West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce believes the January transfer window could be the toughest of his career as he deals with post-Brexit regulations and the COVID-19 pandemic while looking to bolster his struggling side.
New rules that came into force from Jan. 1 mean Premier League clubs will not be allowed to sign players from European Union countries without a work permit while foreign players under the age of 18 cannot be signed at all.
Allardyce, whose side are second from bottom with eight points from 17 games, said deals for three potential recruits had already fallen through as a result of the new rules.
“I have found three players already who were capable of coming here and they’re not allowed. It’s a shame,” Allardyce told the British media.
The criteria to sign players is based on a points system which considers the number of senior and youth international appearances, club appearances as well as the quality of the selling club, its league position and the league itself.
“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?’” Allardyce added.
“That has made life a bit more difficult. It’s not so much the pandemic, it’s the change of rules because of Brexit. We’ll do what we can... finding a player in this pandemic is going to be the hardest window I have ever worked in.
“No disrespect to my players because they’re 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.”
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