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Arsenal’s transfer window experience, plus the “25” and the 57 under 21s!

Phil Gregory

So with the transfer window shut, and no deals still pending approval for  last season’s top three, let’s see how this year’s title contenders have fared in their summer dealings.

Arsenal arrivals:

  • Koscielny
  • Squillaci
  • Chamakh

Arsenal departures:

  • Campbell (11)
  • Silvestre (12)
  • Gallas (26)
  • Eduardo (24), 11 as a substitute

Numbers in brackets represent Premier League appearances.

The transfer dealings were fairly self-explanatory for Arsenal this window. By September last season, we only really had three central defenders as Djourou was out for the season by that point, hence Sol’s arrival in January. With the departures of Gallas and Silvestre, we needed two reliable central defenders, and we certainly seem to have got them in Koscielny, who has been solid so far, and Squillaci who has an excellent record. Djourou’s return from injury covers the departure of Campbell, and he’ll be fourth choice this season.

In terms of quality, we’ve certainly improved the defence overall. A lot of Gunners have been understating Gallas’ quality last season now he’s gone to Spurs, but he really was excellent for us. Some would point to his troubled injury history with us which is valid, though certainly last season with us being so light at the back thanks to Djourou’s freak injury, perhaps we played Gallas at times he perhaps should have been rested, and that contributed to his injury troubles. Either way, he’s gone and we’ve replaced him with Koscielny, who has looked excellent so far. Laurent has big boots to fill, but he certainly seems capable of doing so, and he fits the jigsaw well, what with him being both good on the ball and capable in the air. Both of our first choice defenders have the quality despite barely being in their mid twenties and will only improve with time and further experience.

It originally seemed that Chamakh was coming in to simply offer greater depth up front, but with the departure of Eduardo, numbers wise we’ve simply covered our outgoings. Eduardo’s Arsenal career was a real case of “what might have been” which has been  covered many times so I’ll leave that side of the transfer be. In terms of roles however, Chamakh fits into the 433 brilliantly and can function as a traditional target man. I’d certainly argue the attack has improved as a result of this transfer window.

A few question marks remain over the midfield. Seeing Frimpong’s development, Wenger decided not to invest in further competition for Song but then the youngster was hit by a long-term injury. This leaves us a little light in that area of the field, though Craig Eastmond was the man to step in last season. Denilson can play there, but he and Song play the position in different ways. Song offers us height in the middle of the park, and can move back to make it a back three if both fullbacks surge forwards. Denilson can’t do that, he doesn’t have the physical side to his game that the Cameroonian does, so he relies on reading the game, and making interceptions.

An interception, don’t forget is much better than winning a tackle, as you have possession (it could go anywhere from a tackle), and you are in control of the ball. This means you can move the ball quickly to exploit the gaps left as your opponent attempts to get back.

Against the weaker sides, Denilson’s possession game in the defensive role would work well, especially as most of these type of teams play with limited ambition. If Wenger didn’t want to ask too much of Song, these would be the games where he could rest him. Given all that, the midfield has stayed about where it was last season.

Between the sticks, it was clear we wanted Schwarzer in. Wenger didn’t want to pay more than was necessary, which was expected. Some question why he couldn’t pay an “extra couple of million, just this once” but deal-making doesn’t work like that. Wenger has a reputation as a hard bargainer, that’s how he gets such excellent value (Vermaelen cheaper than Smalling, for example). As soon as he reneges on his principles, he loses that reputation, and everyone demands more money from us in the future. Sure, it is irritating for those who wanted  a new goalkeeper in, but we forget the times when this policy has got us absolute bargains that would’ve otherwise been out of our reach at their “true” price, such as Arshavin.

Back to goalkeeping, anyway. We’re neither any better nor any worse off, with Almunia being a good keeper but nothing exceptional. Our cover in this position can be a unreliable, but fortunately Almunia is not especially injury prone.

