The final hurdle has been cleared and Doneil Henry is now set to complete his move to West Ham United. On Monday afternoon he application for a work permit was approved that means he now only have to wait for the January transfer window to open to officially complete his transfer.
It has been an interesting journey for Henry to go from Toronto to London via Cyprus. The confusing elements of the journey are what made it all possible though. If Henry had been able to receive a work permit last January he would have completed his move to West Ham a year sooner. The move would have come on the back of his second successful training stint at the club but his Canadian passport was a huge obstacle to receiving a work permit. Given Canada's low World ranking his application was not going to get approved without some sort of drastic change.
With the big hurdles in mind the player, club, and his agent spent the last year doing what they had to do to ensure that today yielded a positive result. By Toronto FC selling the player to Apollon Limassol, Henry was officially employed in Cyprus and was able to purchase property. That was really all that he needed to do to put himself in position to receive a Cypriot passport. After that it was just a waiting game and he was able to continue to play for Toronto FC while on loan from Apollon who owned his rights.
Fast forward nearly a full year and Henry had a much stronger case to present when seeking a work permit. That improved case was still not a slam dunk but it proved to be enough to get the job done as Henry had him permit granted and will be able to complete his move.
It will be interesting to see what role Henry plays at West Ham starting in January as the club currently find themselves flying high at fourth place in the Premier League. They have boasted a strong defensive record this season allowing just 19 goals in 17 matches so Henry may have a hard time breaking his way into the first team. He could wind up out on loan to continue his development for the rest of the season which might be good for the young CB who will be in need of consistent playing time.
Toronto FC will have gotten a decent return for the player's transfer and now Apollon will get some money for helping to complete the move but in the end, the key is that Henry will get the chance that he wanted to play in a top league in Europe.