If the UK had never been a member of the EU, many Premier League legends would never have made it into the country.
It calls into focus everything from opportunities for home-grown players to the league’s status as the ‘best in the world’.
Freedom of movement between member nations has allowed the easy flow of players between clubs across Europe. With Brexit imminent, all that is going to change. It is unknown how that will impact clubs in the future, but you get some idea by looking at some of the European Premier League legends who have graced the league.
When an unknown N’Golo Kante arrived in the Premier League for soon to be champions Leicester City he had 0 France caps to his name and was an unknown quantity in the world of football. But, he shone in Leicester’s title winning side and was an integral part of his one year with the Foxes. He then received a big money move to Chelsea, won PFA Player of the Year and won back to back Premier League titles for the first time since 2009. His second season at Chelsea was more frustrating, but he would soon make up for it becoming a crucial part of France’s World Cup triumph in Russia along with other Premier League stars Paul Pogba and Hugo Lloris.
But if Brexit had happened sooner Kante would’ve been denied a work permit having not played enough international games for him to be allowed in the country. This therefore would’ve resulted in the Leicester City fairytale never happening!
Undoubtably one of the most recognisable names in, not just football but, the world. Cristiano Ronaldo came to Manchester United as a young talent whos career had barely begun. During his time at the English giants he was successful in winning; 3 Premier Leagues, an FA Cup, 2 League Cups and a Champions League along with his first of 5 Balon d’ors. He then endured further success at Real Madrid winning; 4 more Balon d’ors, 2 La Ligas, 4 Champions Leagues and 2 Copa de Reys. He has accomplished success on the international stage as well by being the driving force in Portugal’s Euro 2016 win over France, despite getting injured in the final. He is currently at Juventus where he has most recently won the Suppercoppa Italiana.
However, if Brexit were to be in place when he first joined Manchester United he could’ve had a completely different career, and we may never have seen one of the greatest players of all time.
Cantona’s career would certainly have been different if Leeds United hadn’t come calling for the unknown French forward. He was vital to Leeds’ First Division title in the 91/92 season. However he was even more instrumental in the success of Manchester United. After not winning a title for over 20 years he immediately became the top scorer in the division, as Manchester United coasted to the title. He was with the English giants for 5 years becoming the captain in the last year and won another 3 Premier Leagues as well as 2 FA Cups, despite being suspended for 9 months for kung fu kicking a fan.
However, if Cantona never came for Brexit reasons. Leeds and Manchester United wouldn’t have won their respective titles and no one would’ve been able to see the Frenchman’s extraordinary ability in England. This could’ve meant that Manchester United may not be the European megabrand they’ve become becasuse through Cantona they achieved success so valuable for the club’s future. Meaning we may never have seen Manchester United as European champions or even as a sporting name we know worldwide.
Cesc’s career in England began way before most professionals, as a 15 year old from Barcelona’s prestigious La Masia. He would make his debut in 2003 against Rotherham United becoming Arsenal’s youngest player at 16 years 5 months and 24 days. He found a way into the team through Patrick Viera’s departure to Juventus where he struggled at first, but he adapted to his role the season after, and went on to make 144 appearances in the league before swapping London for his beloved Barcelona, in a fee of €29million plus €5million add ons. In La Liga he struggled and proceeded to vent his frustrations at manager Pep Guardiola and after their final game of the season loss to Atletico Madrid handing them the title he felt as though he needed to return to England. His choice was Chelsea, with Arsenal fans not taking his decision great, with one of their most loved players signing for one of their most hated rivals. He won 2 Premier Leagues, 1 League Cup and 1 FA Cup with Chelsea before signing for Monaco in Ligue 1.
So without the EU Cesc wouldn’t of been able to get his big opportunity in England in the first place and could’ve continued his development at Barcelona or even get released from the club. If his development had of continued who knows, he could’ve fitted in with the system but with competition from Iniesta, Sergio and Xavi it wouldve been difficult or if worst cam to worst he could’ve been released from the club all together living a life outside of football completely.
An ever-present in Manchester City’s defence. Kompany has been there before the financial take over from Shikh Mansour and has seen it all on City’s incredible rise, the captain of the club he came to the club as a young centre back with bags of potential from Hamburg in Germany. Winning 3 Premier Leagues, 1 FA Cup and 3 League Cups. The centre back had established himself as one of the world’s best centre backs through Manchester City’s journey to the top. However most player’s who are predicted to go to the top generally fall one way or another. This could’ve been the same with Kompany and he could’ve ended being a mediocre footballer who was never given a chance if he hadn’t of joined Manchester City’s project.
So if Brexit had been put in place before, it’s obvious that we would’ve missed out on world class talent which in some cases could’ve affected the way we look at football now. Also, the Premier League is now in danger of losingits tag of the best league in the world, as you need to have played 30% of games last year for your country who have qualified for an international tournament and if you haven’t qualified you’ll need to have played 45% of games. This will be hard as the Premier League currently can choose between world class players, British players and European players, but soon they’ll only be able to choose between World Class players and British players. Some players from Britain are very good, however they aren’t as good as some European players meaning we will have to get more British players and less European players affecting the quality of the league.