By Patrick Johnston
Despite Raheem Sterling’s record transfer to Manchester City, Premier League boss Richard Scudamore said it was a “hard stretch” to suggest home grown quota rules were to blame for the increasing price of English talent.
Midfielder Sterling joined City from Liverpool on Tuesday for a reported fee of £49 million, British media said, a record price for an English player, overtaking the £35 million Liverpool paid Newcastle United for striker Andy Carroll in 2011.
The fees for players just starting their international careers exceed what Liverpool paid Ajax Amsterdam for Uruguayan thoroughbred Luis Suarez or Arsenal spent to sign renowned Chilean talent Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona.
City also spent more on bit-part England midfielder James Milner than they did on established Spaniard David Silva in 2010, while Manchester United recruited England teenage left-back Luke Shaw last season at double the cost of Marcos Rojo, who played in the World Cup final for Argentina.
With Premier League squads requiring eight home grown players in the squad of 25, the clamour for top local talent has never been so intense but Scudamore did not feel there was a link to the price hike.
“You can’t say it’s a systematic analysis of the cost of home grown talent,” Scudamore told Reuters on the sidelines of the Premier League’s Asian Trophy in Singapore.
“Whether that says the cost of English talent across the board is suddenly x is a hard stretch.”
The executive chairman said the fee for Sterling was down to Liverpool’s unwillingness to let the 20-year-old winger depart Anfield.
“Whether that is a premium on English players or not I don’t know, at the end of the day Manchester City wanted Raheem Sterling,” he said. “Manchester City have the ability to look around the whole world and decide who they want.
“They decided they want him, Liverpool didn’t want to sell him… therefore what you are seeing is the competitive tension, you are seeing the price taken to prize Raheem Sterling out of Liverpool. That is all you are seeing.”
Scudamore reiterated his objection to plans by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke to increase the quota for home grown players to 12.
“We do have a current quota system which says no more than 17 of your squad of 25 can be anything other than home grown, we think that is proportionate, we don’t think we should be increasing that number.”