Blues close on Alex switch
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chelsea have taken a major step in their bid to sign Alex by applying for a work permit.Chelsea have taken a major step forward in their bid to sign Alex by applying for a work permit.
The Brazilian arrived at Heathrow Airport on Sunday to discuss personal terms and was cleared to enter the country.
However, after a small delay, he opted to return home voluntarily - scotching suggestions that he had been barred from the UK.
The PSV Eindhoven defender is not yet a Chelsea player and is legally entitled to enter the country to undertake contract talks.
A statement issued by Chelsea said: "Alex was due to arrive into England yesterday to discuss personal terms.
"Chelsea Football Club are in the process of applying for a work permit for the player in line with normal football and employment procedure.
"At airport immigration there was a request to clarify Alex's current status. All of the paperwork for his entry was in order.
"After an initial delay, he was cleared to enter the country. He chose voluntarily to fly back but will return when necessary."
However, a Home Office spokesman, while not prepared to discuss individual cases, said: "We have a duty to ensure that the public are aware of, and have confidence in, the security in place at the border, which is for their protection.
"Visitors to the UK also need to be aware of the presence of immigration officers and that they will be subject to checks before being granted entry to this country."
Alex is now likely to undergo a hearing in the near future to assess whether or not he meets the criteria for a work permit.
Guidelines require that a player must have played for his country in at least 75 per cent of their competitive 'A' games in which he was available for selection, during the two years preceding the date of the application.