by the Untold Team
Before we start picking up again on all the crazy transfer rumours that the newspapers and bloggettas are starting to invent, in order to save them doing any reporting, here is our first stab (created by Andrew, who writes the ref previews and reports on under 21s and under 18s) at “what I think our squad for next year might look like”.
As a ‘Starter for ten’ I have assumed that all of our existing squad will wish to remain with the club for next year – unfortunately I can’t see squad places being available for all of them so there may well be some forced departures (possibly including some who have been with the team for a long while).
I have looked at all 59 of our players with professional contracts, including those at U21 level and out on loan. Clearly not all of them can remain with the club, here are my guesses as to where most of them will end up.
Goalkeepers – Slots 1 & 2 of 25
- 1st choice – Petr Cech
- 2nd Choice one of – Wojciech Szczesny (HG), David Ospina, Deyan Iliev (HG), Matt Macey (HG) or Emiliano Martinez (HG). Of the other four, two to be loaned out and two to be sold.
- 3rd Choice Ryan Huddart (U21)
Centre Backs – Slots 3, 4, 5 & 6 of 25
Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel, Calum Chambers (HG)
If we need an extra over 21 squad place, there is an option of going with three of the Centre Backs I have named above and promoting Julio Pleguezuelo to the first team squad to make up numbers. Personally if we need to have an U21 player in this position I would far rather it be Wout Faes who was so impressive for Anderlecht in the recent U19 game. In two years or so he has the potential to be a real star in this position.
Right Back – Slots 7 & 8 of 25
- First Choice – Hector Bellerin (HG)
- Second Choice – Carl Jenkinson (HG)
Left Back – Slots 9 & 10 of 25
- First Choice – Nacho Monreal
- Second Choice – Kieran Gibbs (HG)
Defensive Midfield – Slots 11 & 12 of 25
- First Choice – Francis Coquelin (HG)
- Second Choice – NEW SIGNING. [Intercept here from Tony – discoverer of Coquelin. “I think that Elneny, from the few times we have seen him, is a player who can play both box to box and DM. He was ludicrously underpriced because he was on no one else’s radar, and should be expected to play a lot. I wouldn’t bring in a new signing here].
Box to Box Midfield – Slots 13, 14 &15 of 25
- First Choice – Santi Cazorla
- Second Choice – Aaron Ramsey (HG)
- Third choice – Mohamed Elneny
Attacking Midfield – Slots 16 and 17 of 25
- First Choice – Mesut Özil
- Second Choice – Alex Iwobi (U21)
- Third Choice – Jack Wilshere (HG)
- Squad Midfielders – Slots 18 &19 of 25
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (HG)
- Isaac Hayden (HG)
- Jon Toral (HG)
Right Wing – Slots 20 & 21 of 25
- 1 – Danny Welbeck (HG)
- 2 – Joel Campbell
- Serge Gnabry (U21)
Left Wing – Slots 22 & 23 of 25
- 1 – Alexis
- 2 – Wellington or NEW SIGNING
Centre Forward – Slots 24 & 25 of 25
- First Choice – NEW SIGNING (if World Class player available)
- Second Choice – Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott (HG) (the other to be sold if new signing arrives)
- Third Choice – Chuba Akpom (U21)
Likely to be released, sold or transferred to the training staff
Thomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Mathieu Debuchy
Likely to be Loaned out (or possibly sold)
Gedion Zelalem, Dan Crowley, Yaya Sanogo, Glen Kamara
Likely to be in the U21 squad
Aged 17 (at 01/01/2016) – Yassin Fortune, Tolaji Bola, Jordi Osei-Tutu
Aged 18 – Stephy Mavididi, Hugo Keto, Ben Sheaf, Chris Willock, Kaylen Hinds, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Kristopher Da Graca, Krystian Bielik, Ismael Bennacer, Chiori ohnson, Aaron Eyoma, Tyrell Robinson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Age 19 – Tafari Moore, Julio Pleguezuelo, Stephan O’Connor
Squad Size 25 (plus 2 U21)
Homegrown – between 10 and 12
New outside signings 3 – Defensive Midfield [Tony says no on this one], Left Wing and Centre Forward (but don’t ask me to suggest names).
Of the three positions I would expect a World Class CF to cost the best part of £100m, a DM probably £40m and a Left Wing probably £30m so yes I think we can afford them if we can find them (well two out of the three anyway).
We are so used to quality players coming through the ranks (Bellerin and Coquelin are the two most recent stars, and clearly Iowi and Jeff Adelaide are also going to come through, with Zelalem expected to follow up shortly) that it is interesting to reflect that at Chelsea, with all their money, and their massive number of players on loan every year (33 at the last count) the last player to come through the youth ranks at Chelsea into the first-team is still John Terry, whose emergence pre-dates the Russian Revolution.
Yet Abramovich has spent mega money on the academy, and has put some of the young players on large salaries, but the return on investment would be enough to make any finance director’s hair drop out.
So how come Arsenal can bring through Bellerin and Coquelin, and be patient with Walcott, the Ox, Ramsey, Gibbs, Campbell, etc etc, but still bring them through at the right moment?
The answer is that Chelsea hire and fire one manager a year on average, so the manager never gets to know the kiddies potential. Ancelotti did bring Patrick van Aanholt, Jeffrey Bruma and Gael Kakuta into the squad in 2010, but dropped them again at the first sign of a dip.
Interestingly the recent rise of Tottenham has been based on the rise of the players who have come through over time.
Of course it is sometimes said that Arsenal only brought Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin through because of injuries, but that is to simplify matters. Hector had been lurking around the edges getting a minute or two here and there for a couple of years. Francis had been getting first team games off and on over four years in between loans.
The analysis above about who we can bring into the squad shows that we have a wide choice of youngsters coming through, and the reason is the stability of the club. That is what makes it work.
- It’s time for positive supporters to take on the clowns
- With video technology on the way accuracy levels in refereeing and Mike Riley’s odd numbers will come under scrutiny.
The anniversaries (index to 4600 anniversaries across the years is here)
- 9 March 1889: Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1. Thus far Arsenal had won two and lost one game against Tottenham with one abandoned (with Tottenham ahead). Full index of early games v Tottenham is here
- 9 March 1906: The Manchester Evening News referred to Arsenal as the Gunners – one of the earliest (and perhaps even the earliest) references to this nickname, in the press.
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