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The real transfer story: How much space does each team have in its squad?

By Tony Attwood

One of the criticisms Untold has repeatedly made of the TTT (transfer tittle tattle) that is so beloved by the newspaper websites and their bloggetta coat-tail hangers on, is that none of the rumours take any account of a simple known fact – how much space each club has in its 25 man squad.

By the start of last September we knew the situation within each club and I think alone among the commentators published a list of exactly where each club stood.  To reiterate the simple facts, each club is only allowed at the moment to have 17 overseas players aged over 21, and can make up the total of 25 registered players by incorporating a further eight homegrown players.

Homegrown players relate to where the players was registered in his early years, not to his nationality.  Thus Francis Coquelin who has just left is French, but also registered as homegrown.  These regulations are likely to change considerably once the UK leaves the EU, although no details have been put forward as yet, save the fact that EU citizens living in the UK already will be allowed to stay.

Here is where things stood for some of the teams we concerned ourselves with on 1 September 2017.  The final column (“Next Buy”) shows what the club has to do or could do as the next transfer move.  Thus as we published, Arsenal’s next move had to be to release one of their 25 players before they registered anyone else because Arsenal had 25 registered players aged over 21 on the qualifying date.

And this is exactly what the club has done by selling Francis Coquelin.

Club Squad total (max 25) Overseas (max 17) Homegrown players Next buy
Arsenal 25 16 9 Release anyone
Chelsea 21 17 4 Homegrown
Liverpool 25 15 10 Release anyone
Manchester City 18 14 4 No restriction
Manchester United 25 15 10 Release anyone
Tottenham Hotspur 20 16 4 Anyone

What made these figures interesting was how several of the clubs in the list did not have their full compliment of 25 players.  These clubs have a benefit – they have more flexibility now – and a disadvantage – a sudden run of injuries could quite seriously affect them.

Clubs with the full compliment of eight or more home grown players have, of course, the need to sell a player before they can recruit, and those with a full compliment of overseas players have a particular difficulty in that all they can recruit are the comparatively rare home grown players.

This is what has happened so far in terms of this transfer window: which isn’t very much. Mavropanos does not affect Arsenal’s position in relation to its 25 because he is under 21.  However Coquelin does, because he was listed in the 25 as a home grown player.  His departure means Arsenal now have one space, and the fact that Arsenal had exceeded the minimum homegrown requirement means that they are still free to bring in anyone they wish.

Club Players in Home Players out Home Next
Arsenal Mavropanos No Coquelin Yes Buy 1
Chelsea Barkley Yes     Buy home
Liverpool Virgil van Dijk No Philippe Coutinho No Release anyone
Man C         No restriction
Man U         Release anyone
Tottenham         Buy anyone

Three of our  featured teams have had no relevant activity thus far. Here’s what each club can or must do next in terms of players who are not classified for this season as under 21.

Arsenal can buy one player without concern to nationality.

Chelsea, despite having brought in one home grown still can’t trade in the European market without selling someone – if they want to keep their squad, all they can do is buy home grown.

Liverpool need to remove one player from their 25 squad before buying a new player, but then are free to buy any nationality.

Man City can bring in up to three players of any nationality.

Man U need to release a player before they can bring in a new one.

Tottenham can bring in one player of any nationality, before they face restrictions and can only bring in home grown players.

In terms of Arsenal’s list of 25 registered players the ones who look most likely to move to make way for new recruits are

Akpom, Chuba: home grown but so far has been unable to break back into the team since his injury.

Debuchy, Mathieu: constant talk of him leaving last summer.

Iliev, Deyan: we have four keepers registered in the list, as opposed to the normal three, with one under 21 keeper as the final backup.  However he is considered to be very talented, and so is probably unlikely to go, just in case of two keeper injuries at once.

Ozil, Mesut: you’ll know all the talk of him leaving.

Sanchez, Alexis: same as Ozil.

Walcott, Theo James: home grown but having slipped down the pecking order.

So we have a place, and the bloggettas as always have a looooooooong list of all the players we are just on the edge of signing (without any thought that we can only buy one without selling another).

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4 comments to The real transfer story: How much space does each team have in its squad?

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony,

    We mustn’t lose sight that some of our loanees are strongly rumoured to have season long deals terminated in January.

    Jenkinson and Bramall are both over 21, neither are getting game time at Birmingham.

    Joel Campbell is in a similar situation on Spain.

    Left back Bramall is probably the only one of the three with any chance of being able to force his way into the first team, given that we are short in his position but realistically the chance of that happening is virtually zero.

    Jenkinson might have a chance at right back if Debuchy leaves but again chances are negligible

    Campbell never convinced and must be behind our U23 players.

    More problems for the club to address.

