Thierry Henry, Arsenal legend and Sky Sports pundit, has discussed how sadly damaging the Football Association’s homegrown rule is on young English players in the transfer market.
While the quota has been put in place with the aim of aiding the senior England side in limiting the spending overseas for new players, Henry believes that the impact it is having on fees could have a detrimental effect on English youngsters.
Luke Shaw sealed a £30m move to Manchester United last summer, while a year later Raheem Sterling swapped Liverpool for Manchester City in a British record £49m deal and John Stones was linked with a £40m transfer to Chelsea.
Henry isn’t critical of the quality of the trio, but is rightly skeptical over the transfer fees – questioning whether they really are worthy of such a valuation.
In his column for The Sun, he wrote: ‘I was on the pitch when Wayne Rooney scored his first goal for Everton and, equally, I don’t believe he was ever bothered by the amount Manchester United would eventually pay for him.
‘Yet not all players are able to overcome a large transfer fee and this is one of the problems of the home-grown rule.
‘Each squad can only have 17 overseas players and this means home-grown players are at a premium. As a result, they must deal with unbelievably large fees.’
Henry continued: ‘It’s not John Stones’ fault, but I’m sure there was a massive premium on his price tag for being English as Chelsea were in need of home-grown players.
‘I’m not saying that is the only reason they went for him but it was probably a big factor.
‘He looks a really promising player with a big future but is he worth over £35m?
‘Is Raheem Sterling worth £49m? Was Luke Shaw worth around £30m?’
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He also drew on the price that Chelsea paid Barcelona for Pedro Rodriguez – who has won in all there is to win in the sport, but was considerably cheaper than the England trio cited above.
‘It’s not their fault that the fees are so high but you have players like Pedro arriving who have won everything in the game for half the price.
‘The transfer market has gone crazy and especially for home-grown players.
‘They are all good players but it certainly doesn’t make life any easier for them that they have huge price tags to justify.’