Premier League academy chief warns Brexit will send cost of English talent 'through the roof' 3 years ago

Premier League academy chief warns Brexit will send cost of English talent 'through the roof'

English talent will carry even more of a premium now

A director of a Premier League academy has said that Brexit will cause the price of young English players to go "through the roof", according to a Telegraph exclusive, as clubs plan for the expected end of free movement of players below the age of 18.

Advertisement

Some Premier League clubs are preparing for Brexit's impact on football by looking into buying smaller European clubs and setting up academies that will one day feed their first team, as well as setting up education programmes with the intention of developing young footballers before they are legally allowed to be transferred to a British club.

The rigid barriers between home nations in the world of football has even cast doubt over whether players below the age of 18 could be transferred between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Clubs in the European Economic Area are allowed to transfer players between the ages of 16 and 18. This arrangement has allowed several high-profile players to join English clubs at a young age, including Cesc Fàbregas, Paul Pogba, Hector Bellerin and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

That could all be about to change though, depending on how Brexit pans out, which is anyone's guess at the moment.

If the UK leaves the European Union with no deal, or a deal which excludes the country from the EEA, the UK would no longer be a beneficiary of this arrangement. That would mean English clubs could not sign players from Europe until they turn 18, giving other European clubs an additional two years to snap up the same players.

English clubs would also keep hold of their young talent with a tighter grip, putting an end to transfers like Jadon Sancho's move to Borussia Dortmund, whom he joined aged 17.

Advertisement

Huw Jennings, academy director at Fulham and former academy director for both the Premier League and Southampton, says this change will cause prices of young English talent to skyrocket.

“I am concerned about the additional premium that would then be applied on British talent,” said Jennings.

“There will be those clubs who argue there is not sufficient training compensation, and I understand that, but it’s more to do with the best talent being so widely sought after that the price gets driven through the roof. If you are not careful, what you are ending up with here is a transfer race.

“That is not healthy for young players. You start to have levels of training that are not commensurate with where the player currently sits and where the player might sit in the future.”