Comment: Absurd fee for new Manchester United signing Luke Shaw is putting English future in peril

England haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of doing anything on the world stage as long as the ridiculously over-inflated transfer market in this country stays the same.

This is not an opinion that will sit alone like a sorry tin of expired peaches on a lonely aisle at the end of a rundown supermarket.

Everyone is thinking it. £30-odd million for Luke Shaw? An 18-year-old defender? Really?

Past players Paul Scholes, Fabrice Muamba and former FA chairman David Bernstein are among those voicing their concern over the lack of actual playing time for young, up-and-coming English talent in the Premier League.

Yes Shaw is English, without doubt the future of the national setup – his World Cup inclusion prompted the experienced Ashley Cole to hang up his boots ahead of the ill-fated journey to Brazil – and after impressing at Southampton he deserves a move to the big time at United.

But in this era of over-spending, which is supposed to have been curtailed by Financial Fair Play regulations imposed by Uefa from 2013-14 onwards to limit clubs’ spending, soaring transfer fees just keep on going skywards.

The implications? English clubs look abroad, panic buys if you like, for players with a reputation, and get scant return for what they pay. Worse still, fledgling young English talents are prevented from playing in the first team, they are loaned out to lower league clubs and their careers lose momentum.

Well, they prove themselves at very, very good clubs and at an excellent level of football, but not a level, as England proved in their miserable exit from the World Cup, that is anywhere near acceptable on the world stage.

Let’s have a look at what Ryan Giggs thinks about the chance to work with Shaw at United and develop the defender into a great.

“Luke is a very talented young left-back with great potential. He has developed immensely during his time at Southampton and has all the attributes to become a top player,” says Giggs, who joined United as a teenager for the price of a bag of crisps and went on to play 963 times, winning everything in the game.

“I am delighted he has joined Manchester United as I believe this is the right club for him to continue his development as a young player and eventually fulfil that promise.”

Talk about pressure. What were you doing when you were 18? Taking exams most likely, a stress in itself, but not spending your life trying to justify an over-inflated price tag while spectators get on your case every time you make a mistake.

Poor Shaw. He could easily afford enough tape to gag every single one of his critics for the foreseeable future, but that’s not the point. With price tags imposed on players potentially on their way to becoming the next big thing comes an unfair amount of pressure. Why couldn’t he have progressed further at Southampton?

United’s desire to snap up one of the hottest prospects going so their rivals don’t tempt Shaw away from their clutches is understandable, but the whole situation is just wrong.

A look at American sports could be the answer to England’s woes and the stifling state of the transfer market.

Huge sums of money are still bandied around across the pond, though at each of the four major sports (American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey) the draft system put in place ensures the worst teams get to pick first at each sport’s annual draft, with the best teams going last.

Unlikely to happen, right? The FA’s attempt at their own sporting socialism is the ‘League three’ proposal, which was met with severe criticism in May.

So that could be a far-fetched measure too.

It’s therefore little wonder the English game is in such a dire state though with few alternatives on the horizon for how to change the game domestically, where do we go?

Scholes suggests limiting foreign players at each Premier League club, a la 1995’s Bosman ruling, controversial to say the least.

But if the disgust emanating from over-priced players and the hurt it is causing English football is worth getting het up about, surely now is the time to bring in another controversial ruling to change the face of football all over again.

As the eye-catching World War One propaganda trumpeted 100 years ago, ‘Your country needs you!’

It’s time for the Premier League and FA to step up to the plate so the players in this country have that chance in the future, rather than turning up at major tournaments as also-rans. 

Main image courtesy of England Football Official via YouTube, with thanks.

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