  • Mike T

    The way in which players are classified as homegrown has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU.
    The classifications, save one minor issue around an extra requirement of having a small number of the homegrown players needing to be club trained as well, mirror UEFAs requirements and as we al know a signicant number of countries within UEFA such as Russia, Israel and Turkey are not members of of the EU
    What will probably change is an increased number of players that will require work permits and if the current rules remain in place then that should lead to far less very average European players shipping up in not just the PL but other leagues not just in England but also the Scottland
    How that is all going to impact I don’t know.
    As an aside without a more detailed look at under 21 players it’s not really relevant just looking at the squads as registered.

  • We are not leaving the EU, it’s that simple. Garage is now even realising that they were all simpletons and the only way we could leave and be successful is if we had several potential alternative trade agreements which would allow us access, whilst remaining accessible as well as maintaining the strength of the pound sterling.

    We have had a reasonable year at the top end of business because a crash in the value of our currency has brought about a frenzy of investment as well as mergers and acquisitions by those with capital of assets held by those who had over invested, not had a surplus for such occasions or simply saw this as the time to quite liteqrally seek fairer shores.

    The real impact of the referendum is felt by households up and down the country and the high street. I have had the fortune of visiting many high streets in the last year or so and one thing is striking, the number of empty shops with for let signs and the lack of custom accross the board.

    The Premier League has suffered in a similar fashion, if inflation has seen the rise of mega fees, that means the mostly imported talent is causing money to leave the league and enter alternative ones at an almost alarming rate. Transfer such as Coutinho are an exception to that rule , but relatively few players have left the league on recent times at a massively inflated value. The two major moves were from the sameness club to the same club.

    And before that Bale who reasonably can be considered the only major sale externally since CR7.

    Domestically money has changed hands, but Southampton making good money on players unanticipated new, nor is City letting the cash gush. They still need 4 homegrown talents and Nathan Redmond may well be one of those acquisitions, although come next summer a few more of their younger imports will arguably be eligible as home grown talents.

    In fact the impact of a reduced value of the pound hasn’t only benefitted foreign investors who wish to inflate the value of the clubs they own, in fact the benefit of selling is only felt when a key player is sold or has long term investment value. Oxlade Chamberlain being an example of the latter where Alexis would represent a value for money example of the former.

    It’s indeed interesting that The Standard, Metro, Guardian and every other tabloid, right wing And fake Leftist broadsheet (do they still exist) is trying to sell Alexis to a rival or clear title favourites.

    When you know what they want don’t give it to them. Actually only Jamie Redknapp, has stated in today’s column how stupid selling Alexis to united would be.

    It is interesting that the contract issue has been squarely derided as ineptitude, not indication of the the noise of both players who clearly are not unintelligent.

    The simple fact remains that if Alexis really wants to work with Pep, waiting until the summer isn’t his best route to a favourable bonus and wage. What’s six months. Ozil isn’t quite as sticky a situation yet, as he’s been labelled a luxury player who lacks work ethic.

    However it remains that, a good performance collectively and a return to champions League football could be half of the requirement for an extension met, with the other half coming down to money and ambition of the clubs hierarchy.

    Aside from this, we are linked with considerably less players this window than n recent years, with Aubamayang mentioned as a replacement for the Chilean, Lemar and the young and talented Malcom. While the prospects that most suit are style of play or add to the existing crop are linked with rivals or are briefly noted as replacements for other star players.

    Wenger touched on a change in format after the official announcement of Francis’ departure. This might mean he intends to continue with the back 3 or that he has questions over Coquelin’s ability to play as the lynchpin at present or in the near future. This maybe something reflected in his training performances following injury.

    However as I see it Chambers and Holding deputise Shkodran and Laurent. Which means we are in need of a challenger for first team and a replacement for Kos ‘The Boss’.

    As mentioned the closest loaner to a first team slot is Cohen Bramall, who is hopefully enjoying training with the Championship side which is probably preferable to playing with us in terms of developing his defensive quality and ability to handle the physical rigours of the top flight. I do believe he has the qualities to emulate Hector and has much about him of a young Ashley Cole in terms of play of not temperament.

    I think he can make the cut next season. Unfortunately for Carl it’s anothe injury and a mid table but sustainable career appears to beckon. Asano isn’t getting the game time and if he’s not playing there, doesn’t look good for the league here, another Ryo then?

    Joel just doesn’t know how to stay goal side and his lax attitude to defending is problematic and I don’t see him featuring again, maybe a cameo in early pre season, but for me brokering a January sale would be vastly more efficient in terms of getting him off the books as a liability as much as Ann asset.

    Recovering whatever can be gotten out of Matthieu seems sensible, but that will be delayed by Sead’s return date, in order to ensure we have adequate cover. However as I touched on previously, Cohen isn’t listed a source on loan on the AFC website and could be coming back early. It would be my call, moving Niles to right side understudy as he can cross effectively then instead of holding up play to check back onto his ohcioisly mich favoured right.

    That kind of streamlining is what is required to open up spots in the first team.

