Why do footballers like playing and living in London

London is one of the world’s premier cities, with many harboring dreams of being able to live in the English capital, especially in the western quadrant.

West London has always been a popular attraction for so many because of its association with class and wealth. Locations like Chelsea, Mayfair, Notting Hill, and Soho are often seen as being vibrant parts of the capital, whether it be for their entertainment industries, the landmarks they have, or even just because of the wealth and poshness of the place.

The city is renowned for its versatility and what it can offer. There are several different forms of entertainment and nightlife to keep people happy. At the same time, there are various landmarks and visitor attractions that can even keep the locals and those who live in one of the many boroughs that form the area occupied. In addition to many other top cities, London is also very accessible as there are various transport links available, including several airports that are just a short ride away.

Footballers are among those who aspire to be able to live in the capital, with many often looking to try and make the move to a football club that is located in or around London. The Premier League has no shortage of options for those who are good enough, with the 2023/24 season boasting no fewer than seven clubs – Arsenal, Brentford, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United.

While the top tier is the destination that many aim for, there is also plenty of choice when looking at the rest of the Football League. There are six more that are in the capital, with two in each of the Championship (Millwall and Queens Park Rangers), League One (Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient), and League Two (AFC Wimbledon and Sutton United). There are teams at every level in close proximity to the capital, too.

Why are so many footballers attracted to playing in London?

London has become a premier hotspot for a variety of reasons for footballers, with many enjoying the numerous advantages that have already been outlined by non-footballing reasons. For players from a foreign country, it can potentially give them a better chance of settling in and adjusting to a new culture than smaller cities or other big locations in the UK. Some may even prefer that it is warmer in the south of the country than it is in the north.

However, footballing reasons will often be a deciding factor for many of the top professionals, especially if they attract interest from clubs in this region. Most of the top teams from the city are global entities and regularly play competitive football. It’s not often that a team from London isn’t involved in European competition, with many of them being well-backed by passionate fan bases. Players want to play for the best teams, and they want to be supported by as many fans as possible.

In addition, if a player plays for a London-based Premier League side, they will not have to do too much travelling due to the number of clubs in the region. As mentioned, there are seven teams in the 2023/24 season, and this would mean that of six away trips to be played of the 19, almost a third of them would be a relatively short distance.

As highlighted by data provided based on the 2018/19 Premier League season, players who play for London clubs generally travel the shortest distance on average for away games. At the other end of the scale, players who play for Newcastle United would have to cover a greater average distance for their games on the road, as there isn’t a team near them.

Are there players who have shown an obvious preference to play in London?

There have been many examples in the past where footballers have remained in London when moving clubs, despite the possibility of potentially moving on and going elsewhere.

In terms of West London, there have been some that have made the short trip from one club to another in the same quadrant, while many more have stayed where they are situated and have commuted across the city to their new clubs.

Players to have made the move from West London-based clubs and stayed local can involve Willian (who went from Chelsea to Fulham via Arsenal and Corinthians), Damien Duff, Scott Parker, and Andre Schurrle (from Chelsea to Fulham), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham to Chelsea), and the likes of Petr Cech, William Gallas, David Luiz, Jorginho, and Kai Havertz (Chelsea to Arsenal).

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