Players Currently on Arsenal’s Books – Whose future has to be decided and how many players can we actually sign?


by Andrew Crawshaw

The senior squad for all Premier League teams is 25 players aged 21 or more of whom at least 8 have to be ‘home grown’.  The age limit is calculated from the 1st of January in which the league season starts.

My understanding of Home Grown means a player who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21).

Clubs will be able to supplement their squads with unlimited additional players under the age of 21 on 1st January in the year in which the season commences.

The Arsenal First team squad currently lists 35 players (I have included the fourth goalkeeper Matt Macey and our unseen Brazilian Wellington Silva as well as the four loan players Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Podolski, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo.  I have not included Diaby who is out of contract at the end of the month)

Of these 35, 27 are over 21 so decisions have to be made over the futures of some of them.

We have 10 over 21 players who count as home grown so we need to retain at least 8 of them.  We also have 17 players over 21 who are not ‘home grown’ so we must sell/loan some of these before we can bring in any new non ‘home grown’ players.

Looking at the squad by position we have…


Nationality Squad No DOB 21 or Over Home Grown
Wojciech Szczesny Poland 1 18 Apr 1990 Y Y
David Ospina Colombia 13 31 Aug 1988 Y N
Emiliano Martinez Argentina 26 2 Sep 1992 Y Y
Matt Macey England 49 9 Sep 1994 N Y

If we are looking to buy Petr Czech from Chelsea then it makes more sense for us to sell Ospina than any of the other three and whilst not a decision that needs to be taken immediately we need to decide which two of the other three we will be looking to retain for the 2016/17 season (all three count as ‘home grown’).

Right Back

Nationality Squad No DOB 21 or Over Home Grown
Mathieu Debuchy France 2 28 Jul 1985 Y N
Carl Jenkinson England 25 8 Feb 1992 Y Y
Hector Bellerin Spain 39 19 Mar 1995 N Y

So we could keep all three for this coming season or (more probably) look to loan out Carl for a second season as Arsène has said that he intends to keep him in the long term.  As noted above we can afford to do this as we have two more ‘home grown’ over 21 players than required by the FA rules.

Left Back

Nationality Squad No DOB 21 or Over Home Grown
Kieran Gibbs England 3 26 Sep 1989 Y Y
Nacho Monreal Spain 18 26 Feb 1986 Y N

Two players one ‘home grown’ – for me no real decision here we should keep both unless Arsène sees an opportunity for a major upgrade.

Centre Back

Nationality Squad No DOB 21 or Over Home Grown
Per Mertesacker Germany 4 29 Sep 1984 Y N
Gabriel Brazil 5 26 Nov 1990 Y N
Laurent Koscielny France 6 10 Sep 1985 Y N
Calum Chambers England 21 20 Jan 1995 N Y
Isaac Hayden England 42 22 Mar 1995 N Y

Five players on the current roster, two  who are U21 and don’t count towards the squad limit of 25, none of the three senior players are homegrown.  Again I don’t see any need for any reinforcements – three established players and two U21s for cover (plus of course further cover from Debuchy and Monreal in emergency).


Nationality Squad No DOB 21 or Over Home Grown
Thomas Rosicky Czech Republic 7 4 Oct 1980 Y N
Mikel Arteta Spain 8 26 Mar 1982 Y N
Jack Wilshere England 10 1 Jan 1992 Y Y
Mesut Özil Germany 11 15 Oct 1988 Y N
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain England 15 15 Aug 1993 Y Y
Aaron Ramsey Wales 16 26 Dec 1990 Y Y
Santi Cazorla Spain 19 13 Dec 1984 Y N
Mathieu Flamini France 20 7 Mar 1984 Y N
Francis Coquelin France 34 13 May 1991 Y Y
Gedion Zelalem USA 35 26 Jan 1997 N Y
Krystian Bielik Poland 36 4 Jan 1998 N Y

Firstly senior ‘home grown’ players – Jack, Aaron, the Ox and Le Coq.  We should definitely keep all of them, no matter how much money any other team offers us.  As for the rest Thomas and Mikel will be ‘keepers’ having signed one year extensions, Mesut and Santi are also keepers because they are both brilliant players.  The only player I see at risk is Mathieu and then only if we sign another senior overseas player.


Nationality Squad No DOB 21 or Over Home Grown
Lucas Posolski Germany 9 4 Jun 1985 Y N
Olivier Giroud France 12 30 Sep 1986 Y N
Theo Walcott England 14 16 Mar 1989 Y Y
Alexis Colombia 17 19 Dec 1988 Y N
Yaya Sanogo France 22 27 Jan 1993 Y N
Danny Welbeck England 23 26 Nov 1990 Y Y
Joel Campbell Costa Rica 28 26 Jun 1992 Y N
Wellington Silva Brazil N/A 6 Jan 1993 Y N
Serge Gnabry Germany 27 14 Jul 1995 N Y
Chuba Akpom England 38 9 Oct 1995 N Y

Olivier, Theo (assuming he signs his new contract) Alexis and Danny are keepers, Serge and Chuba are both U21.

