How Brexit could stop Premier League clubs signing young players

Current FIFA regulations allow clubs inside the European Union to sign players from the age of 16 but that could rise to 18 for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea

Brexit could have a major impact on a Premier League club’s ability to sign young players.

Following result of the latest referendum, Britain has decided to leave the European Union with 51.9% of the vote.

In FIFA’s current regulations, rule 19 states that international transfers can only take place if the player involved is over the age of 18.

But an exception is in place that allows clubs inside the EU to sign players from the age of 16.

The law in place has benefited the likes of Arsenal, who were been able to sign Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin from Barcelona.

Manchester United have also taken advantage of the rule with the signings of Paul Pogba, Adnan Januzaj, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and, more recently, Tahith Chong from Feyenoord.

Leaving the EU could therefore have a negative impact on British clubs and their ability to compete with their European rivals in signing young players, unless a separate agreement is reached with FIFA.

Wenger 'respects' Vardy's decision to snub Arsenal

The Gunners had activated the striker’s £20 million release clause but the England international has now agreed a four-year contract with the Premier League champions

Arsene Wenger insists he respects Jamie Vardy’s decision to reject Arsenal in favour of staying at Leicester City.

The Gunners had activated the striker’s £20 million release clause but the England international stalled on his decision before Leicester confirmed on Thursday that a new four-year contract had been agreed.

“I think Leicester have made a statement and Vardy will stay. We were on the case and interested, but not more than that,” said the Arsenal manager.

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“He has decided to stay at Leicester and good luck to him.

“He came late to the game and in fairness Leicester bought him from Fleetwood and he has been successful.

“He is 29 and he has chosen to stay at Leicester. You have to respect that.”

Wenger not interested in France job

The Gunners boss admits he has been asked to take on the role of national team boss on several occasions but does not feel he will enter international management now

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has no plans to lead France, with his time to step into international management now gone.

Earlier in June, Wenger had previously refused to rule out the possibility of managing his native France one day.

But the 66-year-old, who has a year remaining on his Arsenal contract, has now ruled out a move away from club management as Didier Deschamps’ France prepare a Euro 2016 last-16 clash against the Republic of Ireland.

“I think this time [to move into international management] has gone now,” Wenger told BeIN Sport.

“I have been asked a few times to do it. I was always busy somewhere else.

“I just want my country to do well and have a good tournament because at the moment this country is going through a very difficult time. We have been hit hard through terrorism, strikes and many other unrests.

“The country is a bit flat mentally at the moment, and they need a bit of happiness.

“Hopefully this tournament can give it to the country.”

Wenger on Brexit: The world only survives when people work together

The Arsenal boss believes the modern world creates fear and suggests Britain leaving the European Union will have an impact on the ability to sign overseas players

Arsene Wenger has insisted that Britain should remain part of the European Union, claiming that the world will only survive if people work together.

The UK has voted to exit the EU with 51.9% of people backing the Leave campaign, while 48.1% chose to remain.

There have now been calls for David Cameron to resign as Prime Minister, while the British pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985.

Speaking prior to Thursday’s vote, Wenger told beIN Sports: “The modern world can create fear but maybe we have to think as well about potential.

“I can understand that people are scared to lose their culture, but the world will only survive if we work all together. That’s what I believe.”

Wenger also predicts that if Britain push ahead with leaving the EU, it could have an impact on the Premier League and clubs’ ability to sign world-class players from overseas.

“In life you have to be confronted with quality, to improve you have to be confronted with quality,” said the Frenchman.

“To ignore the quality and say let’s remain amongst them ourselves doesn’t work, because now they are controlling with the best players in the world.”

Move over Mesut: Arsenal have a new pass master in Euro 2016 star Xhaka


Granit Xhaka is a perfect signing for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger. It’s no wonder that Gunners supporters following Switzerland at Euro 2016 have already stood up and taken notice of the 23-year-old’s domineering performances in midfield, with his 276 successful passes narrowly behind Germany’s Toni Kroos (319) at the tournament so far.

And that’s no mean feat when you consider that Kroos, a world champion and reigning club European champion, is part of a team of players who could fit into any starting XI in world football. Xhaka was the pinnacle of everything good about Switzerland during their stalemate against France and he distributed the ball with such ease to emphasise team-mate Johan Djourou’s opinion that he possesses similar midfield qualities to Italy legend Andrea Pirlo.

“He’s a great ball player and a ball winner so I think in the midfield he could help a lot”, said Djourou. “He’s got the ability to play very long balls and precise balls. He reminds me a bit of Andrea Pirlo, the way he plays.”

The former Borussia Monchengladbach midfield had his shirt ripped twice against France and drew plaudits from pundits and players for his combative nature and impressive pass distribution rate. Indeed, Xhaka’s 89% passing accuracy rate is even more astonishing when you consider he makes an average of just 105 passes per game.

Xhaka’s free role in the Switzerland midfield gives him the freedom to exploit space in the final third with his passing and direct running but it is worth noting that a tendency to work the ball back onto his left foot against France slowed play down at times. 

In terms of what he will bring to Arsenal, the list is almost endless. Captain of a top Bundesliga side at just 23, Xhaka’s leadership qualities seduced Arsene Wenger when he made his final decision to sign the ex-Basel man. That’s not forgetting his 85 per cent pass completion percentage from last season – the second best in Monchengladbach’s team while added to his work ethic and aggressive nature on the pitch, you can be sure that Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are likely to thrive in the same side as their new team-mate.

Ozil’s record-breaking 19 assists last season could have been many more if Arsenal had a clinical striker up front, and while the club make inroads on a deal to bring in that ideal player following the collapse of Jamie Vardy’s move to north London, the fans can take some comfort in knowing that Xhaka will help share the burden of defensive responsbility and playing those through the eye of the needle passes when required.

The departures of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini has left a gap in Arsenal’s midfield which will almost certainly be filled by Xhaka. While he faces competition from Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny for a starting spot, it’s likely that he will have no trouble working his way into the XI after a solid Euro 2016 tournament where he has picked up two man of the match awards in three games.

For now all of Xhaka’s focus will be on his country. The midfielder has been hugely influential in Switzerland’s progression to the knockout stages and will be confident of securing another surprise result when they face Poland in St Etienne on Saturday.