The sight of young, unproven players on thousands a week certanly jarrs, but Savage says there’s not much that can be done to change an inconsistent system.
Robbie Savage has told The Mirror that he believes introducing a wage cap for academy players may not be the most effective way of ensuring young talents remain hungry to succeed.
The argument that footballers in England are hugely overpaid has reared its head consistently in recent years with many arguing that the players lack the desire to perform due to the safety net of their multi-million pound salaries.
Furthermore, there are a number of recent incidents concerning academy players demanding huge wages from their clubs before proving that they could make the grade in the first-team.
Famously, former Manchester United youngster Zeki Fryers departed Old Trafford in 2012 after feeling ‘disrespected’ by the club’s offer of £1,500-per-week, according to the Daily Mail. The now-24-year-old left-back (below) has made just nine Premier League appearances in the proceeding four years for Tottenham and Crystal Palace.
Meanwhile, The Sun reported earlier this year that promising Chelsea striker Dominic Solanke faced being frozen out by the four-time Premier League champions after demanding a weekly wage of £50,000 despite having made just one substitute appearance for the club.
Consequently, Liverpool received huge praise after introducing a £40,000-a-year wage cap for players in their academy but Savage believes the system is open to manipulation unless it is accepted by all clubs.
“If Liverpool had youngsters as good as [Steven] Gerrard (below) or [Jamie] Carragher coming through the youth system now, they would have to make exceptions for them and break any salary cap for academy players,” the former Wales international told The Mirror.
“If you were 18 and you had the choice of earning £40,000 a year at Liverpool or £800,000 a year at another big club – like Chelsea, who have put teenagers on massive wages recently – what would you do?”
“You would need an incredibly strong emotional attachment to your local club to forsake that kind of money.”
While drastic action must be taken to ensure young players focus on their on-pitch duties rather than their bank balance, Savage’s point emphasises the inequalities in the modern game and how money has become a vice that has ruined many a promising career.