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Why it is so hard for many clubs to buy new players in January, and West Ham’s begging letter.

By Tony Attwood

I drove north up the A1 last night to Newark for a little bop around the dance floor and listened (I guess rather stupidly because it always gets me wound up) to various journalists and “experts” (I use the word lightly) commenting on who was going to buy whom this January.

What made the discussion so silly was that the speakers continued their habit of ignoring regulations when it comes to the 25 players who can be registered, forgetting (for example) than Arsenal have to get rid of a player from the 25 if we wish to sign another.

When we did our analysis in the summer we found that although most clubs had not signed their full compliment of 25 players they could only sign one player who was classified as not “home grown” by the FA.

The regulations at the moment mean that of the 25 players over 21 who are registered you can only have 17 non-home grown players.  Most clubs have got to that total – or something very close to it.  It is the “home grown” sections that are not full.

None of this was mentioned by those engaged in the discussion.  They kept on mentioning names right left and centre always without a thought as to whether they had room under the 25 player rule.

A lot of talk was of West Ham who have 16 non-home grown players in their squad, so they could bring in one more if they wished.  There was happy chit chat of them signing far more than this, and mostly they were once again non-home grown.  There was the view that WHU needed “two or three” top class players.   But no mention of who was to be sold, and what they would do if they couldn’t move on the player.

Arsenal are very unusual in having nine home grown players in their squad, and they would be in a very strong position if the proposal of the FA outlined on 25 March 2015 were brought into effect.  For this proposal requires that the number of home grown players in the squad is increased from eight to 12, two of whom would have to have come up through the youth system.

That would mean that 13 players could be non-home grown which would put all teams in trouble.  Worse the definition of home grown would be changed.

Currently, home grown players have to have been with an English or Welsh team for at least three years before the age of twenty-one.  The FA want to reduce the age to 18.   This would mean a teenager would have to be with the club at a maximum age of fifteen.

Unfortunately players are not allowed to move across national boundaries until they are 16, meaning that if a foreign player joined an English youth academy at sixteen, in three years time he would be nineteen. Thus said player would fail to qualify as a homegrown player due to the fact he would be older than eighteen.

That would mean that Wojciech Szczęsny, Francis Coquelin and Damian Martinez would all be excluded from being home grown.   (As indeed they might from a completely different perspective if the UK government ever gets around to taking the UK out of the EU).

The failure of the people who talk up possible transfer deals to acknowledge the restrictions of the rules that control transfers is one of the many reasons why such talk is so pointless.  Along of course with the fact that we were tipped to sign 110 or more players last summer and lose 22 of the players in the 25-man squad who were all about to be poached by other clubs.

Here is Arsenal’s current over 21 squad, with the players in italics being the home grown group.

Player Position DOB
1 Kieran Gibbs LB 26 Sep 1989
2 Aaron Ramsey Mid 26 Dec 1990
3 Theo Walcott Forward 16 Mar 1989
4 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Mid 15 Aug 1993
5 Danny Welbeck Forward 26 Nov 1990
6 Carl Jenkinson RB 8 Feb 1992
7 Emiliano Martinez GK 2 Sep 1992
8 Francis Coquelin DM 13 May 1991
9 Matt Macey GK 9 Sep 1994
10 Mathieu Debuchy RB 28 Jul 1985
11 Per Mertesacker CB 29 Sep 1984
12 Gabriel CB 26 Nov 1990
13 Laurent Koscielny CB 10 Sep 1985
14 Alexis Sanchez Forward 19 Dec 1988
15 Mesut Özil Mid 15 Oct 1988
16 Olivier Giroud Forward 30 Sep 1986
17 David Ospina GK 31 Aug 1988
18 Nacho Monreal LB 26 Feb 1986
19 Santi Cazorla Mid 13 Dec 1984
20 Yaya Sanogo Forward 27 Jan 1993
21 Granit Xhaka CM 27 Sep 1992
22 Petr Cech GK 20 May 1982
23 Mohamed Elneny Mid 11 Jul 1992
24 Shkodran Mustafi CB 17 Apr 1992
25 Lucas Pérez Forward 10 Sep 1988

Of course the under 21’s don’t count in this figure at the moment but they are certainly part of the squad.

Player Position DOB
Rob Holding CB 12 Sep 1995
Alex Iwobi Forward/MF 3 May 1996
Hector Bellerin RB 19 Mar 1995
Chuba Akpom Forward 9 Oct 1995
Jeff Reine-Adelaide Forward 17 Jan 1998

One other point to remember is that we have five members of the First Team Squad out on season long loans, three of whom are home grown.

Player Position Loan Club
Takuma Asano Forward Stuttgart
Joel Campbell Forward Sporting Lisbon
Wojciech Szczesny GK Roma
Calum Chambers CB Middlesbrough
Jack Wilshere Mid Bournemouth

Also it is worth remembering that loans can now only happen within the transfer window (unless a goalkeeper in exceptional circumstances).   So if a team is to be adjusted, January is the time to do it.  Unless the team is Real Madrid who are banned by Fifa from signing players.  Although that has not stopped the media giving us a great list of players who Real Madrid are contemplating taking in January!  The Metro for example has been telling us that Real Mad are going to sign Thibaut Courtois next month.

But let us come back to our old chums State Aid United (formally West Ham).   As noted above they have room for one non-home-grown player.

Interestingly the report specifically excludes Tottenham from the round robin’s list of recipients, reflecting just how bad relationships are between Tottenham, (who are still very coy about the level of borrowing going on for their own ground), and WHU for whom money is now an irrelevance.

