Tag Archives: Arsenal

The International Makeup of the Premier and Non League

The Premier League has been famed for the international stars it attracts as a league for a long time. Since the dawn of the Premier League era, players have flocked from all over the world to come in play what the English media certainly believe to be ‘the best league in the world.’

The introduction of so many foreign players into the domestic English game (223 with an average of 11 per club) has often been blamed for poor performances by the Three Lions at major tournaments.

But where do these so called international stars come from? And how come other countries are able to flourish with almost as many foreign players in their leagues and with many of their players playing overseas anyway, frequently, in the Premier League?

We took a look at the makeup of the Premier League’s different nationalities by seeing which countries are most frequently attracted to often a much colder and wetter climate in the search of football stardom.

Most Common Nationalities in EPL
Most of the chart above probably wouldn’t surprise most readers. The combined effect of both Arsene Wenger and Alan Pardew’s (at Newcastle) liking for French and francophone players has significantly boosted the contingent of players from across the channel playing in the EPL; the same can be said for the reasonably high number of Ivorian and Senegalese players. But the number of Dutch, Spanish and Argentine players may come as surprise, especially when everyone is always saying how many Belgians there seem to be in England’s top tier. The breakdown of foreign player by club makes more interesting reading:
Foreign Players by Club

  It would seem that Chelsea’s success in winning the league at a canter this year has come at the expense of blooding young English talent, or English players of any age for that matter with Gary Cahill and John Terry the only regulars and senior domestic names of note in the whole squad. The same approach hasn’t worked quite the same wonders for John Carver’s Newcastle who are flirting dangerously with relegation. Likewise already relegated Burnley look to have paid for backing homegrown players. West Ham and Spurs also are no longer the bastions of young Englishmen that they have been in years gone by with Sam Allardyce and Mauricio Pochettino seemingly favouring the foreign approach to the game. Perhaps the best way to paint the picture of an arguable surplus of foreign players in the top flight, is to look at the situation at the other end of the scale, in the Conference Premier.

Conference Nationalities

Again France leads the way, with Australia in a close second – but even from the evidence of internationals simply playing in the basement before the promised land of League 2 and the Football League, shows that there are significantly less foreign players plying their trade at the lower level.

Conference Foreign Players
Again, by casting one’s eye over the breakdown of foreign players by club, it is again clear that local and domestic players are the favoured choice of lower league managers. Even if Lincoln look like the Chelsea of the Conference way out in front on the chart, they still only have four players from outside of the UK.

 

Compared to other domestic leagues in Europe, the level of domestic players playing in the Premier League and even in the Championship is much lower, and the results of the national teams at the Euros and World Cups really bears out the point that while plucking talent from across the globe ensures an exciting and vibrant league each season, it can only damage the growth of homegrown talent.

Reading vs Arsenal: Visualising the Gap

In some quarters, this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final between Reading and Arsenal is being billed as your proverbial David and Goliath encounter.

That might seem a little over the top. Arsenal’s preening millionaires will not exactly be meeting a bunch of part-time postmen. The Royals are only one division below the favourites, having only lost their top-flight status two years ago. They also have a canny manager in Steve Clarke, who’s worked with some of the country’s biggest clubs.

However, even a well-established club like Reading can pale in comparison to a money-spinning megalith like the Gunners, who are not only of English football’s most storied sides, but also one its richest.

Here are some visual representations of just how huge the gap is between the two sides.

TrophiesArsenal have won 13 Premier League titles and 11 FA Cups. Reading have never won either competition. Their highest finish is 8th in the Premier League in 2006/07. They reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1927.

Whereas Arsenal’s all-time haul of competitive honours makes them the country’s third-most successful club of all time, Reading are some way off that mark.

The Royals’ semi-final appearance this weeekend will equal their best ever finish in the competition, which came all the way back in 1927.

Finances

An image showing the relative finances of Arsenal and Reading. Arsenal have a turnover of £303.3m and a wage budget of £163m. They spend 56.8% of their turnover on wages. Reading have a turnover of £38.1m and they spend £34.1m on wages, that's 90.2%.

Arsenal’s income stood at £303.3m last season, more than any other English club. This allows them to spend a staggering £163m on wages every year without a sweat.

Reading, meanwhile, can claim to have financial figure larger than their semi-finals rivals. It’s not one they want. The management at the Madjeski Stadium spend a worrying 90.2 per cent of their income on wages, something that they should seek to correct sooner rather than later.

Transfers

An image showing the record transfers of Arsenal and Reading. Arsenal spent £42.5m on Mesut Ozil and received £29.8m for Cesc Feabregas. Reading spent £3m on Adrian Mariappa and received £7m for Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Arsenal broke their transfer record two years ago when Mesut Özil joined the club for £42.5m from Real Madrid and went close again the following summer, when they shelled out £31.7m for Alexis Sanchez.

Reading, on the other hand, can’t quite compete. Their transfer record stands at £3m, following the signing of Jamaican international Adrian Mariappa from Watford in 2012.

Stadiums

An image showing the relative capacities of Arsenal and Reading stadiums. Arsenal can fit 60,081 into the Emirates Stadium, whereas Reading can fit 24,161 into the Madjeski Stadium.

Both clubs have moved into ultra-modern stadiums in the recent past. Reading moved into the Madjeski Stadium, named after their owner John, by their owner John, in 1998. The ground is shared with London Irish, who the football club earn around £600,000 in commission from every year.

Arsenal’s protracted move from Highbury to the Emirates was undoubtedly worth the wait. The stadium has taken the club to the next level and established them at European football’s top table. Attendances are never too far off the capacity of 60,272, which is the second biggest in the league behind Old Trafford.

Social MediaAn image showing the social media followings of Reading and Arsenal. Arsenal have 32 million Facebook likes, whereas Reading have 250,000.

Arsenal can boast a huge following on Facebook, with around 35m fans having ‘liked’ the club online. The Gunners will, however, want to bring a few more of these fans onto Twitter, where they have only 5m followers.

Reading, meanwhile, are doing relatively well. Their 250,000 likes are backed up by a 150,000 followers, suggesting a hard-core of support across both social networks.


@mjcritchley

Chelsea to make shock move for Fabregas

@awinehouse1

Spanish newspaper Marca are reporting that Chelsea are set to make a shock move for Cesc Fabregas, bringing him back to England’s capital.

After a difficult period at Barcelona, Fabregas is keen to return to the Premier League, where he made his name with Arsenal. Mourinho has been alerted to the Spanish international’s availability by his representative Darren Dein.

Chelsea will have to fight off staunch competition from Manchester United, however, who are willing to offer Fabregas a significant pay increase. Manchester United need to rebuild their squad under new manager Louis Van Gaal after a disastrous season saw them finish seventh. Fabregas currently earns €5 million a season at Barcelona, with Man Utd willing to pay upwards of €6 million to convince him to join. They are also preparing an offer of €40 million.

Chelsea, worried about Financial Fair Play, will not be able to offer the same salary, but can offer Fabregas Champions League football. It remains to be seen whether Arsenal may be interested in bringing him back to the Emirates Stadium, a move he would surely prefer to either. Arsenal can also sign Fabregas for only €36 million, due to a buy back clause.

Manchester City have also supposedly met with Dein.