Today’s Sponsor: Gooner Gifts is a one-stop shop for all things Arsenal related, from replica kits and retro shirts through to Emirates Stadium tours, memorabilia and novelty items. Visit http://www.goonergifts.com/
And first an apology for the author…
I am here today to admit I screwed up big time. Yesterday two correspondents wrote to ask if it were true that from next season there would be a limit on the number of players registered in our first team squad. I said no.
And as you probably know but were much too polite to say, I got that 100% the wrong way round. When I said “no”, what I meant to say was “yes”. Ignorance is strength, as I happened to comment yesterday.
So here’s the long and the short, the high and the low, the low down the… well you get the idea.
From the start of next season EPL clubs must register a squad with a limit of 25 players. Eight of those named must be aged 21 or under and must also qualify as ‘home-grown’.
To qualify as home grown, a player will have had to be registered for at least three seasons at an English or Welsh club between the ages of 16 and 21.
So who have we got. I’ve started by taking players that might expect to be part of the show, and for the most part kept their current squad number – or fitted it into the gaps in the 1 to 25.
Obviously it doesn’t work as it stands because there is talk of new signings, so some of this list will have to go. I’ve also done this quickly and not checked everything (see, I have learned my lesson and am now covering myself from further errors), but I think the players marked HG will qualify as home grown and be under 21. But I am not sure – maybe you can help me out here. I am useless at people’s birthdays even when they are in my own family, and I have to toddle along to the old sweat shop shortly so I haven’t got time to check them out.
HG is under 21 and home grown
4 Fabregas HG – or is he over 21 now?
6 Bendtner HG
10 Nordtveit HG
11 Van Persie
12 Vela HG
13 Traore HG LEAVING?
14 Walcott HG – now over 21?
16 Ramsey HG
18 Gibbs HG
19 Wilshire HG
20 Djourou HG
No Gallas, no Merida, no Campbell, no new players, no JET, nor anyone else stepping up from the junior level, no Eastmond – it seems a restriction on bringing new players in rather than anything else.
But I get the feeling we will bring in three new players this summer, so what we need to do is…
- Probably bring in some other HG players as I could be way out on the dates of birth.
- Clear three places for new comers
The other way of looking at this is by position and this is helpful since it allows us to step aside from the debate about specific players who might be replaced by someone else of that position.
3 goalkeepers – the obvious 3
4 full backs – Sagna, Clichy, Gibbs, Eboue
4 central defenders, Vermaelen, Djourou, Nordtveit, Campbell?
6 midfield, Cesc, Nasri, Ramsey, Diaby, Denilson, Song
6 forwards, Theo, Bendtner, Van P, Arshavin, Eduardo, Rosicky
2 spare: Wilshire, Vela
On that basis I fear Eduardo might go to make way for one of the newcomers.
So what else can we do?
- We can have a different squad for Europe – I think there you can have unlimited under 21s
- A different squad for League Cup
- A different squad for FA Cup
- Start playing more friendlies for the reserves so that they get more games
- Put more and more out on loan
So presumably if a player does not quality for your 25 and doesn’t have a place in the league cup squad, FA cup squad, loan system etc he goes up for sale. I wonder if this will result in anyone leaving us, and anyone interesting coming up for sale in other teams where they can’t fit in.
Even if I have got the dates of birth wrong we have good players coming through who will qualify – Jay Emmanuel Thomas looks possible, and I have already included Nordtveit. Barazite was looking good to me too as did Coquelin.
There is also the issue of special dispensation and topping up numbers for long term injury. Man City after all have just been allowed to sign a goalkeeper out of time, and we don’t have the limits yet.
Two things become very clear however
First if we are going to sign two or three new players this summer we have got to lose two or three from that list – but obviously that will mean position for position.
Second this gives a new insight into the way the squad has developed this year. The failure to buy a centre back in January, highlighted in correspondence yesterday, could well be down to this issue – there was no point buying someone in January on a five year contract if the player would then not fit into the 25 this August.
Anyway, there we are thus far – my apologies for not noticing the regs before, and if there are any other fatal errors I have made in terms of the way football is being organised next season, do let me know.
- How the media always knocks Arsenal, but ignores England’s failures.
- Left has never been stronger at Arsenal FC!
- The seven main things that are wrong with football in England
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 2 comments from the manager and team news
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 1 the head to head record and comments on Spurs summer signings