Premier League clubs will find British-based players more in-demand and more expensive on Transfer Deadline Day, with last-minute overseas signings more difficult to complete than ever before.
Sky Sports News has spoken to a top football agent and a specialist sports lawyer, both of whom have dealt with scores of top-flight transfers, and they are emphatically in agreement that – with coronavirus restrictions on top – the climate has never been more difficult for UK clubs to do late foreign deals.
As a result, they think top UK clubs will try to ‘buy British’ if they’re making late offers, rather than pursue foreign players – unless a lot of the legwork has already been done.
“I know of one Premier League club who have pulled out of a deal to sign a German player today, because they think there is no way they can complete the necessary procedures and paperwork in time,” the agent told Sky Sports News.
“That was with a full 36 hours still to go.
“The buying club’s options are limited at this stage in the window. Since Brexit, every foreign player – including European-based players – needs a visa to enter and work in the UK.
“But you can’t apply for a visa from inside the UK [unless you are applying to renew an existing visa]. So, we’ve seen many examples where a player has had to fly into the UK to complete a medical, then leave the country again to apply for a visa.
“On Transfer Deadline Day, it’s very unlikely all that can be done in double quick time, especially because players and their representatives will need to complete coronavirus tests for international travel.”
The consensus is that, if clubs are trying to fill specific gaps in their squad, there may be a scramble for British players who are more readily available.
The agent goes on to say this is why many deals in this transfer window have seen players undergoing medicals abroad – to avoid the need for the player to fly into the UK and then out again.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a perfect example,” he explains. “When the move to Manchester United or Manchester City looked likely, he flew from Italy to Lisbon. That’s where United sent their medical personnel to complete the medical, rather than Ronaldo flying straight into Manchester.”
Further complications are brought about by the strict UK coronavirus rules, which mean players may have to go into a period of quarantine before they are able to move freely, train and play matches.
The top sports lawyer has spelled out to Sky Sports News the necessary process to get a deal done, as follows:
- Once clubs have agreed a fee, an overseas player can fly into the UK to undergo a medical (so long as they abide by the UK Covid regulations).
- That player must then leave the UK and apply to the FA for a ‘Governing Body Endorsement’ (this will be assessed on the basis of the team and country they are joining from, appearances, international caps etc)
- The buying club can then issue a Certificate of Sponsorship, which together with the GBE, the player can then use online to apply for a ‘Tier Two Sportspersons Visa’.
- If and when this is granted, they can then re-enter the UK to complete the deal.
Follow Deadline Day with Sky Sports
Time is running out for clubs to do business – the summer transfer window closes at 11pm in England and midnight in Scotland on Tuesday, August 31 and you can follow all the Deadline Day drama with Sky Sports.
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