Arsenal’s squad for next season: no restriction on the number of new players

It’s clear we are about to buy Chamakh.  And the Lord Wenger has announced that he will be buying some defenders.  In the plural.  At least two.  Maybe more.

In fact, if you manage to plough through all my ramblings, you will see I am predicting a giant squad (and not as I wrote in the first draft, a giant squid) of 39 players.

But recently some blogs have run stories countering this, saying something like this

“Oh my God, Wenger can only buy one player, because we can’t fit them all in the squad under the new 25 player rule.”

As a result the catastrophists have had great fun saying “that’s it then, we are doomed, it is the same people again as last year”.

I don’t blame the bloggers who ran such stories, because I made a mistake in my understanding of the 25 player rules when I first ran this story.  The info on the Arsenal site and on many other sites is incomplete, and you have to be careful how you read the new 25 players rule.

But in fact Wenger can buy anyone he fancies, and some he doesn’t.

Alexej Behnisch came to my rescue last time around, and I am staying with his analysis.  But if you want to check it out, try the official announcement from the Premier League

I have reprinted how it works at the end of this piece – if you think I am getting the players wrong, you can check the details here first.

So here we go with the squad….

Part One: Over 21 years old as of 1 January 2010

1 Almunia 32
2 Fabianski 24
3 Mannone 21 (Home Grown Player No 1)
4 Sagna 26
5 Eboue 26
6 Vermaelen 24
7 Djourou 22 (Home Grown Player No 2)
8 Clichy 24 (Home Grown Player No 3)
9 Song 22 (Home Grown Player No 4)
10 Denilson 21 (Home Grown Player No 5)
11 Diaby 23
12 Fabregas 22 (Home Grown Player No 6)
13 Rosicky 29
14 Arshavin 28
15 Nasri 22
16 van Persie 26
17 Eduardo 26
18 Bendtner 21 (Home Grown Player No 7)
19 * Gallas 32 or New Defender of Any Age or Background
20 * Silvestre 32 or New Defender of Any Age or Background
21 * Campbell 35 (Home Grown Player No 8) (eight – my computer is being silly)
22  Chamakh 27
23  New Recruit of Any Age of Background. (Hazard???)
24  New Recruit of Any Age or Background. (Yaya Toure???)
25  New Recruit Any Age or Background (A N Other-Defender)

Which means that after the arrival of Chamakh we have

  • Spaces for New Recruits of Any Age – 3
  • Spaces for New Recruits of Any Age to replace Gallas / Silvestre  – 2
  • Space for Home Grown Player if Campbell leaves – 1

And yes I know throwing Yaya in is a bit soft because he joins us every transfer window and then leaves again, but you never know…

Part two: Under 21 years old as of 1 January 2010. Remember these players don’t count in the 25 even if they were raised in Gondwanaland.  We’ve noted if they are home grown, even though at this age it is irrelevant.  All that counts is how old they were on 1 Jan 2010.

1  Szczcesny 19 Home Grown
2  Gibbs 20 Home Grown
3  Traore 20 Home Grown
4  Eastmond 19 Home Grown
5  Ramsey 19 Home Grown
6  Wilshere 18 Home Grown
7  Walcott 20 Home Grown
8  Vela 20
9 * Merida 19 ** Home Grown

* Contract expires at the end of July 2010
** Another year needed to qualify for home-grown status

  • So, all of our first team squad can be accommodated and we have a place for Chamakh, plus three other players without any reference to upbringing and without kicking anyone out.
  • If Gallas and/or Silvestre don’t renew we can replace them with anyone irrespective of colour, creed, age, race, Football Association, place of birth, type of soap used in the bath, colour of washing-up liquid, country they choose to play for….
  • All of our favourite kiddies from the season just gone can be accommodated.
  • And we still have room for as many of the staggeringly brilliant youth team that has just won the league for an unprecedented second year running, as we want – irrespective of their race etc etc.

Part three:  The up and coming

So who are we going to bring in to the first team squad, given that we have so many spare places?   How about

  • Goal: Szczensy (he’s already on the list above)
  • Central defence: Nordtveit, Bartley
  • Wide defence:
  • Defensive midfield: Emmanuel Thomas, Coquelin
  • Attacking midfield: Lansbury, Barazite
  • Attack: Wellington Silva, Afobe

Some of these players can play in several positions – the most obvious case of Emmanuel Thomas who can play here, there and everywhere, and then some.  Coquelin can play full back etc etc.