My overall view of the changes in the quality of the squad by position

  • Goalkeeper =
  • Defence +
  • Midfield =
  • Attack +

Chelsea arrivals:

  • Ramires
  • Benayoun

Chelsea departures:

  • Belletti (11)
  • Joe Cole 22 (of which roughly half were as a substitute)
  • Ballack (32)
  • Carvalho (22)
  • Deco (19)

As the champions, Chelsea were very much the team to match last season. Looking at their ins and outs I’d be slightly concerned if I was  Chelsea fan. John Terry’s has a couple of injury problems going into the season, while Alex and Ivanovic both had their spells out last season. Effectively, they’ve lost a centre back who played a big role for them in Carvalho and haven’t replaced him, while there are doubts over the two remaining centre backs, while one of whom ended up playing right back for a large part of last season.

It’s a little more positive in midfield, where they’ve lost Ballack and Deco who together played a quite a few games, and replaced them with the impressive Brazilian Ramires. Neither of the two departures played exceptionally well last season so Ramires will likely be an improvement, but it is a further thinning of their squad, and they’ve got absolutely no cover for Mikel in the holding role since Ballack’s departure.

There’s not much between Joe Cole and his replacement Benayoun. They’ll get more games out of Benayoun,but it seems unlikely he’ll have a key role in any title bid this season.

Overall, they’ve probably improved on quality slightly, while lost numbers dramatically (cutting wage bill perhaps). It’s easy to say they’ll decline due to the age of some big players, but Lampard hasn’t looked like slowing down, and when you hear Drogba was playing with an injury last season… There’s no reason Chelsea will be any better or worse this season, but even a few injuries could quite easily derail their title bid given the thin squad.

  • Goalkeeper =
  • Defence –
  • Midfield + ( more quality but slightly less depth)
  • Attack =

Manchester United arrivals:

  • Chris Smalling
  • Javier Hernandez
  • Bebe

Manchester United departures:

  • Ben Foster (9)

Manchester United will certainly be a stronger outfit this season. A big issue last season was one of depth up front, but they seem to have sorted that with the signing of Hernandez. While I think he’s being massively overrated off the back of a fairly good World Cup (Lee Dixon said he could be the next Ronaldo!), he’ll be an option this season, and pace off the bench is never a bad thing to have.

I had half-expected the arrival of Smalling to lead to the departure of Vidic for big money with one eye on the Glazers’ debts, but they’re not quite at the Liverpool stage it seems. The squad is good on the whole, with the only weakness in the first eleven being the right back slot. There is certainly a lack of depth in the middle of the park, with Anderson out injured and under-performing and Hargreaves surely nearing retirement now. Ben Foster wasn’t the greatest of goalkeepers last season, but to replace him with a totally untried academy goalkeeper is certainly trading down.

Overall, they’re probably marginally stronger that they were last season. Again, much will depend on how the injuries fall. Bar a couple of games with a decimated defence, they got through unscathed and unsurprisingly fell apart as soon as Rooney got injured.

  • Goalkeepers –
  • Defence +
  • Midfield =
  • Attack +

Having considered all that, I’d certainly say we had the best window out of all the title contenders. While the transfer window wasn’t absolutely perfect (a goalkeeper and a fit Frimpong would’ve made it that) we’ve certainly improved, something the other two teams can’t say as assuredly.

Below is the Arsenal squad list including home grown’s taken from the official Premier League declaration. Keep scrolling down to the under 21 list and just be amazed.

Player (Home Grown, yes or no, after each name)

1 Almunia, Manuel No
2 Arshavin, Andrey No
3 Bendtner, Nicklas Yes
4 Chamakh, Maroune No
5 Clichy, Gael Yes
6 Denilson, Pereka Neves Yes
7 Diaby, Vassiriki Abou No
8 Djourou-Gbadjere, Johan Danon Yes
9 Eboue, Emmanuel No
10 Fabianski, Lukasz No
11 Fabregas Soler, Francesc Yes
12 Koscielny, Laurent No
13 Mannone, Vito Yes
14 Nasri, Samir No
15 Rosicky, Tomas No
16 Sagna, Bacary No
17 Song Bilong, Alexandre Dimitri Yes
18 Van Persie, Robin No
19 Vermaelen, Thomas No
20 Squillaci, Sebastien No

Arsenal – Under 21 players (Contract and Scholars)

