Facing work permit issues, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem looks to sign for Motherwell in 2019
India's U17 World Cup hero Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem may have impressed the coaches at Scottish Premier League club Motherwell FC, but there are still complications that are delaying the completion of the deal.
Dheeraj has officially been without a club since January, after he left I-League side Indian Arrows, in search of foreign exposure. While he did have a short training stint at Kerala Blasters, he flew off to Scotland for a trial at Motherwell.
In his very first week, the teenaged goalkeeper had impressed the coaches at the club. Earlier, Sportskeeda had reported that Dheeraj has been offered a three-year contract at the SPL club.
However, the two parties are facing difficulty in acquiring work permit for the Indian keeper, which is why they are looking to sign a pre-contract for the 2019/20 season.
"Dheeraj wants to sign there (Motherwell), but we haven't got a work permit yet," his agent Anuj Kichlu said to Sportskeeda. "So we may need to sign here and consider next year."
Motherwell were originally hoping that the UK immigration authorities would make some exceptions for the teenaged sensation. Now however, both the club and player seem to have decided to bide their time.
One key factor is if Dheeraj gets a senior national team cap. "If he plays a senior international match, some exceptions might be made for Dheeraj," said Kichlu.
This currently looks unlikely with top custodians like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subrata Paul and Amrinder Singh fighting it out for the spot.
However, getting a work permit in UK is a complicated affair for football players, as the current laws require the players to be from a country that is ranked above 70 on the FIFA rankings, or they must have played at least 75 percent of the league matches in their home country over the last two years. Currently, Dheeraj does not fulfil either of these criteria.
To add to that, he cannot sign with any club outside India yet, as FIFA regulations state that any player below the age of 18 can only move to a foreign club,if their parents move to the country.