Duvan Zapata is a young, exciting South American striker who may be coming to England this summer.
But with concerns over whether he will get a work permit, the forward may become the latest starlet to end up in Europe rather than the UK.
Colombian marksman Zapata, 22, has from Argentinian club Estudiantes collapse.
Now relegated QPR are keen on the forward, who has been recommended by agent Barry McIntosh, as they push for an instant return to the Premier League.
But McIntosh bemoans the red-tape which makes it very hard to bring uncapped promising youngsters from outside the EU into the country.
The South American football expert has previously helped broker deals to bring Mauro Zarate, Christian Benitez and Andres D’Alessandro into the Premier League on loan.
But he insists he also could have got the likes of Radamel Falcao, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, James Rodriguez, Oscar Cardozo, Juan Manuel Vargas and Nicolas Gaitan to UK shores, were the rules not so inflexible.
McIntosh explained to Mirror.co.uk: "Ryan Giggs would not have got a work permit at Manchester United if Wales was not part of the UK.
"Lionel Messi, as precocious a talent as he is, wouldn’t have got a work permit and fulfilled the criteria to come to England when he joined Barcelona as a kid.
"Realistically, you have to be an average of 25-26 years old to get to the point to qualify for a top international team to get the required games to get a work permit here.
"Therefore, it is hard for the likes of Zapata now and other special talents who have not come to England previously.
"When they do qualify is once they are established international players who are £20million-plus players.
"The other ones that do arrive only come from having EU passports connected to their family.
"The work permit authorities will theoretically make exceptions to allow ‘special talent’ in. But they need to realise to make it as a young foreign player in Argentina for example you do need to be a special talent.
"A major contributor to the whole Argentinian economy is developing their own players and exporting them.
"In Argentina, about 92 per cent of all players are Argentinian. About one per cent are from Colombia and three per cent from Uruguay.
"The rest are from Peru or other South American countries – excluding Brazil, due to the rivalry between the countries.
"So if a Colombian like Falcao, Peruvian like Vargas or Paraguayan such as Cardoza is deemed better that what they have in Argentina, that is the first true indicator that the player is a special talent.
"And as well as work permits for footballers needing to be more flexible here in England, I think managers need to be more open-minded about who they used to bring players in.
"A level playing field, where all agents are welcomed by a manager, as opposed to their preferential agents, would also help.
"I remember when I was in Argentina scouting, and I recommended Aguero to Sir Alex’s brother, Martin Ferguson, to take him to Manchester United.
"Martin went and saw him play for Independiente against Huracan and Aguero was available for €3.5million as a 17-year-old.
"Aguero has gone on to play for Atletico Madrid and is now at Man City, which is ironic.
"Angel Di Maria [now at Real Aadrid] is another I tried to take to England for less than €5m before he went to Benfica.
"James Rodgriquez, who recently joined Monaco, I tried to take to Alex McLeish at Birmingham, Harry Redknapp at Tottenham and to Celtic for €3.5m.
"I could see he was going to be an excellent talent. He ended up going to Porto for around €9.5m and subsequently he has gone to Monaco.
"Radamel Falcao, I saw him playing wide right for River Plate back in 2008.
"I identified if this boy was given a chance upfront he would do well. The price was €2.5milion and I tried to take him to Birmingham in January 2008.
"In the end, he is the one that put Andre Villas-Boas on the map and won the Portuguese league with Porto – and the Europa League.
"I also suggested €1.75m for Oscar Cardozo and tried to persuade Harry to get him for Portsmouth when he was playing for Newell’s Old Boys.
"Juan Manuel Vargas, I tried to take him to Stuart Pearce at Man City for less than €2m. Portsmouth were also interested, but he then ended up going to Fiorentina for €16m.
"So there are lots of great players who I recommended to Premier League or Championship clubs when they were very cheap and little known.
"They were missed opportunities for various reasons – hopefully Zapata won’t be."
Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea will be a triumph. will be a disaster.
These the are simple facts about the 2013/14 Premier League season, brought to you now in a time machine fuelled by the juice of a dozen sun-ripe boffins.
Or in plain language, a computer simulation has ‘played’ the upcoming football campaign 10,000 times and the average results have been calculated, along with some probabilities.
Bloomberg Sports are the eggheads claiming to offer the "uniquely data-driven" simulations of the major European leagues, free to view online –
Chelsea win it, Manchester City second, United third – though there’s nothing much to split them – then a gap to Arsenal. All three promoted sides will be relegated.