Afobe, Benik
Aneke, Chukwuemeka Ademola Amachi
Angha, Martin Yves
Ansah, Zak Andy
Barazite, Nacer
Bartley, Kyle
Bihmoutine, Samir
Boateng, Daniel
Botelho, Pedro Roberto Silva
Brislen-Hall, George
Bunjaku, Alban
Campbell, James Andrew
Charles-Cook, Reice Jordan
Coquelin, Francis
Cruise, Thomas Daniel
Deacon, Roarie
Eastmond, Craig Leon
Ebecilio, Kyle Stephen Joel
Edge, James Michael
Emmanuel-Thomas, Jay-Aston
Evina, Cedric David
Freeman, Luke Anthony
Frimpong, Emmanuel Yan
Galindo, Samuel
Gibbs, Kieran James Ricardo
Glasgow, Benjamin Luke
Hajrovic, Sead
Henderson, Conor Alan
Hoyte, Gavin Andrew
Lansbury, Henri George
Martinez, Damain Emiliano
McDermott, Sean
Meade, Jernade Ronnel
Miquel-Pons, Ignasi
Monakana, Jeffrey
Monteiro, Elton Almada
Murphy, Rhys Philip Elliot
Nordtveit, Havard
Oldfield Spence-Neita, Nigel Paul
Ozyakup, Oguzhan
Ramsey, Aaron James
Randall, Mark
Rees, Joshua David
Roberts, Philip James
Shea, James
Smith, Steven Robert
Sunu, Gilles
Szczesny, Wojciech Tomasz
Traore, Armand
Vela Garrido, Carlos Alberto
Walcott, Theo James
Watt, Herschel Oulio Sanchez
Webb, Callum Taylor
Wilshere, Jack Andrew
Wynter, Jordan James Cecil
Yennaris, Nicholas

NB: Not listed – Wellington da Silva

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37 comments to Arsenal’s transfer window experience, plus the “25” and the 57 under 21s!

  • Sriram

    Does that mean Wellington Silva will go in to the first team?
    I expect a lot from this Arsenal team! Lot of improvement and you’ve not taken in a fit Rosicky for our midfield! Go GUNNERS!

  • Good article as usual. I don’t think ManUre and Chelski are much better than us by any means. I just hope that Almunia has a good season (or four months if we sign someone in the next transfer window).

    I would argue that Arsenal’s midfield is actually stronger this year because Wilshere is back and Rosicky is firing on all cylinders again after struggling to recover from his injury last season. However, we have lost Ramsey. Even when he’s fit, he will probably need the rest of the season and the next pre-season to properly get back to full sharpness.

    Finally, I think Squllaci must be in with a shout of being first-choice centreback over Koscielny, but we will see. Both look worthy of the role.

  • embryo

    top top article as always, if only a few of the other blogs were so considered. anyway, great analysis but you’ve not taken into account the addition of youth team to the squad, ie Wilshere, Vela, etc. he isn’t a transfer but i believe he is a massive addition to our first team. do you know if any of the other top three have such a strong youth addition to there squad?

    on the keeper siuation, i will be backing Almunia all the way to January, hole heartidly. i just hopr the rest of the fans do the same, could be the new eboue??

  • walter

    Great article Phil.
    And like the posters before said with the return to full fitness from Rosicky who looks great whenever he played for us this season.
    With the fact that Walcott is finally fit and had a normal and great preseason and is working like a madman in and after training it seems.
    With Jack Wilshere coming back stronger and meaner than before. 😉
    Those are almost like new signins.

    And then to think of Ramsey who hopefully will be back in a few months to add even more steel to the squad.

    Things are really looking good for The Arsenal

  • John Richards

    Don’t forget that Essien spent a long time out for Chelsea last season, so he’ll be a bonus for them this year.

    OT a bit, did anyone see that Manure have confirmed they haven’t sold all their season tickets on Sky last night. Only 51,800 of the 54k available were sold.

  • Armin

    Nice one Phil, but you forgot one little thing. AW told that for sake of Gibbs future in national squad he ll try to make midfielder from him, or let me say winger (like Eboue). Knowing how good we are in making excellent midfielder I see it as strengthening our midfield as well. So I would say we get “+” even in that segment of game.

