Compare the market - How Brexit will change transfers
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Compare the market - How Brexit will change transfers
by Sebastian Blenstrup

Brexit is shaking up the transfer market – and not just for British clubs. The football impact of Britain leaving the EU goes far beyond January and the Premier League.

Players from South American leagues are now more viable options, with less of a need to sign established internationals or pay over-the-top-fees to get players through an exceptions panel. As such, we'd expect the average transfer cost of a player from South America falling, as clubs dig deeper into these markets.
Omar Chaudhuri
Chief Intelligence Officer, 21st Club

Brexit will have a long-term effect on clubs throughout the game’s global ecosystem, making life more difficult for some, such as those in Scandinavian leagues, but offering new opportunities for others, such as sides in South America.


Omar Chaudhuri, Chief Intelligence Officer at sports intelligence agency 21st Club, said: “Brexit will impact all areas of the transfer market, and it's not just incumbent on English clubs to understand the implications - there are opportunities and risks for selling clubs outside the British Isles too.”

Premier League becomes even more global


Until Brexit, British clubs enjoyed unlimited access to European because of free movement of labour in the EU. Now the same points system applies to all overseas players and that will inevitably alter the transfer strategies of British clubs – and therefore player values around the world. TransferRoom members are able to keep track of how the potential price of a player changes thanks to objective market values provided by 21st Club.


Chaudhuri said: “At senior level, Premier League clubs will still be able to access largely a similar-sized pool of Premier League-quality players - albeit with the available markets having changed slightly. We would not expect to see much change in the values of players from the major leagues, as access to these markets remains the same post-Brexit.


“Players from South American leagues are now more viable options though, with less of a need to sign established internationals or pay over-the-top-fees to get players through an exceptions panel (as was permitted under pre-Brexit regulations). As such, we'd expect the average transfer cost of a player from South America falling, as clubs dig deeper into these markets. While there will be more demand for these players, this will be more than offset by increased supply, meaning we shouldn't see too much inflationary pressure on prices.”

European Union? Not anymore


European clubs have not only lost privileged access to the British market, which means greater competition with rival sellers from South America and elsewhere. The post-Brexit rules also change the hierarchy of clubs on the same continent, making it potentially easier for those in one country to sell players to Britain than it is for others in another country who used to compete on an equal footing.


World football’s domestic competitions have been divided into six Bands according to perceived quality. Europe’s big five leagues are in Band 1, with 28 more global competitions spread over Bands 2 to 5, and every other league in Band 6. The higher the Band of a player’s current club, the more points are available to him for reaching the same level of competition minutes or other qualifying criteria such as league position.


Chaudhuri said: “Premier League clubs have historically recruited squad and fringe players from mid-sized and smaller European markets. They've been able to do this cheaply due to the huge supply of EEA talent, but this is set to change. Whereas previously a player from Switzerland would be as easy to recruit as a player from Sweden, post-Brexit it is now much easier to recruit the former.


“This will likely drive up prices for players in the so-called 'Band 4' leagues like Switzerland, where players who are getting regular playing time will find it much easier to earn a GBE than those in Band 5 or Band 6 leagues like Sweden. Selling clubs in these leagues would do well to hold out for higher transfer fees."

The cost of teenage kicks - clubs to fight harder for young British stars


Brexit also means that British clubs can no longer sign European players aged 16 and 17 under the exemption granted by FIFA to the EU from its rules that ban the transfer of players aged under 18. The new rules will encourage British clubs to look harder in general at players from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But additional restrictions limit the number of overseas players aged 18 to 21 that any club can recruit to six per year, which will make young British talent even hotter – and more expensive.


Chaudhuri said: “With English clubs no longer able to recruit overseas talent until the age of 18, there will be a greater emphasis on signing the best young domestic players. While clubs don't sign young players with the expectation that all will become first team players, they do know that signing the best age-group talent does increase the quality of the overall group within the academy, driving up standards and giving a better chance of producing one or two 'stars' in the future.


“For the 16 and 17-year-old age groups, this will no longer be possible with foreign talent, meaning we are likely to see clubs spending more to recruit young British players. Such a trend would have an impact on how much money British clubs had available for international transfers. So overseas clubs will need to act quickly and intelligently to meet the challenges, and embrace the opportunities, of the post-Brexit market."


To learn more about the Football Association’s new regulations for the incoming transfer of overseas players to the UK, click here


To learn more about TransferRoom’s tool for assessing a player’s likely UK immigration status under post-Brexit rules, click here

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