For over a decade, there have been rumours of the English FA being open to allowing Scottish football giants Rangers and Celtic to join the English Premier League. The argument many make is that if Welsh Clubs like Swansea and Cardiff are allowed in the Premier League, why aren’t their Scottish counterparts?
This proposed expansion, if approved, will pave the way for the inclusion of Glasgow Celtic and Rangers to the English Football League. It’s been suggested that Premier League clubs might be more open to the idea if their Scottish counterparts were allowed to join from the lower leagues.
Current manager of Celtic, and former manager of Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has supported the proposal, saying the English clubs were blocking the move for fear of competition, as Celtic will be a top 6 club in England.
The honest truth is that the Celtic manager is right. The biggest barrier to the success of Scottish clubs compared to their English counterparts is the vast difference in resources. Celtic, for all their trophies and European pedigree, are dwarfed by their Southern neighbours.
This past summer, Celtic’s total summer spending was £5.02m (according to Transfermarkt), which is a pittance compared to the vast sums spent in the Premier League.
To put this in context, Hull City spent the least of all the Premier League sides this summer, and that still amounted to £17million.
The Premier League has the glitter to lure players from far and wide. Mid-table teams in the Premier League can pick and choose among the top players in Europe, including Scotland.
In fact, most of the top players in Scotland find themselves in the Premier League after 1 or 2 stellar seasons.
In the last few years, the top Scottish Premiership players like Virgil Van Dijk, Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper have swapped the colours of Celtic for mid table teams in England, mostly for the increased wages.
The players who have moved the other way, are of considerably less quality, and often from the lower leagues in England. The likes of Kolo Toure and Scott Sinclair only made a move to Celtic because the English clubs no longer wanted them.
A move to the Premier League will mean Celtic will have the means to keep their best players, and even attract quality players from across the globe. Instead of losing their best players to the likes of Norwich and Southampton, the Hoops will instead be poaching players from such clubs.
Celtic as a club have the infrastructure, and history to be a huge pull to players if they had Premier League resources. The 60,000 plus capacity Celtic Park is one of the most famous grounds in Europe. When offered competitive wages, top players prefer to play for teams with a proven history.
Ultimately, the Scottish teams staying put in their country might be a better option for everyone concerned. The marginal increase in competitiveness they will add to an already fiercely competitive English Premier League, is not worth the state it will leave the Scottish Premiership in.
Their exit might make the league more winnable for the likes of Aberdeen and Hearts, but reduce the overall quality of the league. Taking Rangers and Celtic from Scotland will be the equivalent of taking Real Madrid and Barcelona from Spain.