Are the Premier League's elite struggling to attract the best players?

Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have so far failed to acquire top targets, who have headed for Germany or France instead.

So far this month the transfer market has been a buzz of activity but few of the best players in the world have arrived at English club just yet and I’m starting to wonder whether they ever will.

Who are the best players around at the moment, then, I hear you ask? Well, obviously there’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Easy. There’s Gareth Bale who obviously is already here with Tottenham. Neymar and Mario Gotze who have just arrived in La Liga and moved within the Bundesliga respectively.

Then you have the big name strikers: Radamel Falcao (just signed for AS Monaco), Robert Lewandowski (arguing over his future with Borussia Dortmund), Stevan Jovetic (still at Fiorentina) Edinson Cavani (signing for PSG) and obvious Luis Suarez who apparently wants to quit England but bizarrely hasn’t ruled out London just yet.

In terms of the top youngsters coming through obviously there’s Thiago Alcantara (just signed for Bayern Munich) and Isco (just signed for Real Madrid).

So far the top teams in the Premier League have missed out on pretty much every player who was considered a top target with the exception of Chelsea signing Andre Schurrle who, in the grand scheme of things is a quality forward but, at 22 is not quite there yet, in my opinion.

Manchester United were chasing Thiago as well as James Rodriguez who signed for AS Monaco and they are reportedly tying up a deal for Ezequiel Garay at present who would represent a quality signing but, I’m afraid, still not one of the best in the world.

Manchester City have brought in Fernandinho and Jesus Navas and whilst the pair are, again, fantastic and talented and undoubtedly will improve the squad, neither of them gets regular starts for either Brazil or Spain and both are considered, effectively, B-rate players at international level.

City were hoping to get their hands on Edinson Cavani but he’s just agreed a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for €63 million. They were also chasing AC Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy one of the most highly rated youngsters in Italy but the player would rather remain in Serie A. They were also chasing Manuel Pellegrini’s former protégé at Malaga but Isco instead preferred to remain in La Liga and signed for Real Madrid.

Chelsea were also in for Cavani, according to reports, as well as early interest in Neymar and Falcao. They just re-acquired the services of one of the best managers in the game in Jose Mourinho and yet they’ve still only managed to attract one relatively big name in Schurrle who, in reality, was only really a big name in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen.

Arsenal and Tottenham weren’t really in the mix for any of the most coveted big names – Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez (as well as Wayne Rooney) seem to be the Gunners’ best bets but there seems to be little or no movement on those ‘deals’.

Tottenham were chasing David Villa (formerly a world-class player but certainly on his way down hill now) but he opted to make a domestic move in La Liga from Barcelona to Athletico Madrid. Spurs were also desperately wanting Joao Moutinho but he followed his teammate Rodriguez from Porto to Monaco.

Beneath them, Liverpool and Everton have made decent acquisitions but, like their top-four counterparts, none of the signings so far can be considered top players in that top bracket of quality (or finance).

Whilst it still remains to be seen where Lewandowski will end up (although the player seems to be leaning towards Bayern Munich) and Stevan Jovetic end up, the Premier League has so far this summer not been able to attract the best talent available on the continental and global market.

Super rich French outfits PSG and Monaco have taken a number of the big stars and, whilst it would be easy to point to their financial muscle, City and Chelsea can compete with them financially, even if no one else can at present.

The Premier League can still boast the likes of Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale along with Juan Mata, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Vincent Kompany but if this trend continues, by the start of the new season we may find that the Premier League does not match La Liga, the Bundesliga and even Ligue 1 for quality which does not exactly bode well for the future of English teams in the Champions League and, furthermore, England in the World Cup next year.

To be the best you have to beat the best but that becomes unlikely when they don’t play as your opposition on a regular basis. Are we heading for a top world-class quality drought in England? So far, it would seem so.

image: © (Mick Baker)rooster

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