Will Bertrand Traore be given a Work Permit in three weeks when he turns 18?
This pre-season one of the stars of Chelsea’s pre-season campaign was a player who is, simply put, not theirs.
Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traore put in a number of impressive performances for the club this summer, continuing the excellent form he showed in friendlies for the under-21’s throughout the 2012-13 season.
But it was consistently reminded to us that this talented teenager was only on trial at the club.
So why have Chelsea not snapped him up?
Well simply put he doesn’t have a work permit that allows him to play in competitive matches for the club. The 17-year-old has been in the UK on a student visa and the concern is teams from countries with less stringent visa rules could captialise, and swoop for the supremely talented young midfielder.
Traore turns 18 on the 6th September, and will then be offered a professional deal - which could prove erroneous if he does not receive this elusive work permit.
So what chance do they have of securing sufficient documentation for this talented young man?
Work Permit’s come down, essentially, to two major factors for footballers in the UK. International appearances and that nations international standing.
The latter used to be a serious stumbling block for Traore. Burkina Faso have never really been a force in world football, and have spent significant periods of time outside the qualifying criteria threshold of the worlds top 70.
However, Burkina Faso recently made it to the final of the African Nations Cup and therefore are currently sitting in 48th place in the official FIFA World Rankings, so no problem there.
But he also has to have played a certain percentage of games for the Burkina Faso national team before being given a Work Permit, and this might be where they fall down.
Traore has played for his national team, currently holding eight caps since making his debut in 2011 - but that does not equate to 75% of his national teams previous fixtures.
So, regardless of any end result, this looks like a process which will go toward an appeals process. Appeals are only ever won on the basis of a ‘special talent’ - but surely Traore qualifies.
Any player who is banging in goals for Chelsea in pre-season and has eight caps for his national team - all before turning 18 - I am not sure what else is necessary to be considered a special talent.
So, is he likely to get his Work Permit, who knows? It is not black-and-white and come September 6th we will still not know where the then 18-year-old will be playing as a pro.
image: © Tom Cuppens