Leeds United to miss out on Finland ace Valakari due to Brexit
Analytics FC has launched a ‘Brexit calculator’ which says if clubs in England are able to sign players from outside of the UK.
Leeds United already use software by Analytics FC and will be helped even more when it comes to sign players from overseas now the UK has left the EU.
However, it means the brakes have already been pulled on one reported transfer target after Leeds were linked with Pafos and Finland midfielder Onni Valakari earlier this season.
In October, Cypriot news outlet Kerkida reported Victor Orta had visited Cyprus with Pafos owner Roman Dubov. It is understood they spoke about 21-year-old Valakari and a potential move for him to Elland Road.
Analytics FC owner Jeremy Steele left his role as Pafos’ sporting director in January and has since spoken highly of Valakari in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post.
However, Steele has also ruled that his company’s ‘Brexit calculator’ has ruled out the possibility of Leeds, nor any other club in England, signing Valakari.
He said: “Our thought was every club and agent that’s going to deal with an English team is going to need the calculation. It’s a bit mad that one of the most high profile industries in Britain is having these kind of barriers put up to recruiting overseas players. It’s a bit of an own goal, a Brexit problem. It does kill English clubs in that sense, for recruitment.
“We had a player at Pafos, Onni Valakari, 21 years old, probably the best player in Cyprus, top scorer in the league from midfield – there were rumours in the Cypriot press that Leeds were tracking him when Victor visited Pafos.
“We signed him from Tromsø. I think he scores two points within the new system so he’s miles away from being able to sign for a British club, even though his British agent would love to take him to a Championship club.”
Steele has worked with Orta a lot in the past. The YEP reports that he was involved in a previous audit of Leeds’ academy and “crossed paths” with Leeds’ director of football again two years later with the Spanish pointing him in the direction of Dubov.
While Orta’s route to signing players like Valakari has been blocked, there are still ways that he can improve the squad at Elland Road.
“Players like him are completely off the radar now for British clubs, but I suppose it does open up the South American market,” Steele added.
Brexit impact a real issue for recruitment
Orta has regularly signed players from overseas during his time as director of football at Leeds United.
In his first summer transfer window at the club, players were brought in from all over Europe with nationalities like Swedish, Spanish, Polish, French, German, Dutch, Ghanaian, North Macedonian, Moroccan and Bulgarian all being represented in West Yorkshire.
We’re unlikely to see such a splurge of talent arriving from overseas due to Brexit and maybe Orta foresaw these issues which is why he had such a ‘scattergun’ approach to recruitment in his first few years in West Yorkshire.
Either way, Valakari seems to be some talent.
Steele has spoken very highly of the attacking midfielder, who has scored 13 goals and supplied six assists in 29 appearances across all competition for Pafos this season.
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Valakari has also earned his first two caps for Finland this season.
He made his debut against France in a friendly last year, scoring a goal in a 2-0 win before assisting twice in Finland’s recent 3-2 defeat to Switzerland in World Cup qualifiers.
Brexit has robbed us of signing talented young players like him.
In other Leeds United news, this player who the Whites want to sign has “frightening potential” and could cost just £1million.