And so, ladies and gents, I give you our squad, 2010/11, all within the new rules of the game, and no restrictions on replacing a home grown or under age player with someone older – we’ve plenty of space.


The squad of 39 for 2010/2011

Goal: Szczensy, Almunia, Fabianski, Manone

Central defence: Vermaelen, Djourou, Nordtveit, Bartley, Gallas*, Silvestre*, Campbell*, A N Other, A N Other

Wide defence: Sagna, Eboue, Clichy, Gibbs, Traore, A N Other

Defensive midfield: Song, Denilson, Emmanuel Thomas, Coquelin, Eastmond, Ramsey

Attacking midfield: Nasri, Lansbury, Barazite, Diaby, Fabregas, Rosicky, Wilshire, Merida

Attack: Arshavin, Van Persie, Wellington Silva, Afobe, Eduardo, Chamakh, Vela, Bendtner

* Players who might leave to be replaced by younger versions


The rules

Squad registration list must be submitted at the end of the transfer window:  31 August 2010, and then again on 31 January 2011.

Squad size limit – Maximum 25 players over 21 years. No limit for under-21 players.

Age definition – 1 January of the season’s starting year. 1 January 2010 for the 2010/11 season.

Home-grown quota – 8 of the 25 squad places can only be filled with home-grown players.  Thus, only 17 foreign-grown players (over 21 years) are allowed.

Home-grown (1) age – All club registrations before the age of 21 (at the end of the season).

Home-grown (2) home – All clubs registered with the English or Welsh FA.

Home-grown (3) length – Minimum period of 3 seasons or 36 months (continuous or not).

50 Replies to “Arsenal’s squad for next season: no restriction on the number of new players”

  1. Walcott is number 7 in the under 21s section. That is why the system is so good for us – we can have an England world cup player, he can play in every game, and he doesn’t count in the 25!

    That’s where some clubs will get stuck, and why I think Man U are contemplating a clear out.

  2. Great! This really clears things up!

    Now all Wenger needs to do is: offload Gallas and Silvestre, buy Hangeland, Kjaer and van der Wiel, and replace Almunia with Hart/Frey/Akinfeev/Buffon!

  3. Great as always Tony… in the begining i tought we were screwed with this new rule…but it turned out its marvelous …lets see if the wenger kids policy will get us some results this next season.
    Chelsea, man u, and liverpool will surely have some serious problems

  4. Must agree with donaeto, Tony. You left him out of the squad of 39 players. So it is 40?

  5. It sure does look nice that squad. Great article Tony. I must say the future looks bright.
    With thanks to that c*nt of a manager of ours. 😉

  6. Well on my screen he is definitely showing in the Part Two list

    1 Szczcesny 19 Home Grown
    2 Gibbs 20 Home Grown
    3 Traore 20 Home Grown
    4 Eastmond 19 Home Grown
    5 Ramsey 19 Home Grown
    6 Wilshere 18 Home Grown
    7 Walcott 20 Home Grown <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< 8 Vela 20 9 * Merida 19 ** Home Grown

  7. Two hundred million years ago the continents of Antarctica, South America,Europe, Africa, India and Australia were joined together as a single supercontinent known as Gondwana, or Gondwanaland. At this stage the area which later emerged as New Zealand lay between southeast Australia and west Antarctica, most of it under the sea. So I reckon that Gondwanaland registration would also qualify as home grown players…?

  8. I think AW is a little bit careful in investing in new players as in one or two years, some young players cannot be considered as under 21 any longer. If the new players are below 25 years, then AW will get a headache in near futures because he will have to offload some of the current players. Off course it’s only a speculation from me based on my interpretation of what he said at a couple of weeks ago.

  9. Look, if you are going to understand what I am writing about Kiwigooner, I am not going to play any more

  10. Nice work, Tony. Listing out each spot really clears things up.

    So possibly 5 new additions…

  11. Tony, it’s your ball and I hope you don’t take it home with you. Just trying to inject a little levity…

  12. the 39 list gk looks truely ugly and will not fit any championship.. sack all four and get some better faces… the GK FRACAS ARE OVER..

