Based on current performance, by 2011 Arsenal will have five significant teams:
The first team – challenging as always for the major competitions.
The “squad” team – back up players who play in the FA Cup and League Cup, plus in lesser European games, and who are available as replacement to first team players who are injured.
The loan team – playing in Spain (especially where EU nationality issues arise) and with favoured EPL teams. It is just possible that more and more loans could be to Spain, although favoured clubs (or maybe favoured managers of EPL clubs) may well continue. By 2011 we will expect to have 11 players out on loan at least. One possibility is that by 2013 we will actually own a team in Spain in the way we have tried this in Belgium.
The reserve team – playing in the reserve league, made up of 17 and 18 year olds. The reserve leagues play very few games and there is need for more – and by 2011 we could be looking at a European Reserve League to overcome the current problems of some teams playing 17 year olds while others use the league to play older squad players.
The ladies team. At the moment we dominate all English competition – but are not automatically equal to the German, Scandinavian and American teams. By 2011 the gap will be narrowed and the appeal of Arsenal ladies will have widened.