Liverpool’s Argentine midfielder Sebastian Leto has been denied a work permit to play in England next season.
The 21-year-old, from Lanus for a fee of around £2m in 2007, was granted an Italian passport last summer but it was subsequently revoked.
That left Leto requiring a work permit but Liverpool’s application was turned down by the Department of Work and Pensions.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez feels the decision is unfair.
“I am disappointed and it was a surprise because this is a player who has played in the Champions League and been in the Argentina squad for the Olympic Games,” Benitez told Liverpool’s website.
“You have managers talking about how good he is, so I think the system needs to change.
“Now we have to look for a solution, maybe find a team for him on loan, but we have maybe eight or 10 teams in Spain, Italy and Greece asking about him.
“When you have eight or 10 teams asking about a player and he’s not playing, it means that he is good.”
Despite the setback, Benitez remains confident that Leto still has a future at Anfield.
“He has a long contract, and I think he can impress and next year will be a different situation,” he continued.
Leto played four times for Liverpool last season in the Champions League and Carling Cup but has yet to make his Premier League debut for the club.