    One thing people are used to forget, age, age of Chelsea wining duo. Drogba and Anelka are both above 30, and they for sure can outplay many players in field but will teheir age allow them to do it whole season?
    In Manure case, Rooney is far away from Rooney we are used to see. Yes he finally scored last game, but it was mercy goal, scored from penalty spot. Most of game he wasn’t even near to score.

  • Gooneraside

    Excellent article, Phil.

    Any ideas where can be found Mud City’s squad? Knowing, as we do, the number of players on their books, it would be interesting to see who’s going to play reserve football for them this season. I’m sure that Tony’s already got this one in hand.

  • Hao

    Great article.

    I will put 120% support behind Almunia. Just think about yourself for a second. If you failed big in your career, would you want a second chance to pull it back? I trust Almunia has the mentle stength to regain his confidence and form. It wasn’t long time ago that people were talking about him playing for England. If we want our players to be professional, then we fans need to up a notch, too.

  • GoonerGaz

    Although we have been poor defensively in the last couple of seasons we also suffer from a low chance conversion rate at times.Without a true natural goal scorer we waste chances that the top two sides convert,however Theo could well be that man.If he can stay injury free he will be like a new signing…………or so says Arsene!

  • Alex

    Regarding the lack of cover for Song ie DM, Koscielny can play there too. It’s only the past couple of seasons or so that he has converted to CB – I would think AW had this in his plans when he got him.

  • Mike

    This new rule could end up causing major problems for clubs.
    Consider Tottenham’s situation. They have 25 players listed not including Gareth Bale who is now 21. Next year, to include Bale they’ll need to get rid of one of the 25. No problem, they can always sell a player, maybe David Bentley. However, now they’re forced sellers so they won’t get a good price for him and to sell him there’s got to be a club who have a space in they’re 25 that isn’t likely to be taken by one of their own under 21 players. For Bentley, he will have the options of not playing (but still getting paid) or breaking his contract since his club have effectively refused to play him.
    It’s the same situation at Man City, although perhaps they won’t care about losing the money.
    The situation is better at Arsenal (for now), since we’ve got 5 spaces free. But what’s going to happen in a few years to all the young talent? Some of them will be so good (Wilshire, Ramsey) that they’ll force their way in and another of the 25 will be sacrificed. Maybe that won’t be such a big problem for Arsenal as they don’t tend to pay huge transfer fees, so they won’t lose as much. The others, and let’s face it most of the 56 (57 including Wellington) won’t make it at Arsenal, will have to find new clubs, which won’t be easy as other clubs won’t to take a punt on a player if he’s taking up one of their precious 25 places.
    This is why Arsene was against the rule; it’s going to create a log jam in the transfer system.

  • Phil

    I intentionally left out youth to keep the article balanced, as I couldn’t ccmment on the state of Chelsea and United’s youth. Sure, we’ll probably come out better if we consider all that, but I think it’s unlikely to actually filter through to getting us more actual points on the board.

    Same for things like form. Rosicky is quite clearly going to be a better option this year, as is Theo. But once we start going down this road it quickly gets messy. As someone said, what of Essien? What of Drogba playing a season injured? Etc. As opposition fans, we generally only know the “big” details, and won’t know the whole story. A bit like a United fan going Arshavin isn’t really that great, they don’t know he’s been playing injured for a good while.

    Anyway, I think this is fairly objective, and of big interest to me is Chelsea going into the season with only three centrebacks!

  • IndianGooner

    Best possible response from Arsenal regarding the ’25’ rule by mentioning 57 Under-21s…

  • Dark Prince

    Nice article. Also Miyaichi should also be included.

  • Terence McGovern

    Has anybody else seen that that idiot Gordon Taylor of the PFA wants the rules expanded to enforce that a certain number of homegrown players actually play each match?

    Where do you begin with this?

    Surely the best players should play regardless of nationality?
    Players get injured so say 5 homegrowns get injured and you are unable to field the quto for a match are you deducted points?

    Does he not also represent the foreign EPL players in his union and how do they feel about his attempt to marginalise them when he is paid to represent them?

