Manchester City made — and failed in — bids for multiple central midfielders this summer, and appear resigned to the idea that they’ll be unable to sign another of their targets before the transfer window closes on Thursday.
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Pep Guardiola and Co., struck out on now-Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, among others, leading them to a not-so-terrible backup plan: registering 20-year-old Douglas Luiz, who was signed from Vasco da Gama for $13 million before immediately being loaned to La Liga side Girona (also owned by City Football Group) last summer. The only problem: Luiz might not qualify for a work permit, given his lack of call-ups to the Brazilian national team and his lack of a high enough profile to qualify as an exceptional talent — quotes from the Guardian:
“We want him to stay but he does not have a work permit yet so we will try to convince the federation to allow him to stay. I think he has real potential to play with us and improve with us. We saw in pre-season against Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund that he is at a good level. It depends on him and us. The club wants him to stay and he wants to stay but it depends on the work permit.
“He’s ready to play, that’s why we want the permit. We ask for the work permit because we believe he can play with us, otherwise we would not be asking.”
Whether or not Luiz qualifies for a work permit and can be registered — or if he turns out to be a quality player — his situation is just another benefit of the spending power possessed my Man City. How many other clubs in the world can make a “down payment” of that size without any idea or likelihood the player will ever be able to actually play for the club? The answer is, obviously, not many.