    Theo seems a case of when not if, and £20m although not world shattering is reasonable of we can chuck in another 6-8 in add one, which could easily be attained trough appearances and goals seems a fair result and Everton are as shrewd as ourselves, so I don’t expect the deal to be too protracted. It’s helpful that West Ham, Southampton and Everton are all showing serious interest.

    So let’s hypothesise and say we get £26m and £12m from Francis. That is a worthwhile £35m for arguments sake.and 2 places open, with 8 home grown players still registered (Cohen still not needing to be registered).

    That for me could be a Mahrez and we made a plus income in the summer meaning we can arguably spend an additional £100m.

    I wouldn’t love to see Aunamayang don the shirt, however it means Giroud would have to leave. But we would have a combination of height, power and pace in his stead for 5 years. Although this does not seem particularly likely, with defence the clear focal point for investment. Something Insaid prior to the season start.

    So we move again to liquodatable assets and they are:

    Approximated transfermarkt value:

    Asano 2.5m
    Perez 10m
    Campbell 2.5m
    Jenkinson 5m

    Giving an additional 20m liquid asset value.

    Of those players the only one beatbox served by being sold now would be Campbell. The rest could arguably wait until summer, although it being obvious you need to offload players, could Ben a stumbling block, by then. More so than now.

    In total that would mean £55m is available theoretically without using any of last seasons transfer budget which was added to FYI.

    Now if you asked me, not that you did, but had you, o would sell Campbell now and expect reasonably to offload Perez for more than the stated value in the summer, along with Jenkinson. I’d move Asano to a better loan club and check out the full backs in pre-season, knowing one stays and the other hasn’t already proven he is capable in the league under Sam at West Ham. He may make a worthy addition to that man again. Who definitely got some good stuff out of him.

    The other way to look at transfers and players owned is as a liability, Nacho earns around 65k per week with Debouchy picking up 70k while Jenkinson is paid around 55k and Campbell 30k, while in the summer we lose an additional 70k from the wage bill with Per retiring.

    So a breakdown: per annum saved per player in millions:

    Debouchy 4
    Carl 2.8
    Joel 1.5
    Francis 2.8
    Nacho 3.1
    Perez 2
    Per 4
    Theo 5.7
    Ospina 2

    That’s 25m in a year saved. Plus 35 recouped now and additionally 20 or more million without accounting for the resale value of Nacho.

    Scaling back the wage budget by 1/6 and removing 9-10 players from the books easily.

    Reducing the potential sellable players to Giroud and Welbeck.

    All of this is very simple, once Theo is gone.

    Quite simply, the previous transfer and and contract teams were inept.

    We can sign anyone we like because we have (work it out) in the form of liquid assets above and this seasons budget not spent combined. And Giroud doesn’t leave for less than 35m and Danny what we paid which was around 13m.

    If we sign a CB and a defensively minded player (jack Ian our most proficient defender and transition player and also the most fouled player in the league already. This is unacceptable and a problem waiting to happen to a man who is on it.

    Arguably renewing all theee key men towards the back end of the season is the best time to renew, on FM I did this always after the winter window closed to avoid it being an issue in future .

    And I wouldn’t definitely take a 35m punt on Ryad, it seems smart money and a move no one else can make other than United who he isn’t suited at all admits well to.

    Offloading Theo is the key to signing what we need and Cohen coming back, would give us Anniston at left back.

    Controlling games and subbing off key men, Hector, Sead, Alexis, Ozil, Andrei, Jack is how we get through this. With additions at are DM and CB we can cope.

    In science getting the same result is not effective testing and dropping the FA Cup gives a lot of recovery time, with EPL Cup almost over and staggering games for is it makes sense to focus on a strong performance now. While the EL offers a secondary route to the top table, which we need if we want 2 or 3 quality additions in the summer to boot.

    We can’t cope with all four competitions or a sustained run in 3. We can however beat Chelsea if our 12 man turns up as Mo said on twitter. And City in the final, is a different prospect with relatively few of their players with final experience.

    And for that game a dedicated DM, back 4 and a fourth consummated attacker would be worth the world.

    Sky asks how do you hear City? Go toe to toe and track everyone man for man and press with five in sequence at once as they try to transition through the middle third to your final Third.

    One thing Barcelona let you do is play of you can play. Plus they have needed PHMO help on the last four occasions and didn’t win all the games and won the ones they did by a single goal margin with more than one goal in each game being offside! I have the picture in my Facebook.

    Roll on the VAR.

    Thanks for reading if you bothered

    “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” – growing! 😀 🙂 😛

  • Pat

    I noticed Arsene Wenger agreed in an interview with Arsenal.com that Coquelin leaving might leave a space for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to play in the defensive midfield that is likely to be his eventual permanent position. He said the defensive position he is playing in now is good practice for him and he is learning a lot from it.

    As usual Arsene Wenger is thinking of the long term and also thinking about individual players and their future careers. Something much more interesting than the endless questions about Alexis Sanchez and whether he will or won’t that the mindless journos keep banging on about at Press conferences.