As Cristiano Ronaldo is now a free agent, people will naturally wonder what the rules are around other English clubs potentially signing and registering him before the January transfer window.
A few English clubs and several overseas sides have been subsequently linked with the Portuguese superstar’s signature, Chelsea being one of them. football.london understand that the Blues sounded out a move for Ronaldo in July. The Athletic then reported that Todd Boehly met with the striker’s agent Jorge Mendes in the summer to discuss a number of topics. However, Thomas Tuchel was a roadblock in negotiations, and the deal eventually collapsed. Whether Graham Potter is of a similar opinion remains to be seen.
But can Chelsea even register the 37-year-old before the winter market officially opens? The answer is yes, though there are a few rules that need explaining first. With that in mind, football.london has taken a look at why Ronaldo can sign for Chelsea before the January transfer window below.
Rules around registration
At the beginning of the season, every Premier League club was asked to submit a 25-man squad. Under current rules, no more than 17 players in a squad can be non-homegrown, but those players can be of any nationality or age. The remaining members of the first-team squad have to be homegrown.
However, the 25-man squad can be supplemented by an unlimited number of under-21s – it doesn’t matter if they’re a regular part of the club’s senior squad or their nationality. For example, in Chelsea’s case, the likes of Armando Broja and Carney Chukwuemeka have been named as under-21s this season.
On the other hand, a player cannot represent more than two Premier League clubs in one season. Having only represented Manchester United thus far, Ronaldo‘s eligible to play for another club this campaign.
Now that he’s a free agent, his situation is different to the norm because he doesn’t necessarily have to make a move in the transfer window. Instead, as long as a side can register him as a non-homegrown player and add him to their squad list, he will be able to make a permanent switch to a new team almost immediately.
Although there’s plenty of other suitors around, Chelsea have been mooted as a potential destination. As aforementioned, Boehly has been interested in the past, but whether Potter will be interested in bringing him – even on a short-term deal – remains to be seen. The Englishman is at the very beginning of his project at Stamford Bridge, and he may want to build with youth instead of bringing in a superstar at the end of his career.
Still, considering the rules, Chelsea can hypothetically register Ronaldo before the January window because they only have 15 non-homegrown players on their books, two lower than the maximum of 17. In addition, they also have spaces free within that 25-man squad to sign and register a new player.
Can Ronaldo immediately play?
Even though he can technically be registered before January, Ronaldo won’t be able to play for two domestic games. That’s because he’s been fined £50,000 and handed a two-game suspension by the FA for knocking a fan’s mobile phone to the ground against Everton last April. He was charged with ‘improper and/or violent’ conduct.