Premier League's position as football's focal point is more vulnerable than it has ever been

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has recently been in talks with LA Galaxy, discussing a move to the United States in the summer. Although he is heading towards the end of his career, the Manchester United frontman is still one of the best strikers in the Premier League, currently the fifth top scorer.


With China also now joining the growing group of countries competing for the world's best players, the privileged position of Europe hosting football’s elite is under threat.

The Premier League is widely considered to be the most competitive league in the world (perhaps more due to its standardised mediocrity than its superior quality), and as a result has attracted high calibre players for decades.

Its clubs have always acted as a dominant force in the transfer market, ever since Willie Groves’ £100 transfer from West Brom to Aston Villa in 1893. With an increasing number of players departing for more traditionally obscure footballing nations, the first division of English football is in danger of losing its most prestigious talent.

An apocalyptic exodus is still many years away, however with players such as Oscar, Ibrahimovic and Hulk departing Europe's top leagues, salivating over the pay cheques waiting for them overseas, the steady stream has been established.

English clubs cannot currently compete with the exorbitant wages being paid abroad, and will have to reach further into their pockets to persuade many players to stay. However, a large proportion of owners come from abroad themselves (Chelsea's owner is from Russia, Man City's from the UAE, Liverpool's from the USA), and it may soon become apparent that the big money can be made in their home countries, rather than by funding an English club.

It may not be long before money triumphs over reputation. When this moment comes, the Premier League may no longer be the best league in the world. An international club league may be the most advisable option to combine the interests of major teams worldwide.

It is easy to dismiss English football’s failure to keep up with China and America on the basis that the football tradition is ingrained in our culture, whereas their footballing interest is relatively new.

The oldest club in England, Notts County, was set up in 1862, whereas China's longest running team, Beijing Guoan, was founded as recently as 1955. However, as much as a culture is important, with a rapidly globalising world these traditions can break national confines and become a global culture. This is what has happened to football. It is no longer a European or a South American game, it is a sport that is broadcast and played on every continent. China's ambition is to win the world cup by 2050. At the current rate of development in the East, this seems possible.

It is undisputed that money can change a brand permanently, for better or worse. As unromantic as it may seem, football is just one of these big brands, with commodities that can be bought and consumed, and, with enough funding, equally malleable.

Even though the Premier League is the largest group in this global market, it is not immune to being reduced in stature by financially superior competition. With referees, managers and players frequently jetting off elsewhere, England must be on high alert. Its position as football's focal point is more vulnerable than it has ever been.

Joshua Korber Hoffman is a 16-year-old football fanatic and Arsenal supporter. He writes a football blog called The Young Gun, in which his love for writing and the beautiful game intersect

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