Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Brazilian youngster Wellington Silva will play out the rest of the season on loan in Spain after the Home Office turned down his application for a work permit.
Despite their attempts to complete the move for the promising Fluminense forward in December, the Gunners will instead have to wait a little while longer before being able to unleash the 18-year-old in the Premier League.
The Frenchman had been hoping to hand the Samba starlet some first-team experience at Emirates Stadium in the second half of the season.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup Third Round clash against Leeds United on Saturday, Wenger admitted that Wellington’s arrival would be delayed, as only one application for a work permit is considered per season.
"He has been turned down for his work permit, which means he cannot play in England and will certainly go to Spain on loan," he said.
"We can only ask for one work permit per season so we have to wait until at least the end of the season [for him] to come back. Hopefully he does well in the Spanish championship and that gives him a better chance to get it."
Should the worst case scenario – that Wellington fails to gain a work permit again next year – occur, the skilful forward may have to spend the next four years in Spain in order to gain Spanish citizenship, before finally being allowed to join Arsenal under EU employment rules.
Wellington was part of the Brazil U17 squad at the 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup, despite being a year younger than his fellow team-mates.
He has scored five goals in 11 appearances for the national feeder team.
By Elliott Binkscomments