterling made just 95 appearances for the reds, scoring a mere 18 goals in total. On the face of things- and taking into account his relative inexperience- surely most reasonable observers are raising their eyebrows at the eye watering amount the City owners have forked out to get their man.
The Premier League has a rich history of importing expensive overseas players yet it’s the home grown English talent that seems to top recent transfer fee lists and the bosses of the elite league are partly to blame. Premier League quotas currently insist that teams must have at least 8 English players in their squad so more often than not, particularly at the big clubs, certain players are being drafted in simply to make up the numbers.
On the face of it a lump sum figure doesn’t always tell the whole story and some may even argue that shelling out now may be shrewder than waiting for young starlets to fully develop. Take Wayne Rooney for example, who moved to Manchester United in 2004 for a massive £27 million. Roo had made his mark at Everton and caught the eye of Man U manager Alex Ferguson at just 18. He had minimal experience on the big stage and had just begun his senior England international career.
£27m pales in comparison to the level of success he has bought his team at Old Trafford, becoming a record goal scorer and helping his team to victory in numerous competitions. So there’s certainly value for your money if you’re willing to put your faith in youth early with eyes firmly set on reaping the benefits over a sustained period of time.
There’s no doubt Sterling’s a talent, but quite an immature one by all accounts. In fact, if Sterling’s move to Manchester epitomises everything that is wrong about home-grown talent then Fabian Delph’s recent decision to stay at Aston Villa is at the other end of the spectrum. The Villa man snubbed the chance to warm City’s bench and defied the recent trend, refusing to be just another statistic.
Fees for England stars are still on the rise but who knows, if Sterling performs, maybe there’s method in the madness after all.