This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Whether you like or not, Brexit is just around the corner.
On October 31st, the United Kingdom will exit the alliance of the European Union, and will attempt to prove that leaving was the right decision.
It will affect all walks of life, including sports in this country. The Premier League, with its huge influx of highly-talented foreign stars, will be no different.
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The top tier’s clubs will be forced to re-think the way they do business, and how they set up their squads. Fortunately for Chelsea, it seems they have already planned for the worst scenario, whether on purpose or inadvertently.
Whilst nothing is as of yet set in stone, there could potentially be an issue with work permits. Of course, as it stands, players from Europe are able to move freely to Great Britain without resistance, but that is unlikely to be the case in the future.
Right now, players outside of the E.U must have participated in a certain percentage of their nation’s international matches, depending on their FIFA World Ranking, in the last two years, and there is a possibility that that could be extended to Europeans following the UK’s separation too. In 2016, BBC Sport reported that 332 footballers in the top two tiers in England, as well as the Scottish top flight, would be unable to ply their trade on these shores if the work permit situation were to be the same.
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This would have affected players like N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez in the past, both of whom were unknown and uncapped at the time they moved to Leicester City. There are plenty of others, too, who may not receive work permits even now, which is exactly why Chelsea have timed the importance on their youth players to perfection.
English players, obviously, will be unaffected by any such work permit problems, and the Blues arguably have seven such players in their squad who are likely to play big roles this campaign anyway, such as Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, who have four and nine goals respectively so far. There are plenty of others who are just below the top grade, such as Faustino Anjorin and Billy Gilmour, who would have no problems after the deadline.
After years of struggling to blood young players into the side, the Stamford Bridge outfit may soon become a template for their rivals to follow in post-Brexit Britain. Players such as Everton’s Moise Kean – he has just seven caps for Italy and would have therefore needed to play 45% of Italy’s matches over the last two years due to their ranking (15th) – would unlikely have been able to make the switch to the UK.
Will Chelsea finish in the top-four?
It could end up being like an artificial transfer ban, something which Frank Lampard and co have already lived through. Of course, there is still some way to go. With rumours circulating that the FA want to reduce the non-homegrown quota to 12 players in a 25-man squad, they will need even more stars from their youth academy. But, unlike most of the elite, they are on the right track, and they are already looking well prepared for a revolutionary scenario.