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Reports: Fernandez not in training, very close to Swansea City transfer

Federico Fernandez' transfer to Swansea City may be closer than ever as he was held out of training today ahead of his prospective move to Wales.

This is obviously not from today.
This is obviously not from today.
Stuart Franklin

We sound out several days ago that Napoli were prepared to sell Federico Fernandez to Swansea City. The news was sudden, jarring, frustrating, and incredibly annoying. Napoli need to be getting better, not selling some of their best players.

So when news broke last night that the two sides were having issues agreeing to the details of the financial breakdown of the move, Napoli fans cheered, hoping that the deal would fall apart. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case: Fernandez was held out of training this morning to protect him ahead of his move to Wales.

It's a pretty standard move when things are almost ready for the player to fly out for a medical. After all, you don't want him getting hurt at the last second and ruining everything, right? Given that this seems to be the first training session that Fernandez has been held back from, he'll probably head to Swansea City for his medical by the end of the week.

It's likely that the reports of financial disagreements were off the mark in terms of why the deal was held up. It's certainly possible that payment structures weren't ironed out yet (Swansea's chairman Huw Jenkins is notoriously cheap), the far more likely cause for delay is in the process of Swansea getting Fernandez an English work permit.

England requires non-European Union players to qualify for a work permit through "exceptional means", which generally translates as "play in 75% of your national team's competitive matches over the last few years." Fernandez shouldn't have an issue with that; he's been a regular in the Argentina side for the last couple of years now. There used to be "exceptional talent" workarounds to the 75% rule, but England seems to have dramatically raised the bar to qualify for that, as there's only been a few over the last two years.

Really all the English work permit system does is gum up the works on transfers, frustrating everyone involved, and keep England from getting the best young talent from outside Europe in to their Academies. And just think: Carlo Tavecchio wants to implement a similar system in Italy. Hooray.

Anyways, it does sadly seem that Fernandez will soon be an ex-Napoli player. Hopefully his replacement arrives soon, and is an upgrade on the Argentine. No pressure.