Bloomberg Sports plan to keep updating the projections throughout the season, but offer some tidbits before we kick off, including:
** 38.6 per cent chance that Manchester United, Manchester City & Chelsea ALL finish in the top three
** 88.9: average number of points needed to win the league
** 72.8: average number of points needed to ensure a top-four finish
Algorithms for goalposts
At last science leads mankind into the light with the news that it’s time to tear up our ancient superstition about a ‘magic 40-point mark’ to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
You will actually need just 36.4 points this season.
The Bloomberg Sports simulation is based on an initial assessment of the relative merits of each club, drawn from past performances, and crucially the adjusted ‘value’ of individual players.
That means incoming personnel could upgrade a side – eg Chelsea are reckoned to have enhanced their relative strength with the summer additions of Jose Mourinho, Mark Schwarzer, Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle.
No Bale, no hope
Arsenal fans can be assured that that is about to swamp the Emirates will obviously give the Gunners’ starting rating a bit of an uptweak.
Of course it works the other way too, and the news for Spurs fans is grim.
The boffins say Tottenham WITH Gareth Bale have a 34 per cent chance of finishing in the top four.
Tottenham WITHOUT Gareth Bale have just a 20.7 per cent chance. And a huge pile of cash money.
A quick look at the Norwegian Eliteserien league shows Valerenga are in seventh but are unbeaten in their last 10 games, so will be no pushovers.
Although they did lose 7-0 at home to Barcelona last week in another friendly.
So, um, they might actually be pushovers. We’ll find out in seven minutes.
Right, the players are out on the pitch and we are ready to get this who shabang underway.
John W Henry is here – wonder if he will get his phone out and start tweeting? I hope so.
Jordan Henderson – captain for the day (I know, I know!) doing the obligatory coin toss and we’re seconds away from kick off.
And we’re off!
Good early cross from Stuart Downing there but it’s cleared in the box by a Valerenga defender.
(Can’t even begin to work out who)
Liverpool starting brightly here.
, these Scandinavian teams are fit and up for it – as they are in the middle of their season.
Liverpool might find Valerenga are a yard or two ahead of them, fitness wise.
Henderson lines up a free kick on the edge of the box….
…..aaaaand it’s miles over.
As you were, folks.
Joe Allen has a pop from the edge of the box with his left peg but the lil’ man sends it well wide.
Liverpool are seeing a lot of the ball early doors.
Brendan will be happy with this so far.
Flanagan and Ibe link up well down the left before the latter blazes it over but it’s a confident start from a Suarez-less Liverpool so far.
BIG chance for Aspas!
He’s beautifully rolled in by Downing but his first touch isn’t great and it allows Taksdal Kongshavn to make a good save.
(God I hope he doesn’t make many saves today as screw typing that every few minutes!)
Aspas denied again!
Ibe does brilliantly to break away down the left and find the new Liverpool striker but his screwed left foot shot is deflected wide off a defender.
You can sense a Reds goal isn’t far away.
(Now I’ve said that it’s going to be 0-0 isn’t it?)
ANOTHER chance for Liverpool
Ibe again causes problems down the left and wriggles into space in the box but drags a shot wide of the post.
Really should have hit the target.
Downing fires one in from range but it rises…and rises…over the bar.
It’s ALL Liverpool right now.
They need a goal before this period of pressure passes.
Two more big saves from Taksdal Kongshavn – first from Aspas then from Downing.
(I can’t be bothered to type that every time, let’s just call him Dave)
Although it looks like Dave has picked up an injury! My fingers might be saved!
Dave denies Ibe again.
The Liverpool youngster is causing the Valerenga defence all sorts of problems down the left here.
That was a waste of an update.
Dave saves AGAIN from Ibe.
This time with his feet down low to his left after another sweeping Liverpool move.
Gotta be a goal in this for Brendan’s boys soon surely?
BRILLIANT save from Dave to deny Aspas again!
This lad is MOM today by a Norwegian mile already.
Brilliant ball across goal from Flanagan and Aspas pokes out a leg but Dave somehow stops him point bank.
Finally! it had been coming to be fair and it’s Luis Alberto eventually who puts it in the net.
Laughable defending from the home side gifts Liverpool the ball, Aspas hits the bar but the rebound is rifled in by Alberto amid more panicked defending.
I was starting to think Liverpool wouldn’t get a goal to reward their pressure; they have been all over Valerenga here.
Didi Hamann enjoyed that goal.
