Man United continue to commit to signing English talent

Author: Doron

Follow Doron on Twitter

The signing of Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra secured a much sought after young talent for the club. Having only recently turned 18, Powell’s already racked up an impressive 64 competitive appearances and stands at over 6ft tall. In what’s a very global market, United are still looking close to home when it comes to signing players. The capture of Powell confirms United’s commitment to trying to buy English.

I decided to look at the transfers of the top seven teams of the last 10 years and see how many English players they’ve bought and how much they’re prepared to spend on English talent. Buying domestic players does of course have its pitfalls – inflated prices not just because of the nationality but because it invariably involves sides in the same league selling to one another.

Having English players is important. Fans are able to relate somewhat to the individuals and they’re more likely to settle into new clubs quicker whilst staying for the long-haul. Of course it’s equally vital today to have a mix of footballing cultures in a side, particularly one competing in European competitions.

Having done the research, here’s what I found:

(Red = highest; yellow = lowest. Click to enlarge.)

The first thing to note is that since the summer of 2002, United have bought the fewest number of players whilst Spurs have bought the most (by some margin). Quite incredibly, Arsenal have only made four English signings in that spell – Wenger’s always preferred foreign footballers but that’s not even an English signing every two years!

I was quite surprised to that over a quarter of the players Man City have signed were English. However, 10 years ago they were competing for the likes of Trevor Sinclair and Darius Vassell who at the time, were probably easier to sell Man City to than foreign players. Similarly, Everton with 28% of signings being English have always been keen to snap up bargains under Moyes – Jagielka, Lescott and Baines to name a few.

What’s most intriguing is that United have bought the highest percentage of English players. A club forever fighting at the top and making reasonable progress in Europe, and yet still valuing English talent, more so than any of their rivals. This has been obvious in the past few years as the club have fought hard to secure Smalling, Young, Jones and now Powell having been in competition for their various signatures with rivals.

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea have spent the most whilst Everton have spent the least. Once again it’s United willing to commit the most to English talent having spent £146.35m on them. Granted, this is skewed by purchasing the likes of Rooney, Carrick and Ferdinand but to buy the best you have to pay the most. Similarly, Liverpool, paid on average the most for their English signed players largely due to the expenditure on Jordan Henderson and Any Carroll – prime examples of inflated prices for buying domestic players.

The biggest sign of that inflation though is that whilst just over a quarter of United’s signings have been English, of the money spent on all 49 signings, over 40% has gone on those English players. Clearly, United are prepared to spend more on English and it’s probably paid off too. United have probably had less inconsistency and fluctuations than other sides and that may well have something to do with choosing to buy fewer players from abroad who might need longer to settle, acclimatise and get used to the pace and style of the Premier League. Unsurprisingly, mega-spenders Chelsea and Man City have committed less than 15% to English players, favouring to pay for foreign imports.

In a league with an increasing percentage of non-English players the fact that four of the seven top sides over the past 10 years have been willing to spent 25% of their transfer funds on English players is a positive sign. Chelsea and City’s figures show no surprises whilst Wenger’s attempts to make Arsenal play in a continental style have seen him almost completely neglect the domestic market.

From a United point of view, I think it’s fair to feel proud that the club are keen to add English players on top of the ones who come through from the Academy. Certainly, that the club are willing to pay inflated prices for those English players rather than paying big money for foreign players goes to show where their values lie. As it becomes harder and more unrealistic to hope for teams made up of local footballers, the next best is to have domestic players and at least United are still one of the best at ensuring that happens.

9 Comments on Man United continue to commit to signing English talent

  1. One day I dream of seeing the English team full of United players. Then most off-seasons won’t be so boring.

  2. I’ve been pointing this out to people for years but to me the more notable point is that on top of the players bought we have brought through hugely more English players as well, if you extend that to British players over a longer period the list is massively bigger than any other top club. Beckham, Scoles, G Neville, P Neville, Nicky Butt, Wes Brown, Ryan Giggs, Lee Sharpe, John Oshea, Darren Fletcher, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley etc. There’s also a clutch of new ones coming through the youth/reserves. This is the most understated positive fact of our recent history & to consider we have dominated the English game along with more than a splash of European success is awesome. If Liverpoo had done this it’d have been rammed down the nations neck for years.

    Fergie – Legend

  3. who cares where the players are from how is it possible to relate to a person who grew up say on the south coast compared to one who grew up in france neither are “local” so why would it matter whether united buy english or not the truth is are the players that are being signed good enough and are they value for money.
    footballers are so removed from “normal” society that it is near on impossible to relate to them anyway. And on top of that what difference does it make where the players are from the dirt under say spain is the same as the dirt under england this nationalistic attitude makes no sense do you really care that cantona was not english. he is still a legend.

  4. @sid – there are fans who care and there are positives to be had by buying domestic – language, fast adaptation to the new club, already knowing the style of the league.

    It’s the same as saying that there are fans who care about entertainment more than trophies – fans value different things.

    As for footballer’s being removed from ‘normal’ society – that’s not their own fault. However there are examples of players who do still try to do normal things and don’t choose the ‘celeb lifestyle’.

    As for the last part – have you even read this? The piece acknowledges that it’s necessary to have a mix of both domestic and foreign players.

  5. by the way powell is not a investment – he’s a direct replacement for paul pogba who is leaving for juventus 🙁 say hello to glazers and their best buddy – fergie. i know you think pogba is not worth a hassle and powell is better , but this is obviously loads of fergie bolloks designed to avert attention from the fact that united no longer can’t afford to keep their brightest talent, as certain man once said – it’s a fact.

  6. but reality is pogba was probably better player than him, and more expensive as well, and that signal does this send to world – united haggling over the pennies , than making 100 million + turnover a year. we becoming new arsenal i think, there is rumours circulating around that modric go to united, but why he go to us than somebody else can offer better terms for him, anyway the matter of fact is this regime (fergie + glazers) dragging us down something needs to be done about this – look old trafford becoming corporate scumbags club, who know fuck all about football. that guy eden hazard says he chose chelsea because they won champions league, but i’am sure he wanted come to us first but fergie just couldn’t authorise such a big financial deal, same was with sneijder last year. look that quality of player sneijder is in euros…

  7. @minimal – Pogba was not more expensive than Powell!

    And we’re certainly not the new Arsenal, nothing like them in terms of transfer policy.

    As for Modric, right now, we’re not interested right now so you can forget that.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Wilfried Zaha transfer to Manchester United is complete | Stretty Rant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.