8Networks of Player Movements to the EPL

Our primary focus in this chapter is on the flows of players from across the globe to European leagues, especially the EPL. We examine in Section 8.1 why the EPL is such a lure for playing talent as well as the primary determinant of success at the club level.

8.1 Success in the EPL

Here, we consider the predictors of success in the EPL. As noted in Chapter 7, the EPL, by intent, reaped most of the influx of funds in England during the modern era. Evidence supporting this claim is shown in Figure 8.1. Four plots of aggregate salaries are shown, one for each league in League Football.1 These data cover the middle of the period for our core data (the first 15 seasons of the EPL). It is clear that the aggregate salaries paid in the EPL soared during this period while the other leagues lagged well behind, especially in League One and League Two. To the extent that earning higher salaries is an incentive, playing in the EPL has immense appeal for many footballers. Further, playing in the EPL is on a larger stage with the chance of playing in UEFA competitions if their clubs have a sufficiently high finish.


Figure 8.1 Salary levels in different English leagues

With clubs trying to improve their playing squads, there is considerable turnover in EPL squads: new players arrive and others depart. It is reasonable to think that acquiring and ...

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