The real-world impact of post-Brexit recruitment

By the AI Scout

Since the new rules for EPL and EFL clubs came into force from 1st January 2020, recruiters are navigating a new look January transfer window. To find out more on the specific rules and how it has affected the eligibility of players from certain leagues, read our post-Brexit recruitment article here. For this article, we’ll be exploring practical examples and the implications of potential real-world recruitment scenarios.

Brexit Graphic

How last year’s EFL recruitment strategy would have been affected by the changes

The below graph shows where most of the EFL did their business in the summer 2019, winter 2019/2020 and summer 2020 transfer windows. Using the new “Band” categories outlined by the FA, it’s clear that we are likely to see a shift in where clubs look to do their business (see the breakdown of leagues by band here). Out of 103 transfers, around 60% were from band 4 or below, who would either be ineligible or borderline depending on whether the club played in a continental competition. Band 3 could see the highest increase of transfers, with Mexico, Argentina and Brazil becoming more accessible with the changing rules. However, the logistics of scouting in these countries might provide a barrier for clubs who prefer to recruit in Europe.

EFL Transfers by Band

Why players might think twice about moving to the Chinese Super League

Fans and the media often perceive a move to the CSL to be motivated by money and often referred to as a “final pay day” with speculation of retirement to follow shortly. This might be true in some cases, but there are many that have made their way back to Europe’s top clubs, Ighalo at Manchester United and Carrasco at Atlético Madrid to name a few. However, with the introduction of the new GBE (Governing Body Endorsement) rules for EPL and EFL clubs, this might influence a player’s decision to move to China. Currently, the majority of the players with the highest market value in the CSL would not gain a GBE.

CSL Players

The importance of international appearances

Whilst the CSL for some might temporarily restrict a move to England, players with a consistent presence in their international team might not have the same obstacles as those without. The below shows just how important international appearances are to supplement the loss of eligibility points from a league/competition in a lower band. For example, without his appearances for Nigeria, Ighalo would have struggled to make the move to Manchester United if the transfer happened in the 2021 January transfer window. With Hamšík being a key part of his international side, this maintains his eligibility, whereas El Shaarawy may need to continue knocking on the door of the Italian national team to ensure he gets enough appearances required to qualify.

Will there be an increase in English clubs partnering with European clubs?

Club partnerships are nothing new, but since the rest of Europe aren’t bound by the new GBE status rules in England, could this provide a useful workaround for clubs in the EPL and EFL? Most notably, the City group have revolutionised the idea of having a network of clubs who feed into a larger organisation. Manchester City have used this to acquire talent from partner clubs in the past, such as Aaron Mooy from Melbourne City and Jack Harrison from New York City. With Europe’s top leagues remaining a fruitful avenue, rich with eligible talent, could this lead to English clubs using European partners to provide game time to long-term transfer prospects in order to gain eligibility?

How the Ai Abacus GBE Status feature can help clubs quickly identify eligible players

Our new GBE Status feature, used to identify Hamšík and El Shaarawy, enables football clubs and player agents to instantly predict the eligibility of overseas players, helping to inform scouting and recruitment decisions. As our data uses the new rules recently announced by the FA, there will be edge cases and different interpretations. Therefore, our GBE Status feature should be used as a guide and a way of predicting how likely a player is to meet the criteria. Read our post-Brexit recruitment article here to find out more about the new rules and how we calculate GBE eligibility.

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