What is it with English players and their outrageous price tags?

Following the sale of winger Raheem Sterling from Liverpool to Manchester City for £49million I ask, what is it with English players and their outrageous price tags? Where have these inflated fees suddenly come from? Are they justified?

It’s the mid-season deadline day back on the 31st January 2011 and King Kenny has got the man he believes will help him replace the humongous crater left by a certain Fernando Torres. Was he a World Cup winner? A Champions League pedigree striker? No, it was Gateshead born, 22 year-old Englishman – Andy Carroll.

At the time, it was the record amount anyone had ever paid for a British player standing at a staggering £35million. Fast forward four and a half years and that record is not only set to be broken, but smashed.

At 20 years-old, what makes this 5ft 7 boy, with only 6 Champions League group stage appearances to his name worth more than the sum paid for the entire ‘Invincibles’ Arsenal team in 02/03? Why he’s young and English of course!

Sterling is unquestionably an exciting talent with the potential to become one of Europe’s top players, however, I don’t recall any young Spanish or German player with bags of promise being touted for anything close to that.

Almost exactly 2 years ago to the day, Bayern Munich signed Thiago Alcantara from FC Barcelona for a fee of £21.6million. This was a 22 year-old Spanish midfielder who had won 4 La Liga titles, a Champions League trophy, a Club World Cup and two European U21 Championships.

You can see where this is going right? How can Raheem Sterling, a player who only really has had one stand-out season of top flight experience to his name possibly command a fee of over double that? Worse still, and something that seems to have riled most fans, is the way that this transfer has come about.

“The public see me as this 20 year-old boy being greedy. It’s never been about the money.” (Raheem Sterling in a BBC interview in March) Says the boy who has signed a contract worth a reported £200,000 a week.

His agent has also angered Liverpool and football fans alike by stirring the pot and trying to boost Sterling’s price-tag of which he will receive a considerable cut. This has even led to modern day Liverpool greats speak out against him.

Steven Gerrard said that Sterling was at the other end of the spectrum to “professional” Jordan Henderson and Jamie Carragher even branded him a “Knob”.

The problem that lies in the English game is that players have too much leverage, as we hear in the media all the time as ‘player power’. This, coupled with the Premier League being the wealthiest in the world leads to players being banded about for extortionate fees.

Once the media gets onto some young, English talent (take Harry Kane for example) it seems they will not stop until they have been made out to be the next Messi without actually achieving anything first.

On top of this, with the introduction of the ‘home-grown players’ rule, Premier League clubs must now have at least 8 players who have played in Britain for 3 season or more prior to their 21st birthday.

So as you can imagine, when a club like Manchester City has a goal of being the next European powerhouse but must meet certain regulations it gives an over-hyped, media superstar such as Raheem Sterling the platform to throw his weight about.

From here we are back to the start of the article where Manchester City have completed the £49million capture of the young England player Sterling. I love the Premier League and English National team as much as the next fan but really, £49million? I see this as a sad few weeks for English football on an issue that shows no signs of slowing down.

By Charlie Carmichael – @Carmichael93

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