  13. Kiwigooner – are you actually in New Zealand? In which case it must be 2am. Now that is dedication to the Arsenal cause!

    I have to admit I remembered Gondwanaland from an article in New Scientist a couple of years ago, but not in the detail you have.

    There was another time when all of the land masses came together and had another name, but that escapes me completely. But still, I think I might set up a new club… Gondwanaland Rovers, touring the primeval forests, playing games against woolly mammoths (or whatever they had then…)

  14. oh…look at these…

    First team EPL
    van Persie, Chamak, Nasiri, Fabregas, Song, Glichy, Sagnya, New Gk, Yaya Toure , Vermalen, Arshavin

    Bench EPL…
    Diaby, Walcott, fabiansky, rosicky,denilson,Djourou/Campbell,Eboue

    First team Champions League
    van Persie, Chamak, Nasiri, Fabregas, Arshavin, Song, Glichy, Sagnya, New Gk, Yaya Toure, Vermalen

    Bench Champions League…
    Diaby, Campbell/ Djourou, fabiansky, rosicky,denilson, Eboue, Walcott.

    First team Cups.
    Bendner, Vela, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshire, walcott, Eastmond, Merida, Fabiansky, Djourou, Rosicky.

    Bench Cups..-
    Arshavin, Nasiri,Diaby,Eastmond, New GK, Yaya Toure.

    To be honest…
    Pls sell Diaby, Eboue, Bendner,Denilson..I really dont see much of value… even on a fully fit day we need a strong bench…..

    I have already excluded Sivester, Gallas, Eduardo..

    YOUR views….

  15. Is A N Other the step brother to ManIOU’s Own Goal? I think their mothers had the same mailman. 😉

  16. Because each club needs 8 home grown players of considerable quality in their squad of 25, I’ve just looked at our main rivals to see if I can get some idea of how they are likely to fair with these new rules. It looks quite interesting

    Below is Man IOU home grown players within the current 1st team squad:

    Giggs (1 yr left)
    Scoles (1 yr left)
    Neville (1yr left)
    Rafael DaSilva
    Fabio DaSilva
    Foster (likely to leave)
    Johnny Evans
    After that it is a bunch of young reserves who have never even made it near the 1st team to my knowledge. So there are 15 definites at the moment, but after next year ManIOU could really be struggling, unless they give the old timers yet another 1 year deal. Add to that the rumours that Carrick could be going this summer and with Rio struggling more and more with injury, then Alex F Word’s problems may be far greater than AW’s. They have signed Smalling though so he will add to the numbers, although from what I’ve seen of him, his quality is very much in doubt I’d say and Sir F Word may have been sold a ringer (well done again to Roy Hodgson!! and to AW for not really pulling out the stops to get him)

    Chelsea’s maybe be even worse:

    Cashly Cole
    Joe Cole
    Daniel Sturridge
    Mikel (signed when 19 so will not count)
    Anelka (don’t think he spent long enough at Arsenal to count)
    I cannot see any other home grown player in their 1st team squad that isn’t an unknown reserve, so the quality of their 1st team squad will suffer a lot unless they buy proven home grown players starting this summer.

    I wont even bother too much with Liverpool – they’re in the shit anyway but I cannot think of many home grown players other than Gerrard, Carragher, Glen Johnson, Jay Spearing, Insua (maybe but don;t know how long he’s been there) and JonJo Shelvey (just signed from Charlton) so it could be a very difficult few years for them.

    All in all, I reckon Arsenal’s position is one of immense strength going into the future.

  17. I think you’ve got the new rules spot on.

    A few points:-

    You list Walcott amongst the under 21s as of 1.1.10 but you have left him out of your final squad of 39.

    Merida is almost certain to leave this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Traore go as well, possibly to be replaced in the squad by Pedro Botelho.

    Three other homegrown players over 21 you don’t mention who will also most likely leave are Senderos, Gilbert and Simpson.

    As far as I am aware Wellington Silva cannot join us until his 18th birthday next January.

    I can’t see Afobe getting near the first team next season. Sunu or Freeman are probably more ready (if not the injury-prone Murphy). I think Coquelin is seen mainly as a right back now and in midfield you don’t mention Henderson who made the bench several times lately. Obviously some of these youngsters will go out on loan anyway so it’s hard to judge which ones will make the squad.