    Why is this guy even tolerated? Money for nothing he gets every year from players and from TV rights and for what?

    There is a VERY dangerous trend forming that suggests that the focus of both the league and those representing clubs and players should have a primary loyalty to the development of the National team.

    The clubs should challenge this view immediately instead of playing the role of scapegoat for The FA’s inability to coach younger players(mainly by subjecting them to dinosaurs like Pearce and Wilkinson)A fact repeatedly admitted by Trevor Brooking.

    the foreign players should take legal action against the PFA for just cause.

    The Premier League should break away from the FA’s authority, employ their own referees AND video technology.

    If UEFA even dream of tangling with them over this how about a new European competition where ALL the money is divided between the clubs froma non-profit club run pan European administration where EUFA aren’t taking the lions share. Instead a set % to be distributed to the lowers leagues of each country. Both the clubs and the grass roots would be financially better off this way.
    A new competition where technology makes match fixing via the officials impossible.
    It is time that the clubs realised that UEFA, FIFA and their lackey national Federations exist only because the clubs allow them to.

    What a wonderful world that would be.

  • Terence McGovern

    Mike I suspect that this potential “Logjam” is specifically why AW isn’t submitting a full 25 beacuse as The Wilshires and Chesneys of the current set up come of age it will be to allow them to slip in taking the spaces AND adding to the homegrown quota.
    This will work fine for a few years and at that stage for example when TR7 hts that age to move on another player will be ready to take his place.

    Where the major concern will be is where you have a raft of young players who are ready to graduate but only a tiny number of places are available.
    the only solution is to send them down the leagues on loan or on sale by then what does that do to the academies of the lower leagues other than kill them.

    THis rule will actually irreparably damage grass roots football because the idiots who want it fail to realise that market forces are all conquering and they are generated by the top clubs.

  • Phil

    A good comment terence, and I agree with much of what you say. I do however take exception to the idea that a strong league and national team are mutually exclusive. The only reason there aren’t many England-eligible players is as a result of poor coaching. A competitive league, where players are chosen on merit would allow only the best to play, pushing players to higher standards. All we need to do is facilitate English players reaching these standards, not give them a free pass to compete.

    Ironically, by the time any of this could even come around, Arsenal will be contributing likely half of the England squad, so I wouldn’t worry much!

  • Armin

    You cant change nature of “selecting” process this way. Lack of English players lately is because of reasons, and one of crucial is price and it also affect youth system as well. Because even officially they are amateurs they have costs as well. And teams will rather “import” talents because their maintaining is much cheaper than domestic ones. Modern football is far beyond patriotic games and it is business in which everyone looking for making profit with less possible investments.

    I understand what FA trying to do, but I am not sure they know exact price of it. Or let me say they will rather risk future of club football in exchange for national team success. So this rule 25/7 is probably just first step by step measure, which in long terms may slightly increase chances on Three Lions in WC, but will definitely be end of English teams domination in European Cups.

    Now I wander is FA nonprofitable organisation or they put pride in front of money ???

  • Phil

    There’s no way gifting someone a place in a side on the basis of their nationality, and reducing the general level of competition will do anything good for the quality of the English National team.

  • Armin

    No I don’t see it as gifting place, but probably making more place for youth development. Thats why I said step by step. Probably next measure will be excluding foreigners from “homegrown” so teams will be forced to more work with domestic talents.
    I don’t see it as good option, but I understand aim of it, which looking at long term, will help Man Utd and Liverpoo maintain domination English football.

  • Common Sensei

    I think it is more to do with Sky and the broadcasting companies stranglehold on English football.

    You have to ask WHY they would WANT Chelsea/United/Liverpool to have a leg up in the league over a team like Arsenal…

    Most of the money in the league comes from TV rights (Sky) and as so Sky would like to see ‘their’ teams winning more often, with ‘their’ favourite players getting all the limelight.

    Arsenal doesn’t put anything back in their pockets in the same way these 3 teams do – which is partly why we are always seemingly ‘lacking in luck’ being as luck generally means injuries and cards coming our way as opposed to our opponents.

