With the political ramifications of Brexit still heavy in the air like radiation after a nuclear bomb, what will this mean for English football?
The clear consequence is that if there is a restriction to free movement of people within the EU, it would mean EU resident players will need a work permit to join English clubs. To put the difficulty of gaining a work permit into perspective, just look at some of the names that would not have been eligible for one: Giroud, Payet and Kante (to name just the French contingent).
Now there are some supposed positives that can be gained from this situation. The FA have had a long-standing obsession with introducing a quota of English players each club should have to encourage the coaching and development of domestic talent with the long-term aim of increasing the quality of players eligible for selection for the national team. Under EU law, this would never have been permitted, but now, as a consequence of not being a part of the EU, may end up being enforced on teams. This is because clubs will not being to poach emerging talent or take a gamble on a foreign buy, and be forced to buy domestic or develop players.
If this smaller pool of talent available to clubs results in players of lesser quality, which it inevitably would, this could results in clubs having to improve tactical play to be able to compete, putting more emphasis on high-quality coaching which could lead to better domestic talent.
Also, this could lead to clubs looking down the leagues for talent and giving them an opportunity. Recent successes of Vardy and Lambert have demonstrated that there is quality down the leagues, if clubs are willing to give them a chance.
However, the truly world class players available will be able to qualify for work permits, and the fear is this could take away the opportunity clubs like Leicester and Southampton have taken advantage of recently of being able to buy emerging talent to compete, while the big clubs continue to bring the best players to England.
Add to that, the bigger clubs would be more and more likely to stock pile any emerging talent that is coached by the smaller clubs. With a massive market of the EU shut to them, models like Southampton, and this season West Ham, will no longer be viable, and thus could kill the competitiveness of the Premier League as well as denying the players who have come here and succeeded the chance to build their careers. We can’t get Payet doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
The short term impact will be minimal, as there doesn’t seem to be any government with any plan to sort any of this mess out. It could see clubs trying to bring as much talent in during this window in the hope no retrospective decisions are made. What it does mean is, with the drop of the pound and political uncertainty going forward, this transfer window become even more important.