While I personally thought that it might have helped Tottenham’s cause to loan Adebayor to West Ham two years ago (in that by that stage the player seemed to be able to cause havoc where ever he went) Daniel Levy wouldn’t even sanction that move, preferring to keep paying the old centre forward for doing nothing rather than letting him soak up some of the tax payers money that State Aid have been granted and quite possibly cause havoc while there.

In terms of Arsenal players wanted by State Aid United Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson are on the list of wants.  Elsewhere they are said to be asking about Rashford, Martial and Smalling as loan signings.

Still as Karren Brady of State Aid United said, and of course we must remember this, “We offer a more dynamic product at an inferior price. It’s been so well received and it comes back to our values and our culture.

“The move has been a complete success on every level … Be in no doubt, we are part of the most successful stadium migration in history.”

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8 comments to Why it is so hard for many clubs to buy new players in January, and West Ham’s begging letter.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Arsenal’s midfield enforcers/deeplying/playmaker: Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, Moh’ Elneny, Santi Cazorla* Aaron Ramsey* & Mesut Ozil. (6 in numbers). * indicates injured or injury prone and are currently not available to play with their return to action far or not certain. Thus leaving us with only 4 midfielders out of which Ozil is a permanent playmaker which then leaves us with only Coquelin, Xhaka & Elneny to be manning our base till the rest of Cazorla & Ramsey sidelined can return and remain returned.

    Hmmn, Walcott, Oxchambo & Iwobi are considered to be wide players so I don’t count them as true midfielders in our squad. But in the true sense of it, do we need a top goals scoring attacking versatile midfielder as a security to safeguard our PL & CL campaigns from failing away during the months of Jan/ Feb/ Mar due to constant injury absentees in our team in terms of winning the two titles if Le Prof can find one early in the January window at a bargain price?

    West Ham’s Dimitri Payet said he wouldn’t mind if Le Prof asks him to come to Arsenal to play in the Champions League. A league playing in that’s been missing on his CV. But if Le Prof does eventually traded one of his full backs for Payet’s coming, (I am tempted to suggest), but I won’t mention any name. However, let Payet knows that his coming to Arsenal will not be to have fun there but to work very hard and be diligent in service to the cause of Arsenal.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Arsenal’s midfield enforcers/deeplying/playmaker: Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, Moh’ Elneny, Santi Cazorla* Aaron Ramsey* & Mesut Ozil. (6 in numbers). * Indicates injured or injury prone and are currently not available to play with their return to action dates far or not certain. Thus leaving us with only 4 midfielders out of which Ozil is a permanent playmaker which then leaves us with only Coquelin, Xhaka & Elneny to be manning our base till the rest of Cazorla & Ramsey sidelined can return and remain returned.

    Hmmn, I am of a view Le Prof doesn’t need to sign any player in January as there is no vacancy in his team to accommodate a new arrival. But after a second thought, I decided to take another look at the prevailing 2 injuries situation in our midfield. While I consider Walcott, Oxchambo & Iwobi to be wide players so I don’t count them as true midfielders in our squad. But in the true sense of it, does Le Prof needs to sign a top goals scoring attacking versatile midfielder as a security to safeguard our PL & CL campaigns from failing away during the tough months of Jan-Feb-Mar campaign in all competitions due to the constant injury absentees in our 1st team midfield in terms of winning the two titles if Le Prof can find one early in the January window at a bargain price?

    West Ham’s Dimitri Payet has said he wouldn’t mind if Le Prof asks him to come to Arsenal to play in the Champions League. A league playing in that’s been missing on his CV. But if Le Prof does eventually traded one of his full backs for Payet’s coming, (I am tempted to think he might), but I won’t mention any name. However, let Payet knows that his coming to Arsenal will not be to have fun there but to work very hard and be diligent in service to the cause of Arsenal.

  • MickHazel

    Draxler signs for PSG to the delight of the blogettas and the likes of the Daily Star, Express etc who can now come out with their ‘Arsenal snubbed by Draxler’ or ‘Wenger fails to sign top target’ and similar bullshit.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Slaven Bilic’s West Ham are in dear need and desperate to have a full back among others. But does Le Prof has one who at the moment he considers him to be surplus to requirement in his 1st team squad who West Ham will accept?

    If Le Prof has one, would he like to cash in on West Ham’s desperation to have one by trading him by barter plus a little cash on the bargain to buy one of West Ham’s top midfielder if the Hammers will agree to let him go and Le Prof wants to buy him or have him on loan with a view to make the loan permanent later? Hmmn.

  • Gord

    Wasn’t there a blurb in the news a little while ago, about Real Madrid and an appeal?

  • Gord

    Maybe not. All I see at CAS is Barcelona

    > 14 December 2016
    > CAS 2016/A/4557 Khiereddine Merzougui v. Commission Nationale Antidopage Algérienne & Fédération Algérienne de Football

    > CAS 2016/A/4633 Barcelona Sporting Club v. FIFA & Federación Ecuatoriana de Fútbol

    I don’t see anything at FIFA (using Google to search by date).

  • Gord

    WorldFootball.net has a note from Dec 20, that Real Madrid had their transfer restriction reduced by CAS.

    https://www.worldfootball.net/news/_n2552820_/real-madrid-transfer-ban-reduced-by-cas/

    > But after an appeal the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) partially overturned the FIFA sentence, with Real still banned from recruiting in the upcoming January window.

  • Porter

    May has consistently made offers to guarantee the rights of EU citizens providing it’s reciprocated so the pole in goal and le Coq will not be affected once Junker gets off his high horse and agrees.

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