Manchester United are planning ‘a number of strategies’ when it comes to player recruitment with Brexit having placed Premier League clubs at a ‘disadvantage’ to European sides.
Britain’s exit from the European Union will see the rules regarding the recruitment of overseas players change from January 1, with any signing required to be at least 18-years-old and needing to qualify through a points-based system.
The rules will greatly impact Premier League clubs who have often sought young talent from abroad, the likes of Paul Pogba and Cesc Fabregas amongst the notable names to have moved to English academies as teenagers.
Manchester United’s head of academy, Nick Cox, has been discussing the rule changes and believes Premier League sides will now be at a disadvantage to their European rivals, who will possess greater leeway in signing foreign prospects under the age of 18.
“We wish there was a level playing field but there won’t be,” Cox told BBC Sport.
“It probably puts us at a disadvantage to other European clubs.
“There will be movement of players between clubs in other European countries but they won’t be able to move to our club at the age of 16, as they currently can.”
The rule changes could see Premier League sides move players through partnerships with other clubs, with Manchester City having links to clubs on four different continents as part of their City Football Group umbrella, including the likes of New York City, Melbourne City and Spanish side Girona.
Chelsea also have a fruitful partnership with Dutch outfit Vitesse, having previously sent a huge 29 players on loan to the Eredivisie including both Nemanja Matic and Mason Mount.
“I wouldn’t suggest it is circumnavigating the rules,” said Cox. “It is within the rules.”
United previously had a similar arrangement with Belgian side Royal Antwerp with a host of future first-team players spending time on loan with the side, the notable names including John O’Shea, Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson.
Cox has suggested a similar arrangement could be in the offing post-Brexit, insisting the Red Devils will continue ‘to recruit the best talent available’ and will consider a ‘number of strategies’ when it comes to youth development.
“Our mandate was always to recruit the best talent available to us and we absolutely will continue to recruit the best talent that is available to us,” Cox said.
“We do not want to break the rules but there will be a number of strategies we believe we can execute within the rules that will help us to continue to uphold the traditions of youth development within our football club that we are very proud of.
“We have had a long time to plan and prepare for 31 December. We feel we are in a good place and know where we are going given the limitations and restrictions Brexit will ultimately bring.”