Bristol City still in talks to make fourth summer signing with French U21 goalkeeper in sights

A three-year deal has been agreed but the Robins have since hit several obstacles in completing the free transfer.

Bristol City still hope to sign French goalkeeper Stefan Bajic who is available on a free transfer.

It was widely reported a few weeks ago that a three-year deal has been agreed between the 20-year-old and the West Country outfit.

BristolWorld understands this to be true and that Nigel Pearson plans to recruit the goalkeeper to compete with Dan Bentley to be City’s goalkeeper this coming season.

Max O’Leary, called up to the Republic of Ireland squad again this summer, is to be allowed to depart the Robins on loan, and further develop before returning to Ashton Gate to compete for the no.1 position.

Supporters have been eager to know what has happened with the transfer with little news since the initial reports.

A hold-up in the signing has been due to gathering the correct paperwork and completing the procedures needed to gain a work permit for the former Pau goalkeeper.

Due to Brexit, the process for signing players from abroad is different and any incomings must satisfy various criteria aimed at protecting the interests of our national game.

The FA announced in 2020 that post Brexit clubs will not be able to sign players freely from the EU. Players from EU countries who want to play in the Premier League or EFL will be required to gain a GBE (Governing Body Endorsement), like all other overseas players without the right to work in the UK.

The GBE operates a points-based system, where points are scored for senior and talented young players based on:

• Senior and youth international appearances

• Quality of the selling club, based on the league they are in, league position and progression in continental competition

• Club appearances, based on domestic league and continental competition minutes

Players accumulating the requisite amount of points will earn a GBE automatically, while players just below the threshold may be considered for a GBE by an Exceptions Panel.

Max O’Leary could feature for Ireland over the next week after being called up. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Max O’Leary could feature for Ireland over the next week after being called up. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Max O’Leary could feature for Ireland over the next week after being called up. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

The FA says that the ‘system meets the joint objectives of the Premier League, EFL and the FA allowing access to the best players and future talent for clubs, as well as safeguarding England teams, by ensuring opportunities for homegrown players’.

Bajic’s potential signing would be carefully analysed as to whether all conditions are met.

As well as gaining a work permit, the player has had to overcome an injury recently, which the club has been careful to make sure is fully resolved, as per every new signing.

Sources at Bristol City believe that the transfer will still go through however, and that the France U21 international, who played earlier this year against Northern Ireland U21s, will switch to the West Country.

And Bajic himself may have hinted at the deal being close, by posting that he was flying somewhere on Monday on his Instagram story.

The Robins are expected to send out several young players on loan to help them progress over the coming months via more first-team football chances and competing in men’s football rather than in the U23s.

BristolWorld asked Bristol City for comment but none was given.