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Preston's work permit history in focus as Xavi Quintilla move under threat

Preston want Xavi Quintilla but face a nervous wait to find out whether he will be granted a work permit to play in England.

It’s no surprise to see Preston looking to sign a new left wing back this summer.

Greg Cunningham will be a solid squad player next season but there are fears about his injury history whilst Josh Earl just isn’t cut out for a left wing back role.

Ryan Lowe will be looking for a wing back who can provide a real attacking threat and he had picked out Spanish ace Quintilla as a target.

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Preston want Xavi Quintilla

Lancs Live noted earlier this week that Quintilla is a target for Preston this summer.

We understand that Quintilla has been on the radar for a couple of months now and had emerged as North End’s top left wing back target.

Quintilla is owned by Villarreal but spent this past season on loan at second-tier side Leganes.

The 25-year-old was on loan at Norwich City in the 2020-21 season and was noted for his crossing and set-piece ability.

Quintilla would be a fascinating addition for Preston but there is a problem.

Quintilla must apply for a work permit to play in England and a points-based system has been brought in due to Brexit.

This situation has left Preston fans a little confused.

Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

If Quintilla is based off coming from Villarreal – a Champions League semi-finalist – then Preston would may have a chance of a deal though his lack of minutes is a problem.

Yet if Quintilla is judged off his Leganes season, the deal may not be given the go-ahead after starting just 10 league games this past season.

Preston face a waiting game as Quintilla’s move is thrown into doubt and North End’s history with work permits isn’t great.

Fans of a certain age will remember two instances where David Moyes targeted interesting foreign recruits.

Bermudan trialist Steve Astwood showed potential at just 18 in 2000 and Moyes wanted a deal to be done but the Home Office rejected that attempt.

Astwood ended up spending his entire career in Bermuda and picked up 26 caps for his country.

Just months later, Moyes wanted Canadian utility man Jason Bent but again saw a work permit application rejected.

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Bent would have been arriving from Colorado Rapids in 2001 but the move was blocked. To Moyes’ frustration, Bent then ended up joining another English team in Plymouth Argyle and spent three years there before retiring at the age of just 29 due to injuries.

Skip forward to 2007 and Preston wanted to sign American midfielder Greg Dalby after seeing potential in him with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the US collegiate system.

The deal was agreed but Dalby was refused a work permit and instead headed off to Belgium with Charleroi. That move didn’t really work for Dalby and he was back in the States just a year later, joining Colorado Rapids.

By 2011, Dalby had retired. Now 36, Dalby is an assistant coach with the Penn State Nittany Lions in America.

One American who did enjoy some work permit success with Preston was Eddie Lewis.

Preston signed the Fulham winger back in 2002 but his initial work permit application was rejected before a successful appeal.

Lewis went on to play more than 100 league games for Preston and that appeal certainly proved to be worthwhile.

Let’s just hope that Quintilla heads the same way as Lewis rather than Astwood, Bent and Dalby in years gone by.

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