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Why Brexit could hinder Sheffield United pursuit of Omar Colley

Sheffield United are interested in signing Sampdoria defender Omar Colley during the January transfer window.

The Athletic reports the Blades are leading the race to land Colley along with Turkish side Fenerbahce.

If the 28-year-old does move to Bramall Lane it’s likely to be on loan with an option to buy in the summer if United avoid relegation.

With the ability to play on the left of a back three or as a wing-back in Chris Wilder’s system, the arrival of Colley would be welcome.

The left side of defence has been a problem area throughout this season. With Jack O’Connell injured for the rest of the 2020/21 campaign, Wilder has already fielded five different players in his place at centre-back.

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Enda Stevens has also struggled to recapture his impressive form of last term at left wing-back. Neither Max Lowe or Ben Osborn have been an adequate replacement, either.

However, there could be a new issue in the Blades’ pursuit of Colley.

Why Brexit could hinder Sheffield United signing Omar Colley

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As of January 1, the UK is no longer in the European Union. In terms of the Premier League, this affects clubs wanting to sign players from the continent.

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce has already claimed he’s missed out on three new signings because of Brexit.

According to the Evening Standard, new rules mean players signed from EU countries must have a work permit. Under-18s cannot be signed at all.

Criteria for obtaining a work permit is based on a points system. In this regard, it might actually be good news for United.

Part of the system looks at international appearances. Colley is a regular for Gambia, having played 25 times for the country – including Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Gabon last November.

Club appearances, quality and the league they play in are also taken into account.

Sampdoria are currently 11th in Serie A – traditionally considered one of the ‘top five’ divisions in Europe.

Colley has played in nine of their 15 league matches so far this season.

The Blades should be able to get a work permit for him. But Brexit certainly makes things much trickier.

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