Belfast Telegraph

Lower league clubs need to keep it real over transfers

By Frank Brownlow

As the Premier League's big guns prepare to unveil their late transfer window captures this weekend, some clubs lower down the food chain should be kicking themselves.

In the days before the all-consuming Premier League, top flight English clubs would regularly raid the lower divisions for unpolished diamonds, the arrivals of Kevin Keegan and later Ian Rush at Liverpool, from Scunthorpe United and Chester City respectively, being classic examples.

Nowadays Premier League sides look abroad for new talent – and who can blame them.

When the big clubs do show interest in a lower league player, his club invariably slaps a crazy transfer fee on his head, meaning it is often cheaper for the buyer to look abroad and bring in an established international star. Many smaller clubs are cutting their own throats by attempting to hold Premier League sides to ransom.

For example, Aston Villa were reportedly quoted almost £10m by Ipswich Town for 23-year-old Aaron Cresswell, a talented English defender but unproven at the top level.

Cresswell has only a couple of years of Championship experience after joining Ipswich from League One side Tranmere Rovers. Compare that with Villa's £7m capture of Christian Benteke or Swansea's £2m signing of Michu.

Football League clubs are absolutely right to seek as much as possible for their saleable assets – but let's keep it real.

Belfast Telegraph

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