Blades granted work permit for Li Tie

July 6, 2006

China international Li Tie will join Sheffield United next week after being granted a work permit.

The 28-year-old defender was released by Everton at the end of last season following an unhappy campaign plagued by injury.

But United quickly moved in and he will become manager Neil Warnock's fifth capture of the summer.

Warnock has already signed Mikele Leigertwood, David Sommeil, Christian Nade and Claude Davis, with the latter also today granted a work permit.

All Li now requires is a visa, with the midfielder expected to join in pre-season training next week.

Li's arrival on a two-year contract strengthens United's links with China as they own the Chengdu Blades, a Chinese B-league team.

Despite his injury woes, Warnock has revealed Li is fit as he said: 'Li came on as a substitute in two Chinese international matches last month and is currently training with Chengdu Blades.

'We are looking forward to him joining in with pre-season training when his visa is in place.'

Chairman Terry Robinson and Warnock were required to attend a Home Office work permit tribunal in Sheffield to acquire Davis' permit.

The Jamaica centre-back became United's record signing at £2.5million last month when he moved to Bramall Lane from Preston.

Understandably, Robinson is relieved the matter has been resolved.

'We were aware of the situation when Claude signed and knew that we would have to re-apply, as he would have had to do whichever club he ultimately joined,' said Robinson.

'This is one of the vagaries of the system in ensuring non-EU players are of a sufficient calibre to continue their careers in England.'