Premier League

Solhekol reveals Long issue


Sky Sports journalist Kaveh Solhekol shared that New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long couldn’t get a work permit to join West Ham due to not playing enough games for the USA.

Sky Sports previously reported that West Ham wanted to sign the 26-year-old centre-back but couldn’t complete a deal as he couldn’t get a work permit, and Solhekol shared that it was due to him only playing 55.5% of the USA’s games over the last two years.

Solhekol claimed that Long needed to have played 60% in order to get a work permit, but added that the intermediates involved in the deal were trying to find a way to skirt around the rules.

“Now the reason he can’t get a work permit, the rules are really really complicated, but he just misses out,” said Solhekol on Sky Sports News (19:14, Friday, July 26th).

“He needs to have played in 60% of the US’s games over the last two years and he has only played in 55.5%, so he misses out by 4.5% and some of the intermediates in this deal are so upset about this, that they have contacted the Sport Minister, they’ve emailed her to complain about this to see if there is anyone they can get around the rules.

“They’re telling me common sense has to prevail as to how can it be that the best defender in the USA can’t get a work permit to play in the Premier League.

“The USA are our steadfast allies, they should shift between US and UK, I could go on and on, but they want this guy to come and play for West Ham and he wants to play for West Ham.

“Aaron Long, the best defender in the MLS.”

Jim White then responded to Solhekol’s update to cheekily suggest that West Ham co-owner David Sullivan rent out his holiday home in order to try to get Long a work permit, as they have to do something.

“Wow, David Sullivan could rent out his holiday home as something, they’ve got to do something!” joked White.


West Ham want Long and Long wants West Ham, and it seems only the pesky issue of a work permit is standing in the way of both parties. While it seems very harsh that the 26-year-old is being denied a work permit based on Solhekol’s explanation, it seems unlikely that the rules will be ignored on this occasion. After all, if the rules are snubbed, then they’re not worth the paper their written on and it could soon cause chaos. White may joke about Sullivan renting his holiday home to make it clear the Hammers have to do something regarding the defender, their hands are clearly tied on this occasion. It is disappointing, but the Hammers just have to move on rather than cry over split milk. Long would have been a positive addition to the Hammers squad, after wowing so much so in his 2018 campaign that he was named MLS Defender of the Year, and now the club have to target someone equally as good. The 26-year-old has scored one goal in 12 league appearances during his current campaign and has won a very impressive 4.9 aerial duels per game in his outings (Source: WhoScored).

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