@DietmarHamann "Lovely finish by Luis Alberto"
See? Told you.
Goal Valerenga! 1-1
The home side hit back immediately.
Giancarlo Gonzalez heads in brilliantly from a corner and out of nothing Valerenga are level.
Not what they deserve to be honest.
And that’s the first goal that Liverpool have conceded in pre-season this summer.
Penalty shout for Liverpool!
Aspas goes down in the box under the challenge of Hogh, but the referee has none of it.
Ooh, that could well have been a spot kick upon reflection.
Aspas is having a frustrating evening here.
Dave saves at the feet of Aspas when the Liverpool man probably should have scored.
He’s having a bit of a mare to be honest.
Valerenga captain Fredheim Holm fires one in from 20 yards but it’s right down Brad Jones’ throat.
(Not literally, that would be weird)
Two minutes to go till the break here.
GOAL LIVERPOOL! 2-1
Aspas finally gets his goal!
Downing breaks away down the right and Aspas does brilliantly to make space for himself and prods in the winger’s centre.
He’s missed a hat-full of chances so he’ll be relieved to finally get the ball in the net.
Peep peep! And that’s half-time!
Liverpool lead 2-1, nothing short of what they deserve really after dominating the opening 45 minutes.
But that makeshift defence has holes in it and Valerenga can – and have – punished them.
Time for a cuppa during the break!
A bit of half-time reading for you.
Our man David Maddock is in Oslo tonight and has sent us this on his time with Norwegian Reds.
With usual Scandinavianefficiency, the train from the city centre to the wonderfully quaint Ullevaal Stadium ran like clockwork as it ferried thousands of fans to the game.
Such serenity allowed the chance to take in (eavesdrop is such an ugly word, don’t you think?) the conversation of the fans, and with a predictability equal to that of the transport network out here, there was only one topic of conversation.
"I don’t give a s*** about him – if he doesn’t want to be here then he should clear off. We don’t need him," said one Norwegian fan sporting a near perfect Scouse accent. And he wasn’t talking about Jay Spearing.
That seemed to sum up the feeling towards Luis Suarez, who cut a lonely figure in this picture back home in England training alone at Melwood while the rest of his team-mates were enjoying typically friendly Norwegian hospitality.
Another fan – let’s call him Lars – was almost light-hearted in his assessment. "So long as we get the decent money to spend on a replacement, it doesn’t matter does it. Brendan Rodgers has always said no one’s bigger than the club, so he’s got a chance to prove that now."
Indeed he has. You look at Liverpool’s forward line in this match, with Iago Aspas an isolated figure in a very young Reds team (so young in fact, you felt kick off was so early to ensure they didn’t miss bedtime) and without Suarez it appears frightening short of goals.
Yet our Norwegian friend has a point. Liverpool are still in the driving seat in this situation, because Suarez quite clearly will not take legal action, seek arbitration and probably not even submit a transfer request, given any resolution would come long after the transfer window closed – a point accepted by PFA chief Gordon Taylor.
They can – and will – demand more than Arsenal’s latest offer of £40m (plus a quid), and you suspect despite all the bluster the London club will return with an improved bid. In fact, the smart money suggests that could even be in the next few days.
Anything close to £50m allows Liverpool to buy a suitable replacement, and given Suarez himself, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have all thrived and scored goals in Rodgers’ attacking system, it doesn’t take a leap of faith to imagine a new centre forward will also find the net on a regular enough basis to make the fans forget this sorry chapter.
On the game itself, the Ullevaal Stadium offered another typical Scandanavian experience – that of the visiting team getting bigger cheers from the home fans than their hosts.
Surprisingly, the stadium was only half full, but no-one was here to support Valarenga. They came to get a glimpse of their beloved team…a team still massive here in Norway, despite the lack of success in recent years.
And they didn’t even mind that Suarez wasn’t the only high profile absentee, with Rodgers fielding a starting XI so far from the team that will kick off the season, that perhaps only two – Aspas and Joe Allen – will be in the side that faces Stoke on the opening day.
Maybe it was a ploy by Rodgers to emphasise the future of the club is more important that the sorry mess that is the present…or perhaps already the past…of this club.
A man who paid £10,000 to play in a professional football match limped off hurt after just 10 minutes.
James Gorfin, 40, in their friendly with Stoke.
But the ended in disappointment after a crunching tackle followed by a groin injury as he over-reached himself for a cross.
James, who came on as substitute in Saturday’s match, said: “I think everyone reckons they could do better when watching a game but it’s not as easy as that.
