By Tony Attwood
One of the problems with transfer rumours is that they tend to be confined, in the reporting thereof, to issues relating to an individual player, and not to the team as a whole. It is not always thus, but this is the tendency.
If we take Lucas Torreira he is variously described as a defensive midfielder and a holding midfielder, and there is a feeling in the media that he is on his way. According to the Daily Star who cite “Sky Sports man Dharmesh Sheth” .
“Stephan Lichtsteiner is in, Bernd Leno is in and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will sign on July 1. Lucas Torreira as well, that looks like it’s imminent.
Torreira is a holding midfield player whose strength according to Whoscored is ball interceptions and his weakness is aerial duels. They give his style of play as
and his general strengths are listed as having shots from distance, taking set-pieces, passing, tackling and concentration.
So where does he fit in, in a team that already has Elneny on a new contract, Xhaka as the start of the show for Switzerland, and Ramsey? Could one really have a squad with all four players in it? If so, are a couple of those players for the Europa League, League Cup and FA Cup, and covering for injuries?
I guess the most obvious answer to this is that Ramsey is seen as an attacking player just behind the main attack while Elneny is seen as the reserve and the player who will be used in the three knock out competitions. Maitland-Niles presumably will be used elsewhere, and again primarily in the Cups.
Back on 12 June the Guardian wrote “Arsenal agree £26.4m deal to sign Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira” and you don’t normally spend that sort of money on a player who is not going to be first choice in the Premier League games. But then I’d expect Xhaka and Ramsey to be first choice.
But the media is fairly sure about these things: “Arsenal to spend entire transfer budget on Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos” said the Metro last week. But they like the rest didn’t see how the team would fit together.
Here are Torreira’s figures…
So clearly from that he is not going to come to a club and not be top of the pecking order.
Our figures recently showed that we probably have a couple of spaces in the 25 based on our estimations of who might leave (a particularly difficult piece of guess work when considering all the goal keepers at the club), but what about the “home grown” factor.
Now you can only have 17 non-home grown players, although many commentators like to write this the other way around saying you need eight home grown. This however is a little misleading – the regulations are written in terms of “no more than 17 who are not home-grown”. You don’t have to have eight HG players; you could have seven and a squad of 24 instead of 25.
Indeed Arsenal, last season, having a squad of 25 listed players, was in the minority of PL clubs. Most clubs listed fewer than 25, because of the rule.
Here’s how it works out – the numbers on the left are just to keep count, not for any other purpose.
The non-home grown players likely to be in the squad next season. Under 21s on the qualifying date set by the Premier League do not have to be included so the Home-Grown rules don’t affect them.
So assuming that Joel Campbell walks away at the end of the month when his contract runs out we are once again ok, although bumping up against the 17 man boundary if anyone else who is not home grown wants to join.
Thus if we do want another non-home grown player thereafter we will have to lose another man – Cech would be a possibility or Ospina. Cech’s contract is up, unless he has renewed it and I missed it.
Overall it does all work as long as we don’t buy anyone beyond the four players listed in positions 15 to 18. And if the manager really does want to keep four players who can play defensive midfield, he can, knowing that Elneny is the backup and Ramsey is being used further forward.
Those four, then, and the buying is over, or else it is one out and one in, from there on.
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