I am 100% certain that Lucas will be sold this summer and 85% certain that Campbell will either be sold or 15% that he will be loaned out to check on his development.  That will free up two senior Overseas positions.

Yaya and Wellington will have to have blinders in pre-season to stand any chance of making the first team for this coming season.  Far more likely is that they will either be released or loaned out.  For us to keep either will restrict the number of new players we can bring in.

So if we loan out Jenkinson, Sanogo and Wellington, ‘swap’ Ospina for another goalie and transfer Podolski and Campbell that will give us scope to bring in a maximum of three over 21 players (plus a new goalkeeper).  There is also the option of releasing Flamini in favour of a DM upgrade.

In short, don’t go looking for wholesale changes to the squad this summer.


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Anniversary of the day

20 June 1998: Netherlands 5 South Korea 0 Marc Overmars scored the second goal on 42 minutes, and became the first Arsenal player to score in world cup final stages.  Bergkamp scored on 71 minutes.  Dennis also signed for Arsenal on this day but “arrived” on 21 June.   And later…

The full anniversaries index can be found here.


18 Replies to “Players Currently on Arsenal’s Books – Whose future has to be decided and how many players can we actually sign?”

  1. A very good and welcome look at the squad and one that gives some good information on what we an expect at the most. Not that I do expect anything in fact. I love the whole squad, don’t want any to go away but will accept any judgement made by Wenger if he think he can improve the squad.

    Still I think one big signing will be made but have no idea who it will be. I do have a strange name coming up in my dreams though… 😉 But you know dreams…. I once dreamed of Brigitte Bardot when I was very much younger…. 🙂 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comprehensive analysis of the squad.

    I personally think Szczesny should be loaned out if we do sign a new keeper. But given that Ospina will be off if we signed Cech (as he has apparently stated) and Martinez is out of contract, that would mean we’d also need a back up keeper. Maybe Courtois? 🙂

    At RB, I hope we loan Car out as I can see him coming back even better next season which may see Debuchy played more as a CB by then anyway.

    LB is sorted for me. Gibbs still has loads of time to develop into a great full back and Monreal has been excellent.

    CB; again no need for improvement there. The only change I would make is to start the season with Gabriel and Koscielny.

    Midfield is where it gets trickier for me. I do not think Rosicky wants to stay on the nebch and he might leave, despite having his contract extension option picked up. Same goes for Arteta, who I don’t think has actually signed an extension, has he? Flamini should also be released and a new defensive minded player signed up. Coquelin has been fantastic since he returned, but we can’t expect him to play every game next season and no other player in our current squad is anywhere near his level at what he does.

    Upfront, I feel that Podolski, Sanogo and Campbell will all be sold, which is a shame for Campbell particularly, as he hasn’t had the chance to stake a claim. Maybe he will be loaned to a PL club instead?

    That still leaves Theo (sign da ting!), Alexis, Giroud and Welbz. However, we may still see a new signing in the striking department if a truly top top top quality player becomes available (*cough* Benzema *cough*) 🙂

  3. The number and quality of our HG players is amazing actually. In contrast, Shiteh have a paltry 3 to our 10 (over 21) HG players, giving some meaning to those rumours of a Wilshere (and Sterling) bid. The other aspect of your analysis of course, is the sheer brilliance and foresight of AW’s (new?) approach to building a team, where its come to the point that periphery factors like restrictions, FFP, want-away players/players desire to join do not have a major say in what we do in the transfer market.
    The only questions now regard player availability and competition for their signature – factors that lie well outside the realm of any manager’s/football club’s control.
    In Arsene we should Trust much more than we do

  4. I think this goalie situation is a bit harsh on Ospina, who has played a blinder since he got in the team. I’d grown quite fond of him, but I suppose Cech has the pedigree and an extra few inches, and was a target of Wenger’s back in the day if I remember correctly. All I can say is I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision!

  5. Walter

    Thanks for that.

    They sure do have some lungs on ’em !

    As much as I’m not sure it would be my cup of tea for commentary in the long term I must admit, for me, there is a certain charm to it, and as such, following his wonder goal in the FA Cup final I spent ages trying to find a Chilean commentary, and reaction but with no luck.

    You wouldn’t have a link for that at all would you?

  6. Jambug

    I don’t partake of youtube, but I think I might be able to help. You are going to need to build a URL, and then cut and paste it into your web browser destination bar (field). In order to keep wordpress from recognizing it as a URL, I am changing dots to commas and full colons to semicolons in a few places.

