The 2011/12 Arsenal squad looks to be the biggest ever

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By Tony Attwood

Updating the squad list for the coming season is in some ways easy – after all we have seen the team put out by Mr Wenger in the pre-season friendlies and from this we can start to put together our 25 player list.

But to get a full picture we must also take into account the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup being played between 29 July and 20 August 2011 in Columbia and there are a couple of youngsters there too – most notably Francis Coquelin.   Even when the games are over they will then presumably need time to rest before coming back for possible league cup or reserve league matches.

Following my earlier article on this topic, and the suggestions made by readers we have got to this stage:

Our over 21s…

1: Andrey Arshavin
2: Marouane Chamakh
3: Abou Diaby
4 Emmanuel Eboue (subject it seems to a transfer bid at the moment)
5 Lukasz Fabianski
6 Laurent Koscielny
7 Samir Nasri
8 Tomas Rosicky
9 Bacary Sagna
10 Robin van Persie
11 Thomas Vermaelen
12 Sebastien Squillaci
13.  Gervinho

Our home grown over 21 are

1 Johan Djourou
2 Cesc Fabregas
3 Vito Mannone
4 Alex Song
5 Keiran Gibbs
6 Theo Walcott
7 Armand Traore
8  Carlos Vela

Under 21s who will be part of the squad

  • Emmanuel Frimpong
  • Wojciech Szczesny
  • Carl Jenkinson
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Aaron Ramsey

After this it becomes a bit more speculative and of course these are just my opinions thus far:

Under 21 players who might become part of the squad this season

  • Francis Coquelin (playing in the under 20 world cup)
  • Henri Lansbury
  • Ignasi Miquel
  • Conor Henderson
  • Kyle Bartley

Players subject to passport issues

  • Ryo Miyaichi (Japanese)

Others on the outer fringe:

  • Gilles Sunu (playing in the under 20 world cup)
  • Samuel Galindo
  • Luke Freeman
  • Sanchez Watt
  • Oguzhan Ozyakup


  • Denilson – to Brazil on loan
  • Clichy – to Man City
  • Bendtner
  • Almunia
  • Jay Emanuel Thomas (this is just a suspicion, but he has not been included in the first team outings this summer, and Young Guns blog which knows everything suggests he could be going)
  • Jamie Edge and Steven Smith from the reserves
  • Rhys Murphy (which shows what I know, as I really thought he was going to make it, but again Young Guns blog is saying he is going)  However a loan is possible, but only as a last resort.
  • Mark Randall, Thomas Cruise and Roarie Deacon have already gone


  • Wellington Silva – now with Levante, getting games and scoring which is a huge improvement on last season.
  • Pedro Botelho – last I heard (via Young Guns Blog, where else) he failed to join Levante, and is now joining Rayo Vallecano on loan.  He has had four loan spells in Spain, the last with FC Cartagena which was deemed a success, but Mr Wenger apparently wants him to have experience in La Liga.
  • James Shea on loan for next season with Dagenham (source – as above).

Possible transfer back on

  • Campbell (Costa Rican, Irish parent or grandparent which might make it ok, but I don’t know enough about nationality and passport laws to say for sure if he can become an EU citizen).  His transfer was called off at the last moment, without explanation, but rumours suggest it might be back on – which again suggests that the passport is the big issue.  Certainly after the Edu issue some years ago Arsenal are not going to allow an agent to assert the passport issue is solved, without fully checking.


Of our 25 registered players we currently only have 21, but have easily enough home grown players, so in effect could sign four more players who are not home-grown.

With the five under 21s who are clearly in the frame we have 26 players.  Add in the five fringe players (any of whom might step up) and the “passport” player and that takes us to 32.

Missing players

Then there are the missing players. I always miss players when I do this, so please fill in the gaps and update the details.

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24 Replies to “The 2011/12 Arsenal squad looks to be the biggest ever”

  1. I dont know whether Afobe and Eastmond are necessarily in the ‘missing’ category….but it could be possible that they too play a part.

  2. No, Rosicky is in the over 21’s at number 8. I’d agree that Afobe and Eastmond could both be in there next season.

  3. According to the BBC JET is going to Ipswich, and several sites are suggesting Eboue is off to Turkey.

  4. I dont think JET or Eboue’s departure would be a problem for us…

    Jenkinson already seems better than Eboue, and JET has really not shown his worth, even Afobe is lookin better than him….

  5. Ryo is under “Players subject to passport issues”. I know Mr Wenger is playing him in each game, so maybe the passport issues are overwith somehow, but if so I would love to know how. Ryo is Japanese with virtually no international qualification, so what basis is there for giving him a UK passport – unless he managed to get a Dutch passport in Holland last season – which would give him the right to play for us.

    I don’t think anyone else is commenting on this, so maybe I have just missed the big news, but I am bemused.

  6. The Invincibles were the biggest squad ever. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ departure has been on the cards for some time. He’s another Jermaine Pennant. Late night antics involving the police and alcohol, late for training, general bad attitude … Wenger doesn’t have the patience with such players anymore.

