Footballers, or the ones who have the ability to break out of their comfort zone and become stars, are a rare breed.
As a result, the vast majority of players who go on to have a big impact in a club’s history are from one of the few elite nations in the world.
So why are so many players from the UK not on the radar of major clubs?
The answer is the cost.
According to figures released by the World Football Association, players from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and England cost clubs around £8.8 million a year.
That’s a significant chunk of the £1.9 billion they earn in Europe.
While that’s more than enough to ensure the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham keep their best players, it doesn’t take into account the costs of coaching, recruitment, medical staff and the other things that come with being an elite footballer.
A typical £8 million transfer fee is equivalent to £4.7 million in wages and wages are a key part of any footballer’s package.
And with the Premier League on the rise, players will increasingly be spending that money on their wages.
In the last two years alone, there have been more than 2,500 players signed in the top flight from outside the UK, according to figures from Sky Sports.
That number is set to grow by more than 400 per cent by the end of the decade.
What makes this all even more frustrating is that it’s only a matter of time before the cost of getting a player to your club increases by around £50,000.
It’s the perfect storm of cost, money and pressure.
The Premier League’s own calculations show that if every new player signing were to cost around £1 million, it would equate to £2.6 billion.
It might sound like a lot of money, but that’s only if you include the wages paid to players from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But as we’ve previously written, that’s a huge discount for a player from such a small nation.
The average salary of a player in England is around £80,000, while the average wage in Wales is £60,000 according to Football Leagues Association figures.
In Scotland, the average salary is around $150,000 and in Northern Ireland it’s around $110,000 a year, according the FFA.
The most popular players in England are the likes the Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck and Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez, who both earn around £200,000 per week.
Even if you add in the fees of players like Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Manchester City’s Alvaro Negredo, who also make over £200k per week, the total cost of signing a player rises to £1 billion.
That doesn’t even take into consideration the wages of coaches, players, media, stadium management and so on.
It would take a staggering £25 billion to make the average Premier League footballer’s wages match that of a top class international.
To make matters worse, the Premier Leagues rules mean that players who have reached the age of 30 are ineligible for the Premier leagues salary cap.
If a player is on the books of a Premier League club for more than five years, they are no longer eligible to play in that club’s senior team.
So if a player were to leave a Premier league club at the age the club were to start the season at 18, they could only be eligible to return to the senior squad if they’d already made a transfer to another Premier league team.
That means, for example, the likes, Eden Hazard and Harry Kane, could only return to Chelsea at the end to be part of their first-team squad.
Even when a player’s age is no longer a factor, they still have to pay £25,000 to join another Premier League team and then £100,000 each season until they reach 40.
That could mean that a player could be earning a staggering sum of money every season just for playing in the Premier league.
This is what makes it hard for clubs to sign new players.
Clubs are looking to recoup as much of the money they’ve spent on their new signings as possible, and it means that they’re spending more on salaries, so they can recoup some of that money in the transfer market.
It can be argued that clubs are not doing themselves any favours when it comes to players who leave their home country to sign for bigger clubs in Europe, as they’re likely to be paid more than the player’s current salary.
That might explain why Manchester United spent £85 million on David de Gea in the summer of 2016.
The Spanish side are now one of Europe’s best, so a fee of £25 million would have been a bargain.
But when it came to De Gea, the deal was far from a slam dunk.
Manchester United paid De Geha £42 million over three years, but the Spain international did not feature in any of their