    I personally hope we replace Almunia and/or Fabianski with a top class, commanding keeper.

  18. The other land mass was Pangea Tony- but I can’t guarantee the spellig!

  19. Kenyan gooner: Good article as usual. Thanks for helping us solve this mystery. Your analysis and probable next season line-up reminds me of Lord Wenger’s comment sometimes back- that he feels like a kid at christmass at the begining of every season. I believe the excitement is in unveiling new young talents- who wouldn’t be delighted about the likes of Ramsey? With few new signings, we will reach THERE. Have always believed n I still believe the present n future is gooners’.

  20. Hello,this Osuna Patrick based in completely happy with everything that you have done to keep us posted but i don’t beliv with any body who says ebuoe or bentner should be be honest ebuoe is better than sagna but just coz wenger has some way he favours sagna.he is not given match practice and can co ordinate better with all our no.7 than sagna.he was one of the best defenders in 2006 and for the case of bentner just coz RVP has already made aname for arsenal but even from beginning of last session betner was better than RVP.HE HAS IMPROVED AND LOOKS SO Stronger.sell diaby he is wengers man,and denilson is ason to arsenal so why sell him.he is promising.

  21. One thing to consider however, is that the system is fluid. 20 year olds become 21 and then force the club to use cap space under the 25 restriction.

    Next season we are fine, but further along we will have to make hard choices about players such as Walcott and Vela.

  22. Pls from dis article i understand that we can have up to 39 players does that mean all this players folowing d HG rule play in the premiership .does the rule also mean that apart from d 25 other home grown players can play 4 us in epl matches.Please Tony or someone should help me.

  23. why cant wenger sell fabianscky, almunia, sylivester, gallas, eduardo and rosiscky and buy hart, rafael silva, bansley, and torres to replace them.

  24. Simple reason. Maybe people don’t want to buy them if they are as awful as you think Tychonoff.

    Second, if the other players are as good as you think, maybe the clubs they are with don’t want to sell. Maybe the players don’t want to move.

  25. I believe that due to Brazilian transfer rules (player can’t move til the first transfer window after they turn 18), we won’t seeing Wellington Silva until January at the earliest (wikipedia says he was born 6 Jan 1993)

  26. The forming of Gondwana lead to the Permian Mass Extinction (250 million years ago) which wiped out 95% of all species on the planet, it is generally known as the great dying and is the worst of the 5 mass extinction’s in the Earth’s history.

    I’m sure that you didn’t have this rather tenuous link in mind but we might be about to see a mass extinction of football clubs.

  27. There do seem to be a lot of people worrying about how we will cope with to many good players and accomodate them all in the squad.

    mmm to many good players – don’t know how I’m going to deal with that.

  28. @ML: Hange-What? Not in a team that I support. Not Arsenal. Please don’t even joke about it.

  29. Yes I have cocked up a bit here, and despite earlier denials I see that I left Walcott out of the full list. sorry.

    But as for next year and the year after, if you look at the team that just won the youth league then in two years time I bet some of them will be coming through.

    The youth team that won the double last year had 9 england players and two from France. Obviously all the England are Home Grown, and I suspect the French two are as well. They will still be under 21.

    Who gets played in EPL matches is up to the manager. Any of the 25 registered players, and as many from the under 21s list as you like. So if some genius child emerges in November, he can play in the EPL team. No problem.

    Sorry about Wellington Silva too – but we can bring him in, in January – we don’t have to declare players under 21 for the whole year – we can bring in as many as we want. It is just the over 21s who have to be “registered” at the end of each transfer window.

    I really think we have this sussed for several years to come.

  30. And wasn’t it Wenger who said a few months ago that the best youth teams (or prospects) are only coming through in a few years time? He said that it was the -16 and -14 that looked the best they had ever had.
    That is what I think he said. Maybe I dreamt he said it. 😉

  31. I asked this question(s) a few weeks ago and never got any feed back. It seems to me that 21 years of age is now the cut off point to prove yourself with a premier league club, your either good enough to be named an over 21 squad player or you bounce down the divisions. will this have a positive or negative affect on the lower leagues e.g will we see more over 21 players under contract to top flight clubs being loaned out to lower league sides or even other prem sides.

