British-based players flee during window

British clubs were hit by an increase in the number of players fleeing to teams abroad during the January transfer window, according to analysis by Currencies Direct.

They claim that the number of incoming transfers to the UK slumped from 47 in the 2008 January transfer window to 25 in 2009. And despite a record-breaking amount of around £160m spent by Premier League clubs on players in January, the number of total transfers fell dramatically from 428 to 295, while the number of British-based players snapped up by clubs abroad increased considerably.

Portsmouth's Lassana Diarra and West Ham's Julien Faubert both sealed moves to Spanish giants Real Madrid, while Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Derbyshire also sought pastures new away from the UK, joining Greek giants Olimpiakos on loan.

“The pound’s slump had an impact on transfer deals in January with the top European clubs using their currency advantage to snap up British-based targets at bargain basement prices, particularly from clubs who are suffering from the effects of the financial crash,” said Ignacio Hernandez, managing director of Currencies Direct. “With footballers working out that they can earn a lot more, in sterling terms, by playing in La Liga or Serie A, the chances of them having their heads turned by an agent for one of the Continent’s top clubs will certainly increase.” Incoming transfers to the UK slumped from 76 percent to 58 percent from last year's winter transfer window, while outgoing transfers almost doubled. However, Hernandez feels the struggling British economic situation could prove to have a positive outcome for the development of young English players. “There are two ways of looking at this story. One side, which could be a blessing in disguise for the likes of Trevor Brooking and the FA, will encourage more and more clubs to invest in home-grown talent so that they avoid having to pay inflated transfer fees and salaries for young foreign stars,” he said. “On the other side, British clubs will need to protect themselves from currency fluctuations and cash-rich foreign predators. With the Premiership’s elite looking to the Continent and few new stars arriving, suffering clubs must make sure they continue to entertain the fans.” Analysis based on transfers in and out of the UK from the Premier League, Football League, Conference Premier, Scottish Premier League and Football League and Welsh Premier League.