Farce of McDonald Mariga’s work permit laid bare
It has come to light that McDonald Mariga has been granted a UK work permit afterall. In an effort to get the permit granted, the Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga claims to have held talks with “Gordon Brown’s office, the Africa Office, office of Culture and Sports, the Home office, the FA president Lord Treisman and to Mariga himself.”
All this paid off, but only after the 5pm transfer deadline had passed. Maliga is now free to join a Premier League club in the next transfer window. Or he would be if Inter Milan hadn’t taken advantage of this mess of English bureaucracy to nip in and sign him on a four year contract.
There were several comments on Blue Days from Kenyan football fans looking forward to seeing their first player in the Premier League, and this seems to have been a view echoed across Kenya. The deal had been agreed with Parma and the player by the end of last week, but everyone had to wait until Monday for the work permit hearing. Because the deadline was also Monday, and at 5pm, there just wasn’t the time for this farce to be sorted out.
Allied to the fact that Mariga could have been just what City needed to pep up a flagging central midfield, as shown by Gareth Barry’s display against Portsmouth, and this is extremely frustrating news.
With Vieira not fit, Ireland not trusted in a defensive midfield role, and Kompany unable to replicate his form of last season in that position, it looks like Mancini will be short of alternatives to the Barry and de Jong pairing. It was clearly a concern for the Italian as we sought to revive the Gago deal, but again the 5pm deadline got in the way.
The January transfer window was first introduced in 2003 as an attempt by Uefa to get English football to fall into line with the continental system. It was much criticised at the time, as English football had been getting along just fine without this European concept.
Fears that big clubs would stockpile talented squad players for fear of injuries to leading players have been born out. Likewise the concern that players not getting any match time would drain wages rather than be loaned out or moved on has also come to pass.
As the years have ticked by, the transfer window has come to be accepted, but it’s needlessly restrictive nature has caught City out this time. Let’s just hope it doesn’t cost us a Champions League place in the same way that it’s cost Kenyan football fans the chance to see one of their own in the Premier League.