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Why Tevez and Torres are good for English football

February 9, 2011

I am a Manchester United fan. I remember any times that my beloved club engaged with our biggest domestic rivals in the transfer market. The occasions are so rare that I remember the deals.

I can tell you that before Carlos Tevez moved across Manchester via his third-party owners two summer ago, Terry Cooke was the last player to do it and he moved in 1999 when City were playing in the third tier of English football. Juan Sebastian Veron was the last player that went from Old Trafford to Stamford Bridge and before him; Mark Bosnich and Mark Hughes made the switch on free transfers. Mikael Silvestre went to Arsenal three years ago and before him, I think Viv Anderson was the player to make that switch and he came the other way.

Transfers between the bigger clubs just don’t happen in England on a regular basis and when they do, they are big stories. Joe Cole’s move away from Chelsea generated more headlines than it should have simply because he was speaking to Chelsea’s Championship rivals rather than looking for a move abroad.

When a star player for a top side in the Premier League has previously wanted to move to pastures new, they have had to look outside of the country; primarily because the fans wouldn’t stand for it, no matter whether the player is coming in or going out. The treachery of the departed is never forgotten the fans they leave behind. The arrived are never treated with the same love and respect; they remain dirty for their past sins no matter what they do.

Deals between the large clubs in Italy don’t carry anything close to the stigma that they do in England and happen with much more regularity. Last summer there were 13 deals done between the seven Italian clubs that qualified for European football last season. In England, there were just 3.

If deals between the biggest and best clubs in England don’t happen, it unfortunately means quality players are not retained in the Premier League and have to go elsewhere. Carlos Tevez and Fernando Torres are two of the best forwards in the world so for them to remain in England maintains a certain quality around British football. Instead of joining clubs in Italy or Spain, they remained in the Premier League and help it towards the ultimate goal of being the best league in the world.

Thanks to the moves, the door appears to have opened for big clubs to do more regular business. Earlier this week it was reported that Jose Reina could follow Torres out of Anfield this summer and amongst his desired destinations is Old Trafford, home of Manchester United.

Attitudes, of course, aren’t going to change overnight and come June, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson aren’t going to sit down and start swapping players like trading cards but the first steps have been made. If and when Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney start to look elsewhere or John Obi Mikel and Gareth Bale want a new challenge, their first thought doesn’t immediately have to be towards the continent. They may very well end up there but as long as they are considering the other Premier League clubs, it’s a good thing for the game here.

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