The Player Development Crisis in the EPL

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In February, the English Premier League announced a historic $7.9 billion TV deal. On its face, the thing is a little obscene. It was a 70 percent increase over the previous deal, and it promised an even heftier bundle of cash for Championship teams lucky enough to survive the lower-tier gauntlet and step into the moneyed sunshine of the English top rung. The league’s last place team will receive $152 million annually. The winner? A cool $240 million. Or, in other words, nearly the entire sum of Alex Rodriguez’s decade-long contract with the Yankees, the richest in baseball history. For one team. In one season.

The benefits of the cash grab were immediately obvious. More money, more resources, more opportunity. In addition to the ability to simply buy better players, there was the idea that teams will inevitably have a deeper pool in which to allow their prospects to swim. Wider scouting networks, bigger academies, more homegrowns.


That, however, is conventional wisdom. Not practical wisdom. The Premier League is going to get worse at developing its own superstars before it gets better. Have a look.

EPL Player Development
EPL Player Development


What I want you to see in this breakdown of how each Premier League appropriates its homegrown players is where the split comes. The league’s four most homegrown-heavy teams, in order: Burnley, QPR, Leicester, Aston Villa. The first three of those teams are currently in the relegation zone, and Aston Villa is just three points clear with eight matches left in the season.

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