We have previously explored age effects in football here. There is also a varied and detailed literature in academic circles. Recently, Lord Alan Sugar decided to wade into the debate and criticised the approach taken by Premier League clubs during BT Sport’s Fletch and Sav programme. He said that “the whole essence of the sport, the competitiveness, the training of young players has been taken away by going out and buying talent from Argentina or Italy”
As can be seen from the table below, which is based on the top 5 European Leagues, the Premier League is not represented among the top 5 clubs when it comes to recruiting players in the run up to their prime. Everton, a club who have not made it to the group stages of the Champions League in the Premier League era are the highest ranked from the EPL.
The top three positions are occupied by Spanish clubs, one of which is Barcelona, who generally field about three “home grown” players in their starting 11. It seems like the biggest culprits in ‘removing the essence of the sport’ are not EPL clubs. (Average time at club is measured in years)