Football transfer fees have risen exponentially since the turn of the millennium. The likes of Paolo Di Canio and Eric Cantona were available for a couple of million euros back then whereas in today's market, seemingly average players are moving clubs for tens of millions.

The players in the English League are more expensive than other overseas players.

The main reason for this is because of the home-grown rule introduced in the 2010-11 season.

The official explanation given by the Football Association (FA) is that a homegrown player is one who "irrespective of nationality or age, has been affiliated to the FA or Welsh FA for a period of three seasons of 36 months prior to their 21st birthday". A team must have eight homegrown players. So, no English team wants to get rid of their homegrown players for easy money.

The other reason why English League players are more expensive is because of the supply and demand mechanism. In England, there are lots of teams challenging for the top 6-8 positions, and most of them do not have a great youth setup nor do they have the time to develop players. This means that young proven players in the Premier League are very few. But all the top 10-12 teams in the league are chasing these English players to play for them.

Recently, we have witnessed Manchester United changing their transfer policy by signing oversees players for less money.

In January last year, it signed Portuguese midfielder Bruno, and in summer it signed Dutch sensation Donny Van De Beek.

The people at Man Utd have realised that there is better value for money in the foreign market than there is in the Premier League. They got Bruno (£47m) & De Beek (£35m) for a combined total of £82m.

Manchester United were in the race for signing Jack Grealish, but his £80m price tag was a stumbling block. Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have been using this policy for some time now. The likes of Salah, Firmino, Fabinho were all great addition foreign players for Liverpool.

Similarly, for Arsenal, Pepe, Aubameyang, Gabriel, Saliba and Lacazette were all overseas signing. All these players would have cost no less than 80 or 90 or even 100 million pounds were they from the Premier League.

This change in policy could benefit clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. They can spend less amount for better overseas players as they have their own academy that can provide the home-grown players they need.

But teams like Manchester City might still have to rely on other PL teams and spend big bucks on PL players to meet their quota of home-grown players.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 26, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.