A new report has revealed that the Premier League has the second-highest number of imported players of any top-flight league in 31 European countries studied.
The survey, carried out by the Centre International d'Etude du Sport (CIES), showed that only Cyprus has more overseas players in its domestic game.
Its findings underline the scale of the challenge faced by the FA, whose chairman Greg Dyke has set up a commission intended to find ways to increase the number of homegrown players in the English top flight.
The figures show that 60.4 percent of players in the Premier League are from overseas, with the trend mirrored, albeit to a lesser extent, in Italy -- where 89 percent of the players in the Inter Milan squad are not from Italy -- Portugal, Belgium and Turkey.
One effect of this trend is that the proportion of players who are still with the club where they began their football careers has fallen to a Europe-wide low of 21 percent.
The study also revealed that a record number of transfers took place in 2013, with players signed since January of that year making up 41 percent of all squads.
And it showed that some clubs are responsible for high numbers of players now plying their trade elsewhere in Europe – 69 players who came through the ranks at Netherlands club Ajax play in Europe's top flight, more than developed by any other club.