The transfer season is amongst us. While the first few weeks is primarily composed of rumours of transfers flying around, English heavyweights Manchester United and Liverpool have made the first forays into the transfer market. The one unifying line of thought that connects both transfers is the emphasis on developing young English talent. Manchester United have moved to reinforce their defence with the purchase of Phil Jones from Blackburn while Liverpool have splurged around £20 million to secure the services of Jordan Henderson.
Phil Jones had his breakthrough year in the 2009-2010 season at Ewood Park quickly becoming a regular fixture in the Blackburn side of Sam Allardyce with some convincing performances. However his recent struggles with injuries have seen his role reduced at Blackburn. He is expected to partner Manchester United’s Chris Smalling in the center of defence for England U-21’s this summer in the upcoming U-21’s European Championship. This seems to be sound business by United and the £16 million (£4 million more than what was spent on Smalling) is a small price to pay to secure the services of a possible future English center back pairing. Ferguson is known to be great with youngsters and Jones would be relishing the chance to work with SAF.
On the other hand, Liverpool have kept their recent trend of splashing the cash with an eye catching purchase of Jordan Henderson. A midfielder who can be described as an ‘uncut diamond’, Henderson was one of the crown jewels of the Sunderland side last year. His eye catching performances even saw Capello hand the 20 year old his first international cap last year against France. He amongst the likes of Wilshere and MacEachran are considered as some of England’s brightest prospects. Liverpool sorely missed the services of a creative midfielder to replace Gerrard last season when Gerrard was injured. His signing gives them a cover for Gerrard and suddenly the spine of the team composed of Reina – Carrager, Skrtel – Meireles, Henderson, Gerrard – Suarez, Caroll seems very very frightenting.
Though both players’ quality cannot be doubted, one cannot begin to wonder if the prices commanded by these young English prospects can be justified. On one hand they ensure that clubs meet their requirements for home grown English players but for a premium. Andy Carroll for £35 million and Suarez for £17 million?? It sounds more than a bit off, doesn’t it?