English international players have been on the move this summer. The high priced transfers of Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones have caught all the attention but proven internationals Ashley Young and Stewart Downing have also commanded high fees near the end of their contracts. All this has contributed to talk of a English player ‘bubble’ fed by chairmen with too much money and too little sense.
In actuality what is likely driving the premium for English players are the Premier League’s rules governing squad composition. The 2010-2011 season was the first year in which the League introduced a squad cap of 25 players and a quota for home-grown players.
A great summary of the rules written by EmpireOfTheKop:
- Clubs register a squad of up to 25 players, which must include at least eight ‘home-grown’ players, at the end of each transfer window.
- Home-grown players do not have to be English; home-grown players are defined as those who “irrespective of nationality or age, have been affiliated to the FA or Welsh FA for a period of three seasons or 36 months prior to 21st birthday”.
- Clubs can supplement their squad with an unlimited number of players under the age of 21.
- Changes can be made only during transfer windows, although in exceptional circumstances (eg two out of three goalkeepers injured) moves could be allowed.
- Players loaned out to Football League clubs cannot be replaced, but can regain their spot on return to parent club.
- Clubs do not have to name a full squad of 25 if they do not have that many contracted players and in this instance they may add free agents outside the transfer window. However if they have 25 eligible contracted players, they must be named.
- Clubs do not have to name eight home grown players but if they do not have that many signed they will operate from squad reduced by the relevant number of home grown players missing.
- Rules purely apply to only Premier League matches – not European, FA Cup or League Cup games.
- The first deadline to be adhered to for squad submission to the Premier League is 5pm BST on 1st September 2010, the current transfer window closes on August 31st 6pm 2010.
So while there is no requirement that clubs buy players of English nationality, it certainly helps that buying an England International checks two boxes of the Premier League’s new requirements.