By Tony Attwood
Here’s the list as it seems to stand at the moment, of players over 21 years of age who could be qualifying for the 25.
Defence including wing backs (10)
- The Ox
Midfield defence (4)
- Santi Cazorla
Midfield attack (3)
Wide Attack (3)
Centre forward (4)
Obviously quite a few players can play multiple positions but I have just listed them once to avoid confusion.
The total I think gives us 28 players, so we will have to lose three of them.
And to make things complete here’s the list of our youth under 21s for this coming season who are likely to join in with the first team, but are, I think, not counted as yet in the list of 25 players (although being under 21 has to do with the age in January, I think, not the actual age when the season starts).
- Alex Iwobi
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles
- Jeff Reine Adelaide
- Reiss Nelson
So back to the players we will have to lose before we even bring in anyone else. And I have already removed players who don’t seem to have a future with the club such as Jenkinson.
Goal: one of the four has to go.
Defence: Gibbs looks the most vulnerable. But it is here that we have the other players not even listed above – Debuchy, Jenkinson, and Chambers. I have already assumed they will either leave the club permanently or at least on loan.
Midfield defence: If Santi Cazorla really is out until Christmas there is no point in including him in the 25. The list is resubmitted after the January transfer window.
Midfield attack: I have heard nothing about Jack Wilshere – I wonder if he is going to stay.
Wide attack: Joel Campbell looks like an outsider now
Central attack: Pérez seems to be everyone’s favourite to leave.
That gives us six departures in addition to the ones who are obviously available in that they have not played for the club of late. If all six were to go we could add three more incoming.
Getting rid of players is a lot easier than buying them, not least because if all else fails the players can go out on loan, and at least satisfy themselves by playing football and enhancing their profile for the next job.
So what does this do overall…
Defence including wing backs (9)
- The Ox
Midfield defence (3)
Midfield attack (2)
Wide Attack (2)
Centre forward (3)
Of course, once again, many players can play in several positions, but for simplicity I have confined each player to one position in this exercise.
That takes us right down to 22, leaving space for three more. That could be a transfer or two, the return of Santi Cazorla, or maybe one of the players I have cut, not leaving – Calum Chambers or Jack Wilshere perhaps.
But however we play it, that number is only three, and has to accommodate transfers in and any of those three above being in the squad. There really isn’t much space.
Of course Arsenal does not have to worry about the “home grown” element – we always meet that criteria and that is where many other clubs slip up. It’s just the 25 we have to watch.
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