Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

6 Players We May Not Have Seen in the Premier League Had Britain Left the EU Sooner

It's happened. Britain have left the EU, meaning that there will be significant changes in the way that certain organisations run and conduct their business, not least football clubs, and more specifically, the FA.


Regulations around signing European players are going to become stricter, meaning that work permits must be obtained to show the player is an established international, and European citizenships cannot be used to bypass certain barriers. In the long term, the number of foreign players playing in the Premier League is going to decrease dramatically.


On that note, here are six players we may not have been able to watch week in week out in the Premier League had Britain left the EU sooner rather than now.

1. Dimitri Payet

Leicester City v West Ham United - Premier League

​Classed as one of the signings of the season, Dimitri Payet arrived at West Ham from Marseille at the start of last season for £10m, and immediately made an impact in the claret and blue.


He lit up the Premier League stage week in, week out, from his masterful trickery on the ball, to his magical free-kicks that left fans gawping. Payet was instrumental in helping his side to an impressive seventh place finish, confirming European football at their new home - the Olympic Stadium.


It could have all been so different for the Hammers, however. Payet would have struggled to gain a work permit in Britain due to his lowly professional status before his move to east London, as well as having only made in senior international debut three years earlier.

2. N'Golo Kante

Aston Villa v Leicester City - Premier League

​A complete unknown less than 12 months ago, N'Golo Kante is now considered one of the top defensive midfielders in Europe, with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona amongst his many admirers.


After joining Leicester in a £5.6m deal last summer, Kante's unbelievable work-rate and composure under pressure, as well as breaking the record for a number of tackles made in a single season (149), was one of, if not the contributing factor to their historic league title victory and qualification for Champions League football next season.


The scouting work from Steve Walsh - who also brought Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez to the club - would have been for nothing had Britain left the EU last summer. His lowly football upbringing in Lique 2 side Caen, as well as only making his senior international debut in March of this year, would not have been enough to gain a work permit, thus missing out on a raw talent.

3. Anthony Martial

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League

​Anthony Martial had only made three appearances as a 16-year-old for Lyon when he was bought for €5m by Monaco in 2013. Two years later, he became one of the most expensive teenagers in history when Manchester United splashed out £36m plus add ons on the 19-year-old.


Straight away, the youngster proved his worth, scoring four goals in his first four games for the club, ending the season with 17 goals in all competitions having just turned 20. Martial was a bright spark in a poor season or United, and looks to set the Premier League stage alight in the coming years after winning the 'Golden Boy' award this season (Europe's best U21 player).


The incredible and controversial signing of the youngster may never have happened though. Martial's young age and lack of footballing experience would have severely affected his application for a work permit, and Martin Tyler would never have exclaimed "OHH YESSS".

4. Diego Costa

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-MAN CITY

​The pantomime villain we all love to hate. Diego Costa arrived from Atletico Madrid in 2014 with an impressive goal record for the La Liga side (43 goals in 94 games), and has carried on that consistent form at Stamford Bridge (32 goals in 54 games), picking up a Premier League title in his first season, along with a few broken noses and a handful of red cards.


However, the Spanish international may have never been allowed to play for Atletico in the first place had it not been for his European citizenship gaining him access to Spain without a work permit.


Brazilian born, and despite being granted Spanish nationality in 2013, Costa would have struggled to make it through passport control without his work permit. Many a defender would have blown a sign of relief, however for what he is, Diego Costa is still a raw talent that Premier League viewers love to watch.

5. Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League

​The Anfield magician arrived at Liverpool from Inter Milan in the January transfer window of the 2012/13 season, and immediately become an icon in the red shirt.


He would have become a legend if he and his team mates picked up their first modern day Premier League title had it not been for that infamous slip and Crystal Palace crumble. That aside, the Brazilian has been influential in Liverpool's progression into title and European contenders, culminating in their Europa League final appearance in May this year.


Coutinho may not have gone on to even make 1 appearance for the Reds, let alone 107 with 21 goals. Like Costa, the midfielder skipped the work permit when he arrived in Italy from Brazil, and would still be plying his trade in Serie A had Brexit occurred sooner.

6. Romelu Lukaku

Everton v Norwich City - Premier League

​Towering Belgium international Romelu Lukaku arrived in England with west London club Chelsea in 2011, having scored 33 goals in 73 appearances for Anderlecht.


Two loan moves later, and Lukaku had established himself as a goalscoring target man, capable of dominating defences with his power and speed, earning him a move to Everton in 2014 for £28m. Since then, he has proved his doubters back at Chelsea wrong, scoring 28 goals in 73 appearances for the Toffees, securing himself as one of the league's top strikers, and attracting the attention of some of the biggest clubs in the world.


Roman Abramovich would have probably been disappointed in the lack of game time the Belgium had at Chelsea, but even more so had he not even been allowed into the country.


Lukaku's entry to Britain at the age of 18 would have been turned down, with the 6ft 3in youngster remaining in Belgium, where another European league would have had the privilege to watch Romelu transform into the, at times, unstoppable force he is today.