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Why don’t English teams buy straight from South American teams?

An overview of why English clubs have not historically bought players from South American teams.


Gabriel Jesus move to City from Palmeiras
Gabriel Jesus moved to Manchester City from Palmeiras

Over the course of the last decade, there has been an influx of South Americans playing in the Premier League. From Hernan Crespo of Chelsea to Nolberto Solano of Newcastle United, South Americans’ presence has been most welcome.

Those two players, in particular, were bought from Inter and Aston Villa - not from their native Argentinian and Peruvian teams. 

So it begs the question of why Premier League teams, especially given how cash-rich they are, go straight to the source of the talent in South America and cut out the middleman, who are usually other European clubs.


#3 Work Permit

One major problem is first getting them into the country on a visa from overseas. If the player is from a non-EU country, such as the whole of South America, they have to pass the criteria set out by the Football Association to be allowed into the country to work. 

This is split into two parts: Part A and Part B, followed by the Objective Criteria and Outcome. 

The player can gain a work permit if they score four or more points in Part A. Some of the criteria in this part are things such as the transfer fee being higher than 25% of other transfers in the Premier League for that year.

Another will be their wages hitting the same criteria. These points are worth three each, and so a high profile player, such as Robinho, would have passed with ease.

You can also score points for playing in a ‘Top League’, which is one of the five European leagues, and if you play over 75% of competitive games for a country ranked in the top 60 by the FIFA Aggregated World Rankings.

It sounds complicated, but it is just about going down the criteria and tallying up the points. If you fail Part A, there is a chance for Part B, which is slightly easier to garner points - but for this, you need five points or more instead of the four. You are allowed to carry over your points from Part A into Part B.

The Objective Criteria is outlining the recommendations you have received from influential figures in football. For example, your National Team coach or former manager/mentor. 

And then comes the Outcome, which is where a panel of four sit down and either grant the Governing Body Endorsement for you to play in England or reject it. The whole process costs around £10,000 per-player. 

A club will normally do their own math to determine whether they have a chance of securing a work permit for their player, and if they think they do not, they will not then waste their time going through the official process. Normally, they will only go down that road if they have a true reason to believe their player will be granted one.

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