By “Doing a Dortmund”, I mean a club creating an incredibly formidable team through the combination of shrewd purchases and a fantastic youth set up. There were three English teams, arguably four – Everton, West Ham, Southampton and Leeds United who were so close to achieving this but it was snatched from them by the destroyer of grass-roots football: Unsustainable spending. I appreciate that the inclusion of Leeds United may appear controversial after their financial dealings a few years ago but I feel there are sufficient grounds for all four teams to curse the influx of foreign millions into the Division.

Dortmund’s transfer record and youth squad graduates is absolutely astounding, and the fact they were able to hang on to their youth graduates is at the heart of why in recent years they have slowly become one of the best teams in Europe. A short list of players who fall into the category of youth graduates at Borussia Dortmund is below:

– Mario Gotze

– Kevin GroBkreutz

– Marco Reus

– Nuri Sahin

– Marcel Schmelzer

In those five players, there is already a world class midfield and a versatile yet reliable fullback. Now let’s consider their transfer activity since 2002/03. The net spend is – £6,620,000 from season 2002/03 right through to 2012/13 and therefore includes the sale of Gotze plus the subsequent signings after his departure. If however we ignore this fact and add to the list Dortmund’s best signing, the reason for their success becomes clearer. Players who played a significant role in BVB’s most recent title victory and European Final are below along with their transfer fee:

  • Weidenfeller (GK) Free transfer.
  • Lewandowski (ST) £4,100,000
  • Gundogan (CM) £4,800,000
  • Ivan Perisic (Winger) £4,800,000
  • Kagawa (CM/CAM) £300,000
  • Sven Bender (CM/CDM) £1,200,000
  • Mats Hummels (CB) £3,600,000
  • Felipe Santana (FB) £1,700,000
  • Neven Subotic (CB) £3,960,000
  • Jakub Blaszcykowski (Winger) £2,600,000
  • Mladen Petric (Midfielder) £3,080,000

All those listed above, plus the youth graduates won the title with BVB in the 2011/12 season and the two players highlighted in bold have since left the club. Dortmund had somehow managed to prevent their most exciting prospects of their own academy as well as the shrewd purchases above from being poached by managers wielding a blank cheque and thus they lifted the German First Division title. The following season however, after losing Kagawa and Perisic they lost the title to Die Bayern. The team was also thwarted by Die Bayern in the final of the Champions League in same season, but surely losing only two players did not cause such a change in fortunes?

Well only partly, because following Die Bayern’s rare title defeat at the hand of BVB they spent a staggering £62,000,000 on new players. In effect had Bayern Munich not had an arguably unsustainable transfer budget then it is not unreasonable to conclude that Borussia Dortmund’s title victory was to be their first of many in the following years, at least Dortmund have put themselves in a financial position to challenge this level of spending due to frugality and nurturing home talent.

What we can draw from this, is that future success or the potential for future success at a club which had done things the “right way” may be cut short due to an excess of wealth and sadly this occurrence has become prevalent in the English game.

Whilst Moyes was at Everton, the club had begun to develop the ideal combination as stated above of excellent youth graduates alongside shrewd purchases.Everton_FC_on_the_A580_by_andreasandrews

We shall begin in the same way we did with Dortmund, by listing notable youth graduates at the Academy in recent years:

  • Wayne Rooney
  • Leighton Baines
  • Tony Hibbert
  • Leon Osman
  • Ross Barkley
  • Joey Barton
  • Victor Anichebe
  • Richard Dunne
  • Jack Rodwell

Everton also made some exceptionally good purchases under Moyes, and whilst their transfer record is perhaps not as impressive as Dortmund’s (few are) it is certainly something to admire. Excluding this coming season, since 2002/03 Everton had a Net Transfer spend of – £2,002,000. Their best purchases are listed below:

  • Tim Cahill (CAM/ST) £1,900,000
  • Mikel Arteta (CAM/CM) Free Transfer
  • Steven Pienaar (Winger) £440,000
  • Seamus Coleman (FB/Winger) £60,000
  • Darron Gibson (CM) £500,000
  • Phil Jagielka (CB) £5,200,000
  • Joleon Lescott (CB) £5,700,000
  • Thomas Gravesen (CM) Unknown

If we consider an Everton team with all of these players it is rather an impressive sight. Baines is touted by Everton fans as being the best left-back in the world and when you consider the stats it is difficult to deny. The season Jagielka and Lescott were partnered together, Everton had the best defensive record in the Premier League. Tony Hibbert might not be the most skilful of Full Backs but he is solid and reasonably reliable.

I could go on but the final Everton player to analyse is academy product Wayne Rooney. That man can play anywhere, Moyes once said himself that Rooney was so good in all positions it was difficult to decide where to put him. Had Everton kept him alongside all the other names listed, you can only help but feel that this squad would be formidable even by today’s standards, if a little small.

Joleon Lescott, Thomas Gravesen, Jack Rodwell, Wayne Rooney and Mikel Arteta were all quite frankly poached. If perhaps the Toffees had escaped the clutches of Manchester City, Arsenal and Real Madrid then things may been very different for the club, particularly so if you consider the possibility that what if foreign millions had not invaded the league.

This year Everton finished 6th, two teams above them are Manchester City and Chelsea and the recent success of both clubs rests on the unsustainable spending of their respective owners. There is a possibility therefore, that Everton would have qualified for the Champions League without this spending.

I’m not saying that the Club was destined to win everything for the next ten years and obviously Everton’s financial position hardly helped them fend off the big spenders, but I believe the club suffered rather than profited from the departures above.

West Ham and Leeds United both had fantastic youth graduates, are overall they produced better players than Everton. Former West Ham youngsters are as follows:

  • Michael Carrick
  • Rio Ferdinand
  • Anton Ferdinand
  • Glen Johnson
  • Frank Lampard
  • Jermaine Defoe
  • Mark Noble
  • Jack Collison
  • James Tomkins

There are some very big names there, only three remain at the club. As stated it is a similar picture at Leeds. Former Leeds players are as follows:

  • Aaron Lennon
  • James Milner
  • Paul Robinson
  • Scott Carson
  • Jonathan Woodgate
  • Harry Kewell

Some very impressive products here too and in fact when you add the products from the Everton, West Ham and Leeds United academy you realise how much of an impact these three clubs have had on English football:

  • Wayne Rooney
  • Leighton Baines
  • Leon Osman
  • Joey Barton
  • Jack Rodwell
  • Aaron Lennon
  • James Milner
  • Scott Carson
  • Paul Robinson
  • Jonathan Woodgate
  • Michael Carrick
  • Rio Ferdinand
  • Glen Johnson
  • Jermaine Defoe
  • Frank Lampard

Only two of these players play for the teams where they were once a youth player. My point is, if these clubs had not fallen victim to what can only be described as frightening rates of spending by other clubs not only would their teams most likely be stronger and the clubs larger but also the face of English football would be changed forever.

The sudden influx of foreign millions has had an incalculable impact on the Premier League and these clubs have been the losers. We owe these teams a great deal in terms of national players, so next time when you dismiss Everton as being the “second team in Liverpool” or West Ham the “small London Club” and “fallen from grace” Leeds – Think. They could have easily “Done a Dortmund” and have nearly single handedly found the talent that makes up the England team.

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