“You think you’d have loads of time on the ball but it’s pretty mental how quick the game is and I did get smashed by one of the Stoke lads when I got one of my passes away.”
With wife Nicky and his kitted-out sons Noah and Xavier , James came close to scoring off a perfect cross but aggravated a groin injury as he stretched to meet the ball and limped out of the match shortly afterwards.
He added: “Obviously I’d have loved to have got on that cross and scored but I couldn’t quite sprint quickly enough to get on the end of it.
“I tried to put a burst on and when I stretched, that’s when it went, I felt it straight away.
“I was pretty gutted, it would have been unbelievable if I’d got on the end of that and scored.
“I’m limping around and it’s still hurting but a few drinks in the bar afterwards helped me to recover.
“Before I left, I did mention that if they ever get really short they could give me a ring … I don’t expect they’ll ever be that short though! ”
Newcastle’s bid to sign Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis has taken a new twist, with the French side accusing rivals Marseille of derailing an agreed £8million deal.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas complained about meddling in his dealings with to the French Professional Football League, who released a statement.
It said: “Mr Aulas says that during negotiations between the representatives of Bafetimbi Gomis and Newcastle, Olympique de Marseille intervened to make contact with the player and his agents without warning Lyon.
“As a result, if the negotiations with Newcastle should collapse, it would be Marseille’s fault.”
Aulas is urging Gomis to go to Newcastle for the “sake of his career”, but said: “For the moment, the situation is blocked.
“I’m convinced that if he doesn’t go to Newcastle, the proposed solution will be not be nearly as good for his career.”
Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha will be handed England call-ups on Thursday – and urged to play their way into Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans.
But Three Lions manager Hodgson is set to be without both Wayne Rooney AND Jack Wilshere for next Wednesday’s prestige Wembley friendly against Scotland.
Liverpool teenager Sterling returns to the international fold after recovering from the thigh injury that cut his 2012-13 campaign short.
Sterling, who missed England’s disastrous campaign at June’s Under-21 European Championship because of the injury, has been described as being in excellent shape ahead of the new season by Reds boss Brenden Rodgers.
Zaha, like Sterling, only made his full international appearance in the defeat in Sweden in November – the only game Hodgson has so far lost in his 17-match tenure.
After Manchester United bought him from Crystal Palace for in January, Zaha was returned to the junior ranks.
But questions were raised internally over his attitude and application during Stuart Pearce’s miserable campaign at the U21 finals in Israel.
However, new United boss David Moyes ordered the youngster to change and train alongside Ryan Giggs during the Old Trafford outfit’s pre-season campaign.
A changed approach has been reported to the England hierarchy – Phil Neville, one of Pearce’s assistants in Israel and whose brother Gary is part of Hodgson’s team, is now part of Moyes’ backroom staff after Zaha impressed during that long trip to the Far East.
Now Hodgson plans a first-hand look at Zaha and Sterling when the 24-man squad gathers at St George’s Park on Sunday night.
Both youngsters will be told they have the opportunity to play themselves into the squad for the vital last four qualifiers taking place next month and in October.
Hodgson, also set to recall Norwich keeper John Ruddy as back-up to Joe Hart and Ben Foster and who has Ashley Young available again, seems set for frustration over Rooney and Wilshere.
The England boss will put in calls to the Manchester United and Arsenal medical teams before confirming his selection.
But while Hodgson wants Rooney and Wilshere, he appears likely to be deprived of both men.
Rooney has yet to play any part of United’s pre-season campaign because of injuries, missing Tuesday’s friendly in Stockholm amid the ongoing saga of his proposed departure from Old Trafford to Chelsea.
Wilshere has made just one England start – in the win over Brazil last February – since June 2011.
The midfielder has been handled gently by Arsene Wenger in Arsenal’s pre-season programme following last season’s ankle surgery, and the Frenchman is determined to protect his key player.
Bradford have been knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the first round just months after stunning football by making the final as a League Two side.
The Bantams, now of League One, had a dream run to Wembley that saw victories over Premier League trio Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa.
However, in their first match in the competition since losing that final to Swansea, they lost 2-1 at Championship Huddersfield – on a night when four Championship clubs fell to lower-division opposition.
A double from James Vaughan gave the Terriers victory over their Yorkshire neighbours, despite Nahki Wells’ late strike.
Newport, fresh from winning on their return to the Football League, enjoyed a stunning 3-1 extra-time win at Championship Brighton.
