Fifa are set to put restrictions on the number of loan deals clubs can agree on in time for next season, the BBC report, potentially having an impact on Celtic’s transfer dealings.
The broadcaster reports that clubs will only be allowed to complete eight cross-border loan deals per season, including both players coming in and heading out.
That would then be reduced to six from the 2022-23 season.
It’s said this would apply to players aged 22 or over, with the proposals subject to the approval of the Fifa council.
Fifa are implementing the changes to “ensure that loans have a valid sporting purpose for youth development.”
Member associations, such as the Scottish FA, will have three years to set regulations for domestic loans
If this was in place today where would Celtic stand?
With Fraser Forster, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Moritz Bauer part of Neil Lennon’s squad, the Hoops currently have three players over 22 in on international loans.
With Andrew Gutman, Jack Hendry and Eboue Kouassi all on temporary deals away from Glasgow, Celtic only just fall into the new regulations and are at the limit should Fifa decree the amount allowed is reduced to six, as planned.
Clearly this is something that Head of Football Operations Nick Hammond and Neil Lennon must now take into account when planning future squads.
Celtic have often relied on the loan market to plug holes in the team and it’s something that could now become less common, with other clubs potentially having less scope to let players leave on loan.
Clubs everywhere will now have to even more strictly prioritise who is and isn’t allowed to leave, as well as keep an eye on the number of loan players coming into their squads.
Could this be a positive for Celtic?
When there are cash-rich clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City who stockpile players and send them out on loan, without much intention of playing them in the first-team, it limits mid-tier clubs like Celtic in the transfer market.
For example, Chelsea currently have 22 players out on loan, 15 of whom are over the age of 22.
Meanwhile, a player like Patrick Roberts, now 23, is perpetually out on loan from Manchester City, without much career progression.
With Fifa apparently clamping down on this kind of behaviour, it could leave the Hoops in a more fortuitous situation even if there is more red tape to handle and greater care needed.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how all this progresses and it’s something to keep an eye on ahead of the summer transfer window.