After winning the recent Copa America championship and reaching the semi final of the World Cup, Uruguayan football is on a real high at the moment. It is not just at national level where the football is thriving with club side Nacional reaching the Copa Livertadores Semi Final, in the process becoming the first Uruguayan side to do so in 20 years. It is therefore not too much of a surprise to see Premier League clubs wanting to take advantage of their rapid growth.
Liverpool are the first club to make a move and they are looking to use recent transfers to help set up a partnership with South American giants Nacional in the hope that they can spot the next genuine talent and bring them over to England at a young age. Already this season Damien Comolli has brought in Sebastian Coates from the Montevideo club and Kop favourite, Luis Suarez also started his career there before a move to Dutch side Ajax.
During the recent Copa America the Nacional side had an extraordinary 14 players out of the 23 who had played for Nacional sometimes during their development. This means it would make sense to agree a deal with a club who are obviously set up to produce top class players.
The main problem with bringing South American talent into the UK is that they are not guaranteed to get work permits however as anybody who plays Football Manager will know that there are a few ways to get round this problem. Liverpool currently have a deal with Belgium club GENK where they can loan their foreign youngster for the season so they can gain European citizenship and therefore receive a work permit. By loaning them to Holland or Belgium for a season or two they are more likely to get a work permit so any Uruguayan youngsters would have to spend time in Europe before playing in England.
With the introduction of the new financial fair practice rules from next summer, a team with a successful academy is going to have more success. Liverpool already have a world class academy, mainly due to Rafa Bentiez’s hard work but it does not yet compare with some of the big teams in European football. This sort of partnership could take the club and is yet another example of the owners looking to the long term future of the club.
Liverpool will hope that this rapid growth of Uruguay as a footballing power will continue and that the link with the Club Nacional could be a chance to secure some of the country’s untapped talent. Liverpool’s attentions will focused on the Nacional club in the hope that they can discover the ‘next Luis Suarez’.
The club are now looking to bring worldwide talent to Anfield and this sort of deal makes both football and financial sense. In return for financial investment they will get first choice of one of the most productive academies in the world and there is no reason why they cannot build a new history with Uruguayan talent at Anfield. I don’t think it will be too long before we see other clubs following suit.
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