Foreign Players, The Premier League and English Football – An Infographic Investigation

Graph 1 – Comparing the average number of foreign players to the average squad size of the Premier League

Undoubtedly it is true that the number of foreign players in the Premier League has increased dramatically since it’s inception in 1993. However this is only one part of a bigger picture. What is rarely mentioned is that the average side of Premier League squads has also grown. What the big clubs have realised is that to compete for the big prizes that English and European competitions offer, a larger size squad of quality players is a necessity.

And this can be seen in the graph. In the early seasons of the Premiership, the average squad size was around 28-30 players. As the seasons progressed and incentives for success increased so did squad sizes. The last five seasons have seen the average squad size even out around the 34-36 player mark.

With the increase in squad sizes came an increase in foreign players in the league. A steady increase, it must be said. With the odd exception of the 97/98 season, which saw an increase of 2.45 players per team, the average increase of foreign players never topped 1.5 per team. Indeed, the increase peaked in 08/09 with, on average, 15.5 foreign players in each squad.

Since then, the average number of foreign squad players has plateaued and has increased and decreased each season staying around the 14-15 player mark. This apparent evening-out of foreign talent surely brings into question the very recent protestations against foreign imports .

Read on…


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