James Reade over at the International Journal of Sports Finance rebuts the concept of ‘player loyalty’ in the EPL & other sports leagues:
Of course, these are standard harking-back-to-a-mythical-golden-age type arguments. Back in these days, pre-1992, and maybe even pre-1960s, players really didn’t have much choice – their clubs held their registrations and a lot of power over them. Additionally, pre-Sky there was not a lot of money in the game. So: Players can’t move easily, and there isn’t much money about for them to want to either. Surprise, surprise, nobody moves anywhere. There’s this false sheen of loyalty, but of course it’s fake, it’s just agents responding to incentives.
Incentives are an amazing thing. They are typically disguised, and sometimes lauded, yet they are the power that moves everything in our world.