Britain’s NOT Got Talent!

COS contributor Adam O’Connell wonders why Premier League managers are so quick to spend over the odds for English talent when bargain’s can be found for a fraction of the price.

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Will clubs ever stop looking abroad for talent? Probably not considering the kind of quality they can get at reduced cost.

The recent acquisition of Rafael Van Der Vaart (VDV) for Spurs proves this point. For £8m, Spurs have bagged themselves an absolute bargain. He has shown the ability to influence matches both home and away, providing goals and assists in each game he has played. His control, vision and technique mark him out as world class. This is a player who has played in a World Cup final for Holland and he oozes class from every pore. Madrid’s loss is most definitely Tottenham’s gain.

I have been watching Spurs for 25 years, and I have never seen a player as talented as VDV at the Lane. Ginola showed flashes of genius, Gazza too, even Berbatov at times showed just how good he could be. But for consistency and work rate, VDV is well and truly a cut above.

Compare this with James Milner, who cost over three times the amount of VDV. A good premier league player yet has contributed nothing on the international stage and who looks out of his depth when making rare appearances for his country on the left wing. He has already played for Leeds, Newcastle, Villa (on loan and then permanently) and now City. Villa must have been laughing all the way to the bank to have taken so much of City’s cash for him.

Wright Phillips was another who cost Chelsea in the region of £25m from City and Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick who both cost upwards of £15m. Yes, both good honest midfielders, but both prone to injury and unpredictable in their form. £23m for Joleon Lescott anyone?

Compare that to what United paid out for two of the best defenders ever to have played in this country, Patrice Evra (£5.5m) and Nemanja Vidic (£7m). Who do you think got the best deal? The contrast is incredible if you compare the Evra deal to what City paid for England’s second choice left back Wayne Bridge (£12m).

Glenn Johnson cost Liverpool an incredible £18 million. This is a player who should be sued under the trade description act for masquerading as something he clearly isn’t … a defender. A player so bright he was caught trying to steal toilet seats from his local DIY store. The list of better right backs, in my opinion, is as long as my arm – Jose Bosingwa, Paolo Ferrera, Bacary Sagna, Mario Melchiot, Rafael, Pascal Chimbonda, Julien Fubert – and all at just a fraction of the cost.

With the last batch of talented one club players (Terry, King, Gerrard, Carragher, Scholes and Neville) depleting and unfortunately such a dearth of top class English players coming through the ranks at our top clubs, it will always be that as soon as a player with a modicum of talent comes off the production line, he will be snapped up at a vastly inflated fee by Englands bigger clubs. This will result in clubs continually looking abroad for cheap talent, to the detriment of our national team.

If we look at the recent England Squad, we can see just how overpriced some of our players really are.

Joe Hart – 500k

An obvious exception to the rule

Ben Foster – £6m

A career proving himself for Crewe Alexandra, and Uniteds Carling cup sides hardly constitutes such an inflated fee in my opinion.

Robert Green – £2m

Not bad for a goalkeeper who cant catch.

Joleon Lescott – £23m.

Looks and plays like a lego man. Words really don’t do justice as to just how much City overpaid for him. Everton must have been wetting themselves, I bet Bill Kenwright thought it was a wind up when he took that call…. “You want to pay us how much for him?? Make it £23 million and we have a deal my good friend Mr mansour”

Glen Johnson – £18m

Oh dear, oh dear, is this really the best England can offer. Pompey were in a terrible mess and yet still they managed to convince Rafa “I just don’t have enough money/backing/cuddles from the board” Benitez to pay the combined total of one Jose Bosingwa, an Alex, a Hangelaand and a Charlie Adam thrown in.

James Milner/Ashley Young/Theo Walcott – £15m to £23m.

Ah yes, the great future of England. 3 wingers who could lead anybody down a blind alley. Lots of pace, no idea what to do with a football when its at their feet, and even less of a clue as to what to do if an opponent runs at them with a ball. For similar amounts players of the ilk of Tevez, Torres, Drogba and Anelka have been purchased, all matchwinners, players who will guarantee you points on their own.

Gareth Barry – £12m

Of course you can never spend too much on a player who has a left foot and only reverse gear. It is vital to load a midfield with players who can only see their own goalkeeper when the ball is at their feet. Why does everyone think he is the answer for the national team, is it because the alternative is Lee Cattermole (£12m) or Joey Barton (Untold Millions in lawyers and court fees).

Barry is surely one of the most over rated players in the country, a poor mans Xabi Alonso. Except Alonso only cost Liverpool £10.5 million. Even Chelseas very own jelly bean Jon Obi-Mikel was cheaper, and at least he will have a resale value.

I would rather have the likes of Juuski Jaskelaainen, Dirk Kuyt, Brede Hangelaand, Maynor Figuerora, Wilson Palacios, Luka Modric, Yossi Benayoun, Stillian Petrov, Tim Cahill to name but a few in my side.

One last one to sum it up – Ade Akinbiyi has commanded over £11 million in transfer fees over his career!!! And as for Heskey……

However as long as my club can continue to sign the calibre of VDV, you won’t hear me complaining!

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More Stories Ben Foster England Gareth Barry Glen Johnson james milner joe hart Nemanja Vidic patrice evra Rafael van der Vaart robert green theo walcott