    And these two things are mainly down to the referee taming savage tackles, punishing players (even retrospectively) and upholding the laws and the integrity of the game.

    So when you get the FA (who are also bankrolled by Sky’s TV money) saying no to pitch-side cameras and goal-line tehnology you can see why it is within their own interest to keep the status-quo.

    Basically the way things are they can sit around and manipulate things to make sure that things do not change too much

  • Paul C.

    Phil – re. the point about Song and his back-up. Song missed the first two matches this season “(well, he played the 2nd, but not in midfield) and Diaby did superbly I thought. The goal we conceded against Liverpool was not his fault and apart from that Almunia had very little to do in either game from open play through the middle (which is the realm of the defensive midfielder). I know Diaby and Wilshire shared the position somewhat but that is what i think we’ll see this season whenever Song is missing, more of a 4-2-1-3 formation where two midfielders share the defensive duties allowing Cesc/Nasri etc to handle the attacking play. In that kind of a formation I would trust any combination of Diaby/Wilshire/Ramsey/Rosicky/Denilson/Eastmond. I fact looking at that list of players you could make an argument that we have the best depth in midfield of any team in the country.

  • AnonymousGun

    I would argue that Denilson are far better suited to play against a passing team as his intelligence allow him to intercepts good passing movement.

    Case in point Farca 1st game UCL last season. What a majestic majestic performance by him.

  • AnonymousGun

    Oh btw .. I wonder if the media gonna parade that we are foreign team again with that list 😀

  • walter

    Was it on Sky that I saw a “comment” with our team list and not by any other team??

  • FunGunner

    Interesting post, Phil.
    Great posts, Terence – it’s that problem of unintended consequences again, isn’t it?

    Paul C and Anonymous Gun – I agree. I recall two seasons ago when Wenger had the problem that Song + Denilson in the MF meant we lacked creativity, but with jsut one of them, we were not sufficiently solid. Now with the new formation and the new players or players coming good, we can use any two in that list and have the best of both worlds.

  • Phil

    Fair point Paul. Diaby can fill in there, but it’s not his best position and my preference would be for specialised cover, especially given Diaby’s ability going forward. But as you say, we could well see a two DM set-up when Song is absent, with Diaby doing the physical work, and Denilson doing his thing alongside. Certainly a possibility.

  • Gooner Gal

    Terence McGovern makes some seriously valid points, I think the FA is no longer fit for purpose, they institute changes but not inprovements. When the ‘player must not live more than 1 hour away’ rule was brought in people said it would help local players and smaller clubs in the area. It didn’t happen, instead it increased the number of foreign players in the league as the rule didn’t apply to overseas players. They helped create the ‘problem’.

    I think the quality of many of the overseas players has improved the EPL’s competitiveness, which has contributed to the EPL’s global appeal. The FA capitalised on this when making their 2018 bid (they even had Spuds french man David Ginola involved). Now they appear to be saying that the foriegn stars are the reason the FA can’t fill wembley stadium for their meaningless friendlies or win the world cup. I wonder if they blame the foreigners for the England players bad attitudes too?

    This leads me to think that maybe clubs should be seriously considering what counter measures can be taken like Terence suggested. Formula 1 teams did it and won, so it is not that far fetched. Its clear that the FA have no intention of rolling up their sleeves and doing any hard work like, working with small clubs so that they are better run, increasing the number of local football pitches, qualified coaches, stopping situations like Portsmouth repeating themselves through liaising with the government to review how clubs are bought and sold and lastly better refereeing. The FA would just rather impose another rule without serious consideration of the repercussions.

    Thankfully we have a club run by intelligent people whom have put us in a good position regarding the 25 man rule. Interestingly though, none of our named homegrown players at the moment are english which makes me laugh.

  • Phil

    Gooner gal, because I queston the competence of the FA I’ve been writing to the government in an attempt to get them to step in. We can but hope.

