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UEFA's unexpected announcement have handed clubs transfer bonus

Forget 23-man squads for the final, earlier match times, a fourth substitute in extra-time or winners' badges on shirt sleeves, UEFA's unexpected announcement on Tuesday morning could yet affect United's transfer plans.

Buried in the penultimate paragraph of the 501-word statement was perhaps one of the more headlining-grabbing changes to the rules of Europe's most prestigious club competitions.


‘Regarding the registration of players after a group stage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, a club may register three new eligible players without any restrictions,’ it read.

'This is in line with the existing regulatory situation in the different domestic leagues, which does not impose restrictions on the eligibility for competitions of players registered for a new club during the winter transfer window.'

In layman's terms, if you play for one club in the group stages of the Champions League or the Europa League, you can now play for a different team in the knockout stages of each competition.

And that could have a huge bearing on clubs’ transfer plans. Sure, Barcelona signed Philippe Coutinho and Arsenal bought Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang when they knew they would be ineligible for the knockout stages of their respective European odysseys, but the rule change will surely encourage clubs to do more business in January.

After Alexis Sanchez's struggles, will United be among them?

There will be some fans who will argue they would have been better off without the Chilean against Sevilla, after an awful performance in the second-leg, but his eligibility was initially hailed as an added bonus.

United, Mourinho later claimed, were left with no other option but to take a mid-season punt.

“What is wrong is that he came at the worst moment – in the winter market. That’s why I don’t like the winter market very much. I think this was a chance that we didn’t want to lose and we made it," he said.

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