Sheffield United: The criteria South American wonderkid Yuriel Celi must fulfil to earn a move to Bramall Lane
If - and it remains ‘if’ - Sheffield United decide to pursue their interest in Yuriel Celi, they must plot a course through the same maze of red tape which complicated their search for a new manager earlier this year.
Although Bramall Lane’s hierarchy eventually made the right appointment - handing Slavisa Jokanovic the task of steering them back into the Premier League - they also considered a number of other potential candidates before realising that none would qualify for a work permit.
Although Brexit has not affected Celi’s changes of securing a move to England - should the Peruvian, who is also being monitored by Sao Paulo, decide to head to these shores - United would be required to demonstrate he is entitled to the Governing Body Endorsement, or GBE, before signing him from Academia Cantolao.
Those, which now also apply to nationals of states still within the European Union, are awarded on a points based system with credits based on appearances at both domestic and international level. The quality of the competition the applicant features in is also taken into consideration, with the amount of game time they have enjoyed another factor.
Celi is old enough to qualify, having turned 19 in February. Despite being yet to win a senior cap for Peru, who are 27th on the FIFA rankings, the teenager has been capped by his country at under-18, under-20 and under-23 level - making 12 outings for the latter after being moved through the system.
Administrators tasked with awarding GBE’s would automatically award one should they calculate Celi has passed the threshold.
However, if Jokanovic grants approval for an approach to be made, United could apply to an exemptions panel if Celi failed to qualify. This was the step they were planning to take when it became apparent that Alexander Blessin, the Oostende head coach, would not be handed a GBE following talks with United in April.
In the end, no representations were made following the decision to hire Jokanovic instead.
Reports in South America over the weekend claimed that United are monitoring Celi’s situation at the Estadio Miguel Grau as the Serb looks to strengthen his squad ahead of the new Championship season.
Sao Paulo, who briefly entered into a development arrangement with United a decade-and-a-half ago, are also thought to be considering a bid.
Midfield, where Celi plays, is a priority position for United during this summer’s transfer window following John Lundstram’s departure and the continued uncertainty surrounding Sander Berge’s future following their relegation from the Premier League last term.
Jokanovic, who took charge on July 1, has spoken of his desire to retain the Norwegian’s services. But with Arsenal, Napoli, Lazio and Atalanta among Berge’s admirers, that could prove difficult; particularly given the player’s admission that he wants to experience European football again having represented his former club Genk in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
Berge returned to training on Monday following injury, as United prepare to continue their warm-up programme with a trip to Doncaster Rovers tomorrow. They then complete their schedule with a game against Norwich City this weekend.