Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The 2010/11 Silly Season has dawned upon us!

So with the Pre-season beginning and the Transfer Window well and truly under way, all the rumour, speculation, and gossip has begun to hit the footballing World in what Sir Alex Ferguson penned, "the silly season."

It is difficult to know where many of these transfer rumours come from, ranging from the absolutely absurd to the sometimes quite sensible. Since the window opened up on the 1st of July I have read that Liverpool are signing Jesus Navas (I wish!), Gervinho (Ivory Coast star - not a far off possibility), Joe Cole and Edin Dzeko (Wolfsburg top goal scorer). What? Where do the papers and news sites get these stories from? Liverpool didn't even have a manager until recently and so who's making these transfer targets? Kenny Dalglish?

The transfer season is also fantastic for two reasons, or with Man City now multi-billionaires, perhaps three reasons. You always want to know what players your club is signing or chasing and who the other top four clubs are after, then with City it's what ridiculous money are they offering to some 'above-average' players?

It's the wealthy Manchester City that so far have made the biggest transfer headlines, signing three players already in big money deals. First their acquisition of Yaya Toure for £24m with a contract of roughly £200k a week, which I think makes him the highest earner of the Premier League and possibly the World? Then of course there's David Silva in another audacious £24M swoop of La Liga, after the Spaniish and former Valencia Winger performed well in the World Cup. Although I'm sure one of the Golden Rules of Football management is not to buy a player after he's had a good World Cup? It rarely works out. And finally there plans to spend a much inflated price of possibly £30m on Winger turned Central Midfielder - James Milner, who before a mixed World Cup was hailed as the future of English football, although he may have stiff competition from a certain Evertonian.

However the whole James Milner story, theory and price tag just seems outright stupid. Why demand a move to a club that already has a midfield talent pool to rival most Jose Mourinho sides, Patrick Vieira, Adam Johnson, Gareth Barry, Nigel De Jong, Stephen Ireland, Shaun Wright-Philips, Vladimir Weiss and the newly recruited Toure and Silva, how does Milner expect to achieve the same level of First team football he gets at Aston Villa?

I believe Man City's reasoning behind Milner and Villa's price-tag both go hand-in-hand. From the start of the 2010/11 campaign, all 20 clubs will have to adhere to new squad regulations. They dictate that each club will have to select their 18 names on a team sheet from a pre-nominated squad of 25. In that list of 25, eight must be "home-grown".

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for the young English talent being brought forward quicker into the Premier League but it creates two possible problems, both of which James Milner represents.

The first problem is obvious to many critics, the price of decent, not good but just decent English players will increase quite a bit. A player like Milner, who has great ability and buckets of potential will have his price tag greatly inflated because of these new PL guide lines, which isn't fair on clubs. The really good English players were already very expensive and probably one of the reasons why none of our players buy from the English talent pool. I mean how long have Inter been after Ashley Cole? Years. His price tag? £100m plus player probably.

The second major problem is the fact that it isn't a requirement for these "Home Grown" to actually be English! They just have to serve 3 seasons in English (or Welsh) competition, meaning the academies can continue grabbing great foreign youngsters and continue pumping the Premier League with foreigners, just this time they'll be younger. When you consider the fact that under these new guidelines this means players like Liverpool's Insua and Arsenal's Fabregas are "Home Grown" talent.

However these new guidelines are a step in the right direction and much better than the originally proposed 6+5 rules that the FA were considering at some page. With the Premier League officially the best League in the World, we can afford to make these smaller changes to the way our country's league is run in order to fuel a better future for our national team.

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