Is the allure of the Premier League in decline?


While La Liga may been edging in front of the Premier League, a new contender has seemingly emerged in the form of the Bundesliga, courtesy of preparations that have been going on for nearly 10 years. To give a brief history, a poor (by German standards) national team resulted in a complete overhaul of the nation’s youth system; something which, combined with a lack of funds in recent years to buy stars further accentuating the need to produce talent, is now reaping the rewards with a continuous production line of top quality ‘wonderkids’: Özil, Götze, Neuer, Müller, Hummels…

The list goes on. Combined with formidable stadiums that keep the fans flocking, and the knowledge that the Bundesliga has been the highest scoring league over the last few seasons, the excitement and popularity has led it to burst into contention as one of the best leagues. The fact that two German sides contested last season’s Champions League final only adds weight to the argument for their consideration; the fact that they demolished arguably the two greatest teams in world football confirms it.

So with Spain’s spectacular stars and teams, Germany’s exhilarating atmospheres and new breed of stars, and the exciting (and lucrative) projects commencing at Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Anzhi, is all faith lost for the English Premier League? Have we really lost our footing amongst Europe’s elite?

While some of the points raised do indicate issues threatening our league, it should not suddenly raise a harrowing alarm.

While England’s success in European competition last season may have been less than impressive, to put it lightly (bar Chelsea’s ability to pull off a victory in the Europa League, although it’s fair to say they shouldn’t have allowed themselves to drop into that competition), England are still sitting in second in the UEFA coefficients. And while they may drop down to third, dependent on Germany’s performances this season, from the top position they have held in recent years, they are still comfortably ahead of the likes of the Italian, Portuguese and French leagues (meaning we will hold onto four Champions League places for the foreseeable future).

We can also take heart from the abundance of finalists and semi finalists we have had in Europe’s elite competition in recent years, the reason behind our lofty rankings in the UEFA coefficients.

We can also applaud clubs in England who look set to finally be preparing for the imminent Financial Fair Play by investing in younger stars: while multi million pound transfers inevitably dominate the headlines, many clubs have indeed devoted a considerable amount toward youth talent. This will indubitably provide the league with a greater advantage when Monaco and PSG are unable to continue their lavish expenditure.

The recent opening of St George’s Park may also encourage clubs to plough more money into their youth academies to develop talent which, from a business point of view, will either become valuable assets or can be sold for profit to reinvest. Just look at Barcelona and the Germans.

It would be unfair to state that the domestic league in England is in crisis – far from it (the national team, on the other hand, is a different story altogether…). Yet when the greatest clubs in world football – Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal – apparently lack the pulling power and the ability to match other nations, it causes a concern.

Perhaps it is all just a mask, where the stature of Real Madrid and Barcelona, the hysteria surrounding Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich and the millions on offer at Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain are actually blurring the glamour the Premier League still possesses and the opportunities it offers, instead mistakenly citing a downfall in the English league.

Only time will tell whether this was all just a misunderstanding in the love affair of the Premiership, but now is the time for Moyes, Mourinho and Wenger et al. to prove it.

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