  • jbh

    Squad depth? Lets look at Chelsea
    1 Cech, Petr
    2 Ivanovic, Branislav
    3 Cole, Ashley
    4 Essien, Michael
    5 Ramires
    6 Lampard, Frank
    7 Benayoun, Yossi
    8 Drogba, Didier
    9 Mikel, John Obi
    10 Malouda, Florent
    11 Bosingwa, Jose
    12 Zhirkov, Yuri
    13 Ferreira, Paulo
    14 Kalou, Salomon
    15 Turnbull, Ross
    16 Terry, John
    17 Alex
    18 Anelka, Nicolas
    19 Hilário, Henrique
    Plus under 21 Kakuta, Sturridge and Bruma
    Forwards (4) Drogba, Anelka, Kalou and Malouda
    Midfield (5) Lampard, Essien, Ramires, Benayoun, Mikel
    Defenders (7) Terry, Alex, Ivanovic, Cole, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Zhirkov
    GK (3) Cech, Hilarious, Turnbull

    Doesn’t look too deep to me. Only 4 Homegrown – the aging Terry and Lampard, wantaway Cole, and Turnbull.
    Can their first 11 play 50+ games each? If not they are in serious trouble and who is coming through Kakuta, Bruma and Sturridge. No wonder they have to feign injury every Intl break.

    Arsenal have 2 full teams of Internationals give or take the odd position and 6 full internationals amongst their under 21’s (Walcott, Vela, Ramsey, Gibbs, Wilshere and Szczesny) then there’s also Eastmond, Nordveit, JET, Frimpong, Lansbury and Traore already with useful first team experience.

  • mike mcfarlane

    Attempts to limit foreign players in county cricket worked wonders in the seventies and eighties, ensuring the English team languished at the bottom of world cricket standing for years. Perhaps the F.A. should turn its attention to requiring all PL and championship clubs to set up academies along the lines of Arsenal’s. Your country has enough population to produce four of five Wilshires but you won’t identify them without a good strategic plan. I must admit thinking up a 25 player rule is a lot easier than writing a blueprint for the future but tinkering at the periphery won’t win a world cup.

  • Gooner Gal

    Phil, I hope the government take note because football contributes a lot the British economy and interferance from the could potentially damage the quality of the EPL. If something isn’t said or done I doubt the FA will stop here, where will it end? Next it will be you have to name 8 player in squad before each match, then field 8 english players every match, for at least 8 minutes in 8 consecutives matches.

    If what common sensei @ 1.07pm says is true, you’ll have to write to Rupert Murdoch

  • anders

    Excellent discussion, and very valid and well written arguments. I’d love to see all these points put together into a letter (of petition maybe – if i’d have any effect) addressed to the FA and all Premier league teams. I’m sure most if not all are aware of the consequences of the FAs inadequate governing but only Arsene Wenger, as far as i’m aware, has come out in protest. You seriously wonder how long the FAs incompetence can go unchallenged and I believe ultimately it’s going to be up to the clubs to join together and challenge the FA.

    What are people’s views here on what is the best way to proceed in getting our concerns adequately voiced and acted upon?

  • Phil

    I’ve already been writing to the MP for Culture and Sport and have had a reply so we might be getting somewhere. Whether they take note and act on what I’ve said, we’ll have to wait and see.

  • anders

    That’s good news Phil, and i applaud you for your effort. Please keep us informed of any more correspondence from them if you will. I think the protests need to gather more strength in the public domain now and with more voices added including us the supporters then we might see something happen. I suppose Tonys amazing blog is a great starting point for something to mushroom as journalists (using the word lightly) regularly come here to get ideas and rip off what they can. hmm, can we get them looked at while we’re at it? =)

  • Richard Candler

    Within the 57 under 21’s can anyone identify which of these youngsters would qualify for an England team – albeit some time in the future.

  • Clerkenwell Gooner

    Arsene has described the “home-grown” rule as likely to be “disastrous” for the competitive edge of the Premier League, for purely pragmatic reasons (adverse effects on player employment, transfer market).

    However, I suspect AW also opposes it because the concept of “nationality” itself is an artificial construct.

    AW has spent a lifetime integrating teams of young professionals from different parts of the planet, and is on record saying that differences between players from different regions are cultural, not innate, genetic, or anything else.

    Arsène’s well-documented views on international football (he considers it an inferior product) also reflect this position IMHO.