As the transfer window opens, expectant fans across the country are looking for the inspired signing that will help their club to success in the New Year. The world of football however has not avoided the implications from the current economic crisis. Most clubs do not have the money they once had and can no longer buy their way out of trouble. Do not lose hope however, as there is a history of Premier League clubs successfully delving into the ‘lower leagues’ and unearthing some real gems.
For inspiration look no further than Everton under the stewardship of David Moyes. The likes of Jagielka, Lescott and Cahill formed the spine of the team that narrowly lost the FA cup final last season. Cahill was taken from the successful Millwall side in 2004 and has become a mainstay in the Premier League causing aerial havoc in the box of every opposing team. Jagielka and Lescott have both received England call ups and if they can find some fitness and form will surely be in contention for South Africa. The economics of the transfers also stacks up, a total outlay on the 3 players amounts to £10.5 million, with approximately £22 million being recouped for the sale of Lescott to Man City. For a club like Everton, who lack the millions of Man City and Chelsea, such prudent business is essential to the long term future of the club.
In addition to the economic benefits of buying from the ‘lower leagues’, Premiership clubs also buy an ethos and toughness from the players. To be successful in the ‘lower leagues’ players need to have a sense of determination and will power which Premier League fans will relish in their new signings.
Of course there are exceptions and many players have struggled to cope with the increased intensity and skill level of the Premier League. Look no further than the likes of Geoff Horsfield or Robert Earnshaw both of whom terrorised Championship defences, only to struggle in the Premier League.
So if you buy into this policy of recruiting from the ‘lower leagues’, who should Premier League clubs look at during this transfer window? Apart from the obvious proven Premiership experience at Newcastle such as Alan Smith and Kevin Nolan, there are some highly talented players plying their trade in the ‘lower leagues’. Goal scorers such as Billy Sharp or Jermaine Beckford could be worth a punt, and Victor Moses is attracting a lot of attention.
The current success of Birmingham City is based on their defence, particularly Roger Johnson, another successful Championship signing. There are plenty of other good defenders in the Championship, with the likes of Matthew Kilgallon and Miles Addison sure to attract the attention of the Premier League sooner rather than later.
Of course there is a risk in buying largely unproven players such as those mentioned above. The truth is that a foreign signing, who has to learn about the English game is just as risky. So I urge Premier league managers to look out for the talent and desire that is under their noses and they, and their chairmen, may be pleasantly surprised by what they unearth.
Written By Ewan Nisbet