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Every year from about mid-July I start trying to whittle down the number of players that Arsenal have got on their books in order to get to the 25 players that the club is allowed to register for the season. Obviously also trying to take into account the home-grown requirement of eight players while leaving out the under 21s (although I’m not particularly bothering with the rule about four of the homegrown players having to be club trained, since Arsenal clearly reach and exceed this target.)
And I do this while the media at large is constantly coming up with the names of players Arsenal are allegedly thinking of signing, without once mentioning who is going to be shown the door in order to make room for the incoming players.
Now I know that my list will be wrong, because it always is, but I persist because I do think it must be central to Arsenal’s thinking relating to transfers. After all they are not going to buy a player only to find they can’t have him in the 25 as they’ve got too many!
So what we have here is a list of the players who are as far as I know still at the club and who are likely to be considered as first-team players. As you can see from the first column where they are numbered (“No”) there are 35 of them. So clearly the club needs to get rid of ten of these – and that’s one reason why the club isn’t buying all these other players with whom they are being associated.
I’ve listed the homegrown players from 1 – 13 just in the order they appear in the list and worked towards creating a 25-man squad which, if I have got the right details and counted properly has not only the eight homegrown players needed but actually 11 of them.
Now if that is anywhere near correct it is good news because if at some stage Arsenal wants to buy another player towards the end of the window or in January to cover for illness, injury or lack of form, there will be no worries about his nationality.
From this you can see the players who I think won’t be in the squad – in short the players who will be leaving this summer either on loan or permanently They are…
Rúnarsson, Okonkwo, Tierney, Holding, Trusty, Tavares, Lokonga, Balogun, and Pepe
And let me stress I did say, either leaving on loan or by being sold. For the purpose of this exercise loan or sale doesn’t matter, this is just a case of getting 25 players aged over 21 into the squad with eight of them being homegrown.
And let me admit, each July when I do this somehow I get something wrong – but I keep going because I don’t find this data elsewhere, and I find it helpful as transfer rumours come and go, to see how the actual 25-man squad is shaping up.
Why players might leave varies of course. Tierney perhaps because of his injury problems, Holding because he’s been a backup for several years and I suspect he is ready for pastures new, Trusty I’m not sure about (he played 44 games for Birmingham last season and they obviously valued him, but I’ve not seen him play…) etc etc. Balogun I’d like to see go on one more loan and then come back – rather in the way that Saliba did with his final year in Marseille, but who knows…
And yes I have ended up with 26 players in the 25-man squad. So room for one to be cut.
|No||Squad||Player||HG No||Age||25 man Count|
|1||1||Aaron Ramsdale||1||1 (HG1)|
|2||13||Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson|
|4||31||Karl Hein||2||3 (HG2)|
|6||2||William Saliba||4||4 (HG3)|
|8||4||Ben White||5||5 (HG4)|
|22||23||Albert Sambi Lokonga|
|25||41||Declan Rice||7||18 (HG5)|
|26||7||Bukayo Saka||8||19 (HG6)|
|28||10||Emile Smith Rowe||9||21 (HG7)|
|29||11||Gabriel Martinelli||10||22 (HG8)|
|30||14||Eddie Nketiah||11||23 (HG9)|
|32||24||Reiss Nelson||12||25 (HG10)|
Overall I would want to stress the positivity in this. Even if I have made my usual few mistakes, we do have a squad of around 35 players with only four of them over 30. And the squad includes people like Elneny who before his injuries showed himself to be perfectly willing to spend time on the bench and could well move on to a coaching role.
Plus, do note this: amazingly only four of the players listed are over 30 years old – a much lower number than for most clubs.
However my main point is this, as it is every year. If any of the 44 players currently being listed as coming to Arsenal are going to arrive, that means even more players have to be sold. Which brings us back to our regular weekly update of what is happening in the Window.
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