In England, fans and club directors crave and pay extortionate sums of money for the world’s premier football talent. Should a player move in the opposite direction and transfer to a historical big league (Namely a European one) then that seems to be okay. However, if a player moves to China or the USA for example, then phrases like “They’re selling their soul” get thrown about.
If it’s okay for teams in England to acquire the best players from around the globe and for all of us to boast that we’ve got the greatest league in the world, then why shouldn’t other countries be allowed to do the same? Don’t the people of China, USA, Japan, Australia and India etc deserve a great league of their own, one where local players combine with the world’s best? The aforementioned countries have at least tried and made progress. As for many nations in Africa or even South America, their top players have consistently abandoned their homeland to grace Europe and often the English Premier League.
Hypocrisy, jealousy and arrogance are just some of the words that can be applied to the attitude of many who turn their nose up at players venturing to less heralded footballing nations. Some of the attitude seems to stem from the fact that fans in nations such as China could be considered ‘new’ fans and that unlike in England because their grandfather didn’t grace the terraces every week fifty years ago, the league… doesn’t count!
Of course the Premier League is the most watched league in the world which is in part why the league’s big wigs won’t want other leagues raising their quality and profile. Sure, top players moving to China in particular are spectacularly well remunerated (Even with recent salary changes) but if they inspire Chinese youngsters to take up the game and their native teammates to up theirs then isn’t that a good thing? I’m a huge cricket fan but it’s shamelessly a far from global game, only recently hinting at catching up.
Football sells itself as the global game. Experienced professionals sharing their skills and knowledge in non-historical footballing hotbeds can surely only help football live up to its self-proclamation!