THERE ARE NO FACTS or statistics that would suggest the English Premier League is the biggest and best competition in world football. However, when you look at how many world class players grace the lush green pitches around the UK on a weekly basis, and the fact that five English teams secured Champions League qualification for the first time in European football history, it’s a question that shouldn’t be ignored.
With everything that goes on in English football, could the Premier League really be the best league in the world?
With Premier League odds of 5000/1 and more with some bookies such as Bet Victor, Leicester pipped the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham to the title in the 2015/16 season. The Premier League is full of surprises on a weekly basis, but Leicester winning the league in the fashion they did is one of the biggest surprises in world football.
Granted, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and co weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders, but you can’t take anything away from Leicester. It just shows how competitive football is in the UK, and another title-winning surprise could well be around the corner. That’s what makes the Premier League so special. In Spain, one of two teams – maybe three – are going to win the league. In the UK, any one of 20 teams have a chance of spoiling the party.
Business minded individuals are already seeing the benefits of investing heavily in Premier League teams. This has ultimately led to more investors gaining interest in football without having any previous interest or love of the game. While Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea already have billionaire owners, many of the smaller teams are being snapped up by investors. This has increased competitiveness once again in the Premier League and it’s making it more and more exciting.
Players like Park Ji-Sung, who had a cracking career with Manchester United, have already increased exposure in countries like South Korea. We all know clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United do their pre-season tours in the United States and Asian countries, and that’s for good reason. The tours are helping to increase Premier League brand exposure and while other leagues are lacking, the Premier League is set to flourish once more.
With more and more players not only getting signed by the top teams but also getting scouted, it’s putting the EPL firmly on the map before LaLiga and the Bundesliga. Of course, foreign players aren’t only helping the Premier League in that way, the majority of them are also world-class players that are adding to the entertainment on a weekly basis.
If we go back 10 or so years ago you could almost guarantee a win for Arsenal against another team like Burnley – you would put your house on it. The game has been turned on its head in recent years, though, and the lower teams seem to up their performances against the top six.
We’ve already witnessed players like Marcus Rashford come through the Manchester United ranks to land himself a starting birth with the Red Devils. We’ve also seen players like Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek following suit. It just shows how English youth development is thriving over the last few years and it’s expected to get even better with more clubs realising how youth setups are benefitting them.
Not only does youth development save clubs money instead of dipping their hands in their pockets for new player purchases, but it also gives them a chance to sell youth players for a reasonable return in the future. Teams like Southampton are one of the best in the league when it comes to youth development. Manchester City owners are now piling loads of money into their youth and lady’s setups to increase exposure and compete at all levels. With hundreds of academies now available around the UK, it means the Premier League is having an easier job of dealing with LaLiga and Serie A at a competitive level.
We’ve already been blessed with some of the best managers in the world in the last couple of decades. However, in the last couple of seasons, Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp have all been excellent foreign managers who are rebuilding the reputation of the Premier League. Word on the street is the likes of Diego Simone and Joachim Löw could be joining very soon should their stints at Atlético Madrid and Germany respectively not work out.
Yes, La Liga has access to players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but it’s not looking likely they’ll be retaining their entertainment packages for much longer. Ronaldo looks like he’s getting fed up with Spain, whereas Messi doesn’t like the fact Barcelona got rid of teammate Neymar. Of course, many world class players still reside in leagues like LaLiga, but most of them are going to France or England these days because of the monetary power behind these clubs. As soon as the other leagues start struggling to attract new talent, it’s only going to increase the reputation of the Premier League even further.
If the Premier League can continue to attract the top talent in terms of players and managers, other leagues carry on struggling, and youth development carries on going in the way it is, there’s no reason why it won’t be head and shoulders above the others leagues in the near future.