County had trailed to an Ashley Barnes strike only for Albion to have Inigo Calderon dismissed halfway through the second half. Danny Crow levelled for the Welsh club before adding a second in extra time, with Conor Washington sealing the win for Justin Edinburgh’s side.
Championship Middlesbrough suffered a shock defeat as they were beaten 2-1 by League Two Accrington at the Riverside Stadium.
Lukas Jutkiewicz had put the hosts ahead but Marcus Carver and Piero Mingoia hit back to give Stanley a famous win.
Ipswich were another second-tier side to be dumped out by lower-league opposition as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Stevenage, of League One.
A penalty from Filipe Morais early in the second half put Stevenage ahead, with Jordan Burrow sealing the win.
League One Rotherham also took a Championship scalp, upsetting local rivals Sheffield Wednesday with a 2-1 win. Ben Pringle put the Millers ahead before Rhys McCabe levelled for the visitors.
Lee Frecklington put the hosts back in front before Wednesday substitute Jermaine Johnson was sent off for a headbutt on Pringle.
Championship Barnsley needed penalties to see off League Two Scunthorpe in their tie.
Chris O’Grady kept his nerve to seal a 5-4 shootout win for the Tykes after 120 goalless minutes. Niall Canavan was the man with the critical miss for the Iron.
Elsewhere, Watford were comfortable 3-1 winners at Bristol Rovers. A brace from Sean Murray and a Gabriele Angella strike put the Hornets in control before Eliot Richards pulled one back.
Michael Jacobs got the only goal as Championship Derby won at Oldham, while David Jones, Junior Stanislas, Danny Ings and Scott Arfield all found the net as Burnley won 4-0 at York.
Sean St Ledger netted a stoppage-time winner as Leicester edged to a 2-1 win at Wycombe. Jo Kuffour equalised for Wanderers after David Nugent’s penalty, only for St Ledger to sink their hopes of an upset.
Kevin Dawson’s goal gave Yeovil a 1-0 win at Southend and Ryan Williams did likewise for Morecambe in their home win over fallen giants Wolves by the same scoreline.
Eunan O’Kane ensured Championship Bournemouth prevailed 1-0 over League Two Portsmouth in their south coast derby.
Simon Church struck twice for Charlton as the Addicks claimed a comfortable 4-0 success against Oxford with Danny Green and Jordan Cook also on the scoresheet.
Charlie Austin netted on his full debut and Danny Simpson also grabbed a goal as QPR won 2-0 at Exeter, while Nottingham Forest eased to a 3-1 win over Hartlepool as Radoslaw Majewski, Greg Halford and Matt Derbyshire all scored.
Sam Baldock and Jordan Wynter helped Bristol City to a 2-0 win at Gillingham, while Andy Keogh and Martyn Woolford were on target for Millwall in their 2-1 win over AFC Wimbledon.
There was more woe for Coventry after their recent off-field troubles as Kevin Lisbie’s late winner gave Leyton Orient a 3-2 win over the 10-man Sky Blues.
Coventry had trailed 2-1 and were a man down after goalscorer Carl Baker was sent off. Franck Moussa pulled them level, but they were undone by Lisbie’s last-gasp effort, the striker’s second of the game.
Kyle Bartley came to Birmingham’s rescue against Plymouth at St Andrew’s.
The on-loan Swansea defender struck the winner in the second minute of extra-time to give the Blues a 3-2 win. Scott Allen had earlier got a brace for the hosts, with Lewis Alessandra producing a double of his own for Argyle.
Farid El Alagui scored a late winner as Brentford beat Dagenham 3-2, while Bury defeated Crewe by the same scoreline.
Bongani Khumalo got the only goal to see Doncaster past Rochdale, while Peterborough were emphatic 5-1 winners at Colchester and Byron Harrison’s extra-time strike saw Cheltenham win 4-3 in a thriller against Crawley.
Elsewhere, Bolton won 3-1 at Shrewsbury and MK Dons beat Northampton 2-1 – the score by which Burton knocked out Sheffield United and Walsall edged Port Vale.
Andy Williams’ goal saw Swindon beat Torquay 1-0, and Tranmere defeated Mansfield 2-0.
Preston beat Blackpool 1-0 in Monday’s only tie, while Wednesday saw another Championship club fall by the wayside as Carlisle beat Blackburn on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
Wednesday’s other two matches saw a 2-1 Leeds win over Chesterfield and Notts County defeat Fleetwood, 3-2.