Everton defeated new Brexit rules to sign Niels Nkounkou, but future changes are unclear

Everton would have been forced to rethink some of their summer transfer activities under the new Brexit rules.

The Premier League, the English Football League and the Football Association have confirmed the revised transfer rules that will come into effect when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union after December 31.

Clubs will no longer be able to sign European players as before, but will have to make sure the transfer targets meet the requirements to get a work permit.

Players signed from outside the EU are currently required to earn a Government Body Endorsement (GBE) before their move to England can be ratified, but as of the January transfer window, those rules now also apply to European players.

And the transfer of younger players will be made more difficult for Everton and the rest of the Premier League, with clubs no longer allowed to sign under 18-year-olds from the EU.

All players 18 and over will be subject to GBE regulations, although the new requirements have been expanded to ensure that top young talent can still make it to the Premier League.

Premier League football director Richard Garlick said yesterday: “Clubs still want to maintain their international competitiveness by recruiting the most talented teens from around the world.

“And the FA wants to make sure that promising young English players still have the opportunity to play at the highest level.

Thus, the focus of the Premier League and the FA’s discussion was on Premier League clubs’ ability to attract emerging foreign players who they have identified as having talent but who are too young to have had the chance to gain the required experience in the first team. meet the GBE points criteria. “

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Everton signed 17-year-old Jagne, of the Swedish BK Hacken, in October, but according to the rules that will take effect from January, the Blues should not have taken the midfielder.

The Blues would have had to wait until January 2022 (depending on the dates of the summer season) and then hope that the Swedish youth international met the relevant criteria to earn a GBE.

Having to wait another 12 months would also have increased the likelihood that Everton’s rivals would endeavor to sign a player, recently hailed as a “great press” of the ball.

Niels Nkounkou

Under the new transfer rules coming into effect in January, Everton may have found it difficult to sign Nkounkou.

The then 19-year-old joined the Blues after his contract with Marseille expired, but even while allowing the “additional criteria” established to help “Youth Talent” meet the requirements for a GBE, there is some doubt whether the left-back would have qualified.

To achieve the required 15 points, the Premier League, EFL and FA (with proposals now ratified by the Department of the Interior) have expanded the GBE process beyond international caps and that country’s FIFA rankings.

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Playing time for their club and level of the league is also counted as part of “more flexible and broader criteria for players to score points”.

For young players 18 or older, the new rules also take into account whether they are named in a first team matchday squad, even if they are an unused substitute, or if they appear in the cup. They also look at their international youth hats.

If a player scores between 10-14 points, his case is handled by an exception panel.

Nkounkou was mentioned twice in Marseille’s selection last season, but did not come off the bench. He trained regularly with the first team, but played much of the campaign for Marseille B.

His international experience included only a handful of appearances for France u-18s and u-19s and so Everton may have struggled to sign him under the new rules.

What impact on future transfer plans?

As part of the ongoing changes to Everton’s scouting network, seven academy-level jobs have been created that focus on recruiting players under 13-18.

And while there will be expectations of identifying international talents, the new roles will be based in the UK as Everton strives to bolster their youth ranks, with recruiting domestic talent now easier under new regulations.

At the first-team level, football director Marcel Brands will still demand that his recruiting team highlight the most talented young players in all of Europe and it is expected that the Blues Moise Kean – who was 19 when he joined the club – would be spotlighted. have brought. the new rules, given his exposure to the first team and the national team.

Everton has, of course, done a significant amount of business with a range of European clubs for a number of EU players and there would have been no issues ratifying the transfers of the likes of Lucas Digne or Andre Gomes under new rules.

The changes can now of course add a premium to the price of such players, as selling clubs are now aware of the additional hurdles Premier League clubs have to overcome.

Everton has attracted players from five different rivals since the summer of 2018, while it also raided the championship for recruits twice this summer, and Brexit regulations could make clubs increasingly want to do business from home.

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