Sam Allardyce has revealed that West Brom were forced to pull out of three January transfers due to the UK’s new Brexit rules regarding Premier League work permits as a result of leaving the European Union on New Year’s Eve.
To hear Allardyce tell it, it’s a bitter blow to West Brom as they have just 29 days left to bolster their squad ahead of a tough relegation battle set to be waged over the final 21 games of the 2020-21 season. That means it’s back to the drawing board in a market that’s already been made difficult enough by the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic — quotes from Sky Sports:
“I have found three players already who were capable of coming here and they’re not allowed. It’s a shame.
“Due to the new regulations in terms of the permit they were unable to come to this country, whereas (previously) they would have done. I have to look at that and think, ‘Can he qualify?’
“That has made life a bit more difficult. It’s not so much the pandemic, it’s the change of rules because of the Brexit deal. We will do what we can and finding a player in this pandemic is going to be the hardest window I have ever worked in.
“No disrespect to my players here, because they are all working as hard as they can, but I do have to find better to lift the squad. Whatever player comes in, they have to be better than what we have and capable of going into the team almost immediately.”
Pre-Brexit, various Premier League clubs of similar size to West Brom — without the financial might to sign the highest-regarded international players at the very top of the pay scale — made the most of their ability to thoroughly scout lesser-known players from foreign countries as a means of not only survival, but of upward movement.
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For example, the likes of N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane or Diogo Jota might not have qualified for work permits to complete their initial move to the Premier League under the new system. As we know, each of those players went on to become the caliber of player that Premier League clubs can now sign. They were then transferred again — within the Premier League — allowing Leicester City, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers to rake in massive profits that they would then reinvest.
Prices for English players, who are already overinflated for Premier League clubs, are only going to go higher as they become a much larger percentage of players eligible for registration, which will see everyone but the biggest, most financially well-off clubs priced out of almost every domestic player they might actually want.