  32. Adam I suspect no one answered because no one knows. There are so many new things happening – most obviously the 25 rule, and in Arsenal’s case, not just the accommodation of the double winning youth side a year ago, but also what to do with the youth side that has just won the league this year.

    The problem is for a 21 year old not making in the EPL who has been trained there, is that the training conditions down the leagues are nothing like those in the top. So you could argue they are more likely to try and get games in the other top leagues of Europe rather than in League One here.

  33. @ LRV: Yeah maybe you’re right… he didn’t look as solid as I expected in the Europa League final!

    I still think we need a serious, top class CB who has a strong presence. Then good old Sol, Djourou and the other youngsters can be used for back-up, rotation and cup teams.

    Who would you suggest Wenger buys for CB?

  34. Tony I need to ask a question here….. You say the rules state that we can have max of 25 players over 21 and 8 of these must be home grown. I see in the 25 man squad you have named we actually only have 7 home grown, does this mean we would only be able to have a 24 man squad? Or am i being a bit obtuse and have missed something?

  35. DOH!!!!!! Just realised Sol is there as number 8… didn’t twig cos the smiley face instead of the number. Apologies Tony, completely ignore my previous comment and then when you have ignored that you can ignore this too!

  36. An excellent article Tony. I can see an intense competition for good English players (to satisfy the HG rule) over the age of 21, thereby inflating transfer values above the already stratospheric heights. The implications for Arsenal as I see it are two fold:
    a) There will be less competition for overseas players for the coming season and possibly the next. AW may be able to get the players he wants this time at a reasonable price.
    b) As our long term academy graduates come through into the first team in the future. they will almost all be considered home grown.
    A win Win situation all around!
    Did I get this right?

  37. I heard PNE might need a bit of cash urgently.

    As Arsene’s not up for picking a fight with Fergie right now, you think he could pick one with his son??!! Assuming his son’s judge of a player is better than his old man’s??!!

  38. Nice one Tony. And thanks to everyone who’s commented so far for making me feel good about the prospects of the team for the future. I am writing in from nigeria andI really think Traore, Gallas, Silvestre, Fabianski and Senderos should all go and be replaced with any four from Hart/Green/Buffon/Akinfaev, Hangeland, Yaya, Inler to add to Chamkh. I know we Gooners have been saying this for the past four seasons, but i really feel with the depth these players will ad and injuries permitting, we are truly on a wave next season and beyond irrespecive of whatever happens at Spurds, Chelski, Loserpool, Money City and Theatre of Deceit.

  39. We look good for next season but at a casual glance it looks like we would need to find room for 4 from the “part 2” list for the following season?

  40. I seem to remember commenting on this before, but can’t find it now?
    The question was why Almunia and RVP didn’t qualify as home grown?

  41. Mark, I think both of them came at later age so cannot qualify as home grown

  42. Just for the culture of some, G**land is actually known as Pangaea.
    Never hurts to learn something…

  43. @mark the spark: if I’m not wrong the 3 season rule says they have to be played before the player reaches 21.

  44. I think a lot of people have slightly missed the point about these rules. From what I can see the problem that clubs could face won’t be about not having enough homegrown players, as if they are a bit short in that respect they can register a couple of their youngsters in the 25 man squad to bring the number up to the required eight.

    The difficulty I can see is that effectively, it limits clubs to having 17 foreign players (over the age of 21). Some clubs, for example Chelsea and Man Utd, who have big squads and buy plenty of foreign talent, might be forced into selling a foreign player because they will not be able to register him and play him under these new rules. Man City could also face that same problem soon.

  45. I might be wrong, but from the looks of it these regulations will also limit clubs to registering only 25 players over the age of 21. Can anyone confirm this?

    Looking at Chelsea’s squad, they would have come very close if not over that limit before they released Belletti, Ballack and Joe Cole. And as they will likely be forced to register some players who are under 21 such as Sturridge to reach their qouta of 8 homegrown, there doesn’t some to be much room for manouevre. That could affect their player acquisition this summer.

    Man Utd also appear very close to the over-age limit (although they are comfortable with the homegrown quota), especially with 22 year old Javier Hernandez coming in. The upcoming retirements of some stalwarts will give them some breathing space, but again it might become difficult for them to buy and register ready-made players without selling or releasing first.

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