Look closely. There, right at the start. Next to Willian.
Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 31, 2015
That's right, Kenedy! He may not be eligible to play in the Community Shield, but he's continued to train with the first-team since our return from the USA. This is not true for other players like Oriol Romeu or Marko Marin who are certain to leave, either on loan or permanently.
It still seems a bit odd and completely out of the blue that Kenedy looks set to stay with the first-team (assuming we eventually complete his transfer officially as well). Especially after Mourinho had claimed we were set with our numbers in attack and midfield, which also ruled out buying someone like Barcelona's Pedro. But everything that Mourinho's been saying since the friendly against Pedro and Barcelona seems to point to Kenedy playing a part.
"We bought Kenedy because we believe in him. He's a very young kid that we believe a lot in, hopefully. We have conditions to get him a work permit because we want him. We don't want him to go out on loan. I think we have what the rules demand to get him a permit."
"He was in pre-season with us without the documents so he couldn't play the first two matches for us. Against Barcelona he had the chance to do it and even if it was a friendly I think it was the best debut for a kid, to play against the best team. It was a great night for the kid and a great experience."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Guardian
Unfortunately, Kenedy's unlikely to be given a work permit just because "we want him." So we must have some pretty good secret "conditions" to draw upon. Let's see if we can figure those out.
Thanks to The FA panicking about the amount of foreign players when compared with English players at the top level, we have new work permit regulations to contend with this season. It took the governing body a couple extra months, but they finally published the new regulations, which include a couple wrinkles that we could use to our advantage.
We're already familiar with the new basic rules, the ones that automatically qualify a player for a work permit. These are the ones based on appearances for the player's national team, depending on FIFA ranking. Kenedy does not meet these criteria as he's not been capped by Brazil at senior level at all.
According to the regulations, the application at this point can go to a review panel, which will consider it under primary and secondary criteria. So that's two more chances for Kenedy to gain a work-permit. Both stages are points-based.
The primary review criteria are as follows:
Basically, if the player collects 4 points, he gets the panel's recommendation. As far as Kenedy's concerned, he's pretty close to that. The first four criteria are the ones that before had been commonly refered to as the £10m rule. While Kenedy's fee is closer to £6m, he may still collect a few points here, especially if his wages are higher than normal (which seems like an easy way to collect a few points for rich clubs like us). The FA's official definitions for "Qualifying Transfers" and "Qualifying Wages" are:
Qualifying Transfers means all transfers to Premier League clubs in the previous two (2) transfer windows in respect of players submitted on Premier League squad lists. The Qualifying Transfers value will be provided by The FA directly to The Premier League and The Football League prior to each transfer window;
Qualifying Wages means the basic wages paid to the top 30 earners in each Premier League club at the closure of each transfer window prior to the date of the application. The value of Qualifying Wages will be provided by The FA directly to The Premier League and The Football League;
These figures are apparently not publicized but rather provided directly to the clubs. The question then becomes, just where does Kenedy's transfer fee and wages fall. If they are both above the 50th percentile (which seems like an easy target to hit with wages, at least), Kenedy would already have the required 4 points to get the panel's recommendation.
The last two criteria should gain the player at least one additional point as well. The Brazilian league should qualify as a "Top League" under FA rules thanks to Brazil's FIFA ranking — Top League is, in part, defined as "the two (2) Central and South American leagues which provide the most players to the top twenty (20) squads in the FIFA Aggregated World Rankings at the relevant point in time" — and Kenedy has played regularly for Fluminense over the last 12 months. In addition, Kenedy made one appearance in the second stage of the 2014 Copa Sudamericana in September. Should this competition at this stage qualify as a "Continental Competition," then Kenedy would gain another point. Assuming high enough wages, plus these two points, he would already be at the required 4 points for a work permit.
Should he not get to 4 points in the primary review stage, his application would proceed to a secondary review stage. If a player's application reaches the secondary review stage, the threshold rises to 5 points (total of 1st and 2nd reviews).
The rules here are basically easements of the primary review stage rules, especially the transfer fee and wage considerations (within 20% of the 50th percentile gives one point in each category). Should Kenedy's appearance in the Copa Sudamerica not gain him a point in the primary stage, it will gain him a point in the secondary stage anyway.
So, assuming Kenedy gets paid at least as well as half the players in the Premier League (reasonable enough, considering our books), and his transfer fee is at least within 20% of the median transfer fee paid by Premier League teams over the last two transfer windows*, he should qualify for a work permit. There are even some additional "subjective criteria" and a third review stage, all which are very loosely defined and entirely subjective, where we could plead our case, but I don't think it's going to come to that. Mourinho's confident words about "conditions" would seem to indicate that Chelsea don't think so either, and that we'll have the work permit wrapped up in either the primary or secondary review stages.
So, thanks, Greg Dyke! Much like FFP, your rules shall help the top teams remain top. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.
* £6m is cheap for us, but less so for others. Not to mention, we help our own case with every single youth signing we make as well, such as Nathan for under £5m and Danilo Pantic at under £2m earlier this summer.