    Using Google for you, is probably google,co,uk.
    The first part of the query corresponds to
    alexis sanchez fa cup

    The next part corresponds to

    What this is doing, is restricting your search to all web domains that end in ‘.cl’, which is nominally chile.

    I suspect you don’t need the last 2 things (&hl=en-CA&gbv=1)

    Which I think will end up being

  7. A grassroots thing, on a number of levels.

    I don’t know if England ever gets drought, we do. In a drought the grass gets really crunchy, and the ground gets hard. Which is why us canuckleheads use multi-studs when you use 6 stud boots (or maybe 8 studs).

    On seeing a news article about drought tolerant grass, and observing how much winterkill we’ve had the last couple of years on my street, I went doing some research.

    I remember many years ago when the team I used to do athletic first aid for, had a student from Sacramento, California. It was dry, and there were people in Sacramento painting their lawn green. And apparently, this is still an option. Artificial turf instead of grass is another.

    There were reports that orange thyme, lemon thyme or woolly thyme being used instead of grass (for the entire lawn). And talking to my local nursery, they think that thyme emits a poison which actually kills grass (you can have grass or thyme, but not both). I hadn’t heard anything about people playing football on thyme. (There has to be a joke about that.)

    Another thing which is probably a complete replacement for grass, is apparently Corsican mint. I have a vague recollection that many mints are regarded as invasive.

    And the last option I ran across involved micro-clover. Which is apparently a product of DLF Trifolium (trifolium I think is the latin term for clover). And I gather DLF is now the world’s largest supplier of turfgrass?

    Apparently, some of the football fields for WC 2014 Brazil, had some micro-clover in the turf. Being clover, it fixes nitrogen and reduces nitrogen fertilizer requirements (you still need the other elements). Clover roots deeper, and brings up some deeper moisture to the surface for grasses to use (as well as the nitrogen) The roots/runners of clover, are larger in diameter than grass roots, and hence may make the turf stronger. Which might work with plastic fibres, which I think Wenger Stadium has in the pitch.

    Microclover is a kind of white clover, which only develops small leaves and small flowers. If allowed to grow, it only grows to 6 inches. It tolerates being mowed, and doesn’t need to be mowed as often as grass. A turf containing microclover is darker green than a pure grass turf (even at 2%).

    Is microclover being used in the turf at Wenger Stadium? Other major stadiums? Being considered for “grassroots” projects?

  8. Gord

    I don’t pretend to have a clue what you are talking about but I clicked on the link and right at the bottom found a video clip of the gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal. Loved it 🙂

    As you know all the reports where in Spanish but with my teeny tiny smattering of Spanish I got the gist of there excitement and pride.

    Thanks for your help.

    PS By the way I do appreciate your efforts (yet again) to educate this particular dinosaur in the wonders of the technological World in which we live, but I fear you really are flogging a dead horse.

    Thanks anyway.

  9. Gord

    It rains a lot here.

    When it does we flood.

    It’s rarely sunny.

    When the sun does come out we have a drought.

    To be honest I think we have a leak !

  10. Colario/Jambug

    I am glad I was able to help. I wish I was able to help my Mom with the Internet as much as I seem to be able to help people on Untold. She has done so much for me, and everything I seem to try turns to crap.

    But, the site: restriction works for Google and I think it also works for DuckDuckGo.

  11. WWC game (Germany Sweden). It was not needed or wanted for the German to dive.

    Diving is hard to prove. Internationals do not happen often. Which leaves lots of time to investigate dives.

    How about regular leagues continue to deal with diving as they have been. Simulation incidents get tracked from the first time a player appears on a national team (could be U13 even). Every dive (international play or not), comes with a 4 game ban for international play.

    And hence you could have a player like Ashley Diver at ManU, who could be picked for England, who has a 2000 game ban in international play for how many times he has dived in the EPL.

    Would that get diving out of football?

  12. Sad about Ospina if he is going to have to leave, i would rather keep him than Cech, i don’t know why, but it is just my instinct that warns against. I really hope AW has thought this one through. 🙂

    Just love them spanish commentators, now that’s what football is about, excitement and passion(even if i can’t understand it), not the un-usual stiff and boring commentary on UK stations, which is why i turn de volume down. 🙂

    10 more days to the begin of the most frantic part of the season, and i’m sure many of you will want it to just end already.

  13. Great article.

    One point missing in it. Chambers and Bielik are considered home-grown U-21 for the Premier League but the Champions League have stricter rules. If you are U-21, you must be two years at the club in order to be considered an U-21 player, otherwise you must be part of the 25.

    While Bielik can comfortably be left out of the Champions League squad, Chambers will take up one of the 25 places, leaving one less for a signing, making it more likely Flamini may be sold or someone else left out of the Champions League squad. It could well be the end of the transfer window before me know.

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