  7. @Tony re Ryo i think the club is playing him so that whoever is in charge of issuing the passport will witness the massive talent the lad has for themselves. That way, he will be granted ‘special talent’ work permit without second taughts. I mean, it’s very very obvious the lad has massive talent waiting to explode. If the home office or whoever is in charge of giving him the passport in the UK (i cant be bothered to cross-check this as i’m in Ghana and hardly encounter passport issues) see what a great player Ryo will be then they should all buy new set of spectacles or contact lenses (or whatever they need to see clearly what we are all seeing). As Mr. Wenger said, this is a lad who was playing school football just a year ago but went straight into Feyenord’s 1st team and became their best player. What more do they want before giving him the passport. This is one of the few occasions that i wish we were a corrupt club like the Italian clubs. We could always just bribe the home office or whoever is in charge of passport in the UK(once again i dont have a Ghanain passport myself so it says a lot about me and passport companies). follow me on twitter @aj_aaronic

  8. @Tony
    I suspect Ryo is playing because they aren’t competitive matches. It’s a technicality that we employ him to play in FIFA/UEFA/FA sanctioned competitions for which he needs a work permit.

    Regarding JET, no-one seems to be able to confirm if it is a permanent departure or another loan deal. The doom-mongers will obviously favour the former. Afobe is closer to realising his potential, although I think JET could be the better of the two players. Moving on to Aneke, I wonder if his reported lack of pace puts Wenger off as other than that there’s not a whole lot he lacks, apart from experience.

  9. As I don’t know anything about the private life of JET so I cant comment on this. But if the rumours are right that he is more partying than practising, it really is such a shame for him.
    But he will only have himself to blame if this would be the case. Times are over that football players can party and play I think. Certainly at Arsenal.

  10. HTML Online Editor Sample

    I'll post this again, Vela is NOT homegrown. He only had two and a half seasons registered with us before the U-21 deadline (end of season he turns 21). There's a couple of helpful pages on the official website, and especially this link has the definitive list of home-grown players. It's essentially the same as last season, except 1) Clichy and Denilson left, 2) the 4 players born '89 became over 21, of whom only Vela isn't homegrown, and 3) we added Gervinho and Jenkinson. You can clearly see there that Vela is not homegrown.

    Here's a definite (afaik) list of over-21s for this season. You've done a good job with the rest, quite helpful with including youngsters and possible transfers.


























  11. Mr Attwood,
    Are you sure about the homegrown status of Carlos Vela? I too was but then the link above to the official site does not list him as homegrown…quite odd given that he was an Arsenal player since 2005 and at Arsenal since 2008, thus completing the 3 year qualification period.
    Perhaps they didn’t mention him as he was not homegrown then, but he might be now. Oh!

  12. Tony, speaking of squads do you know if Arsenals youth squad are still entering the youths champions league and if so is it still starting in august.

  13. I haven’t seen any more on the Youth Champions League since I ran the story – so still waiting for something on that.

    Sorry about Vela – I fully accept that he is not home grown. Fortunately for us it doesn’t make any difference as we are not struggling for numbers.

  14. Regarding the Ryo work permit issues, this is not as simple as other non-eu players – I used to work for a Japanese company and there is a form of reciprocal agreements between the two countries on employment visas.

    Not sure of the full details now, but I’m pretty sure he could get a 1 year sports visa with little hassle, however he’d only be allowed 6 months here in that time. Although tougher, he may also be able to get a 10 year visa.

  15. @ Tony – what about Benik Afobe? I think that if he is given a chance, could do well this season.

    I very disappointed to hear about JET, I really hoped he would make it into the first team. If it is true he has been sold then I hope we have sell on clauses in his contract as I am sure he will end up playing in the Premiership at some point in the near future.

    Rhys Murphy is off to Middlesborough apparently, which isn’t too bad for him as I didn’t think he would develop into a first team player – even before his injury.

    Sanchez Watt appears to of gone off the radar, I would of thought a few championship teams would of tried to snap him up by now.

  16. There seems to be confusion regarding passports and work permits. Ryo (and any other non-EU national for that matter) does not need a British (as UK as you call it) passport to play football in this country. He (like all other non-EU nationals) needs a work permit rather than a “UK” passport. The work permit issue will of course fall away if he manages to get an EU passport.

  17. Toto – yes of course you are right, and I was using sloppy language. I have done a spot more research, and written a new article to clarify the point about who gives out the work permits.

    And although it is common to call the passports of the UK “British passports” it is I believe a misleading term, since those of us from this country are citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, therefore logically we have UK passports.

  18. I believe Eboue is/was in the same boat but IIRC he’s now technically Belgian, as Almunia is technically English due to their wives.

  19. Tony what are your thoughts regarding the areas that still need strengthening in the team? I think we still need a striker, “defensive” midfielder and a centre back. Come January, Gervinho, Chamakh, Song and possibly Frimpong will be off to the African Cup of Nations tournament and that will expose us in midfield and attack. OK Walcott can play upfront if needed but as a lone striker I am not sure. Do you think Arsene has a plan and what could that plan be?

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