Newspapers in England are reporting that Geoff Cameron and Stoke City have cleared the first hurdle in their would-be marriage, the transfer price.
Cameron, the Houston Dynamo and U.S. international center back, will be sold for $2.5 million. While club officials say that is only the first of three hurdles, it really is the biggest, representing a significant breakthrough in this weeks-old saga.
Cameron and Stoke City must now agree on a salary, and Cameron must be granted a UK work permit.
The salary negotiations are unlikely to be problematic. Cameron makes about $250,000 with the Dynamo; an English Premier League salary will surely represent a raise, so that presumably will not present a significant sticking point.
The acquisition of a UK work permit was once tricky for American players attempting to catch on in England. And the actual standards still look fairly restrictive. For a team like the United States (that is, a country ranked in the top 70 in the world), a player qualifies who has participated in 75 percent of competitive internationals over a two-year period. Cameron would not qualify for that standard.
There are, however, other provisions for demonstrating international proficiency.
I’ll check around this morning, but I believe Bobby Convey may have been the last U.S. international to be denied a work permit in England – and that’s going all the way back to 2003.
This is from Stoke City chairman Peter Coates:
We are still talking on personal terms and we need to make sure we get international clearance for him. But we are hopeful we will get that clearance on the basis of his history, his background and his achievements to date. We can see no reason why we won’t get that clearance, but obviously we are taking nothing for granted.”