Arsenal needs to sell or loan out seven, just to be able to bring in one more player!

By Tony Attwood

Jack Wilshere has gone as we all know, and there has been much talk of others leaving, but few players if any actually seem to be on their way out.   Meanwhile there is still constant chatter about more and more and more signings being in the offing.

So there’s four things I want to cover here.  First, who are the chatterers still chatting about arriving, second, how many do we need to sell to stay with the 25 player rule, third who are we going to sell, and finally why have there been so few departures thus far?

Part 1: Tipped to arrive – the current round of tall tales.

1.1  N’Zonzi: that story runs and runs.  It’s even in Cornwall Live today, and if the story has reached that far, well, it must be true.

1.2  According to Arsenal Station “Arsenal are ready to launch a £44m bid to sign Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman as Unai Emery eyes his sixth summer signing.”  They got that from the Sun.

1.3  Max Meyer is close to a deal with Arsenal, according to The Top Flight.

1.4  Rodrigo Bentacur of Juventus has now joined the list of incoming, says Gazzetta Dello Sport and Mad About EPL.  He will play alongside Torreira.

Part 2: But we have to sell two squad number players just to balance the books

Now I am notoriously awful at this, but as you’ll know from my bumbling attempts before we can only have 17 players who are over 21 and who are not home grown.  So I have listed the players including both these details (are they home grown, are they over 21), starting only with those who have squad numbers.

The under 21s are not subject to restrictions, so I’ve left these out for the moment.   But just to confirm, being “Under 21” does not relate to a player’s date of birth but an arbitrary date chosen by Uefa.  If a player is classified as under 21 he is under 21 for the season and thus can play without being counted in the “25”.

Likewise being “Home Grown” has nothing to do with being British, British or Irish, English or pretty much anything else to do with nationality.  To avoid EU rules about anyone being able to work anywhere in the Union, it relates to where the player did his training.  Obviously when the UK leaves the EU next year, this rule can be changed and the League can say “No foreigners” or whatever it wants to say.  As the WC came to an end there were already commentators demanding tighter restrictions on foreign players in the PL, so it might happen.

In the table of players with squad numbers below, the key things we have to look at are in the final two columns.   FG+21 means players who are foreign grown and classified as over 21 – we are only allowed 17 of these, so I have counted them in that column.   “25” indicates the fact that we can only have 25 players who are classified as over 21.   Again I have counted them.

Y in the tables below means Yes.  But you probably guessed that.

Squad No Pos Player U21? HG? FG+21 “25”
Max 17 Max 25
1 GK Petr Cech 1 1
2 DF Hector Bellerin Y 2
4 MF Mohamed Elneny 2 3
5 DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos 3 4
6 DF Laurent Koscielny 4 5
7 MF Henrikh Mkhitaryan 5 6
8 MF Aaron Ramsey Y 7
9 FW Alexandre Lacazette 6 8
10 MF Mesut Ozil 7 9
11 MF Lucas Torreira 8 10
12 DF Stephen Licsteiner 9 11
13 GK David Ospina 10 12
14 FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 11 13
15 MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles Y Y
16 DF Rob Holding Y 14
17 FW Alex Iwobi Y Y
18 DF Nacho Monreal 12 15
19 GK Bernd Leno 13 16
20 DF Shkodran Mustafi 14 17
21 DF Calum Chambers Y 18
22 MF Jeff Reine-Adelaide Y Y
23 FW Danny Welbeck Y 19
25 DF Carl Jenkinson Y 20
26 GK Emiliano Martinez Y 21
27 DF Konstantinos Mavropanos 15 22
28 FW Lucas Pérez 16 23
29 MF Matteo Guendouzi 17 24
31 DF Sead Kolasinac 18 25
32 FW Chuba Akpom Y 26
34 MF Granit Xhaka 19 27

So we have a double problem.  We have 19 “foreign” players who are over 21 and we are only allowed 17, and we have 27 players in total who are over 21 and we are only allowed 25.  And this is before we sign any of the rumoured incoming players.

Part 3: And to make it worse we also have to sell the non-squad number players who are over 21

It is indeed worse than the table above for we have a number of players who are still on the books but who are not yet with a squad number.  Some of these don’t matter since they are classified “under 21” and therefore don’t have to be registered, but others are not, and so are in limbo.

Here is the “no number” list of players who might be considered first teamers.

  • Joe Willock
  • Reiss Nelson
  • Joel Campbell
  • Deyan Iliev
  • Matt Macey
  • Cohen Bramall

Nelson is a slightly odd case because he appears to have two numbers and I am sure he will be retained along with Willock, both of whom are under 21 and home grown.  So I’ve no doubt both of these stay – they don’t affect the “25”.  The rest would add to one or both of those already over-crowded columns on the right side of the table above if they stayed.

Part 4: So what is the solution to this overcrowding?

1: From the “no number” players I am sure Nelson will stay and suspect Willock will also.

2: The rest of the “no number” players (Campbell, Iliev, Macey, Bramall) will I suspect be sold or loaned out.

3: We must also remove two from the FG+21 column.  The obvious candidates seem to be Cech or Ospina, and Pérez.

But remember that even after we have removed Campbell, Iliev, Macey, Bramall, Cech or Ospina, and Pérez we will still not have room for any more purchases of players who are counted as over 21.  Those six have to go just to get us down to 25 players of whom a maximum of 17 are foreign grown.

And just one extra note: if both Cech and Ospina went we would most likely keep either Iliev or Macey so we would still be in the same position.  We have just balanced the books.

Thus if the manager wants to bring in any more players (as the hyper active Foot Lond and the rest insist) all that removal work has to be done, and then he still has to sell in order to buy anyone classified as over 21 – and if he wants a non-HG player he has to sell a non-HG player. 

Meaning we have to sell six to break even; we have to sell seven to buy one, we have to sell eight to buy two, and so on.  And we must match foreigner for foreigner; we don’t have any leeway in the HG column as we have had in the past.

But why is this selling taking so long?   The answer I guess is that although the incoming window gently creaks shut as the season starts, the selling window is kept open until the end of August.  So we have time to sell players to countries that have kept their in and out date as the conventional 31 August.


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7 Replies to “Arsenal needs to sell or loan out seven, just to be able to bring in one more player!”

  1. Tony, you have included Mavropanos and Guendouzi as FG +21. For premier league squad purposes I think they classify as u21. However for Europa League they would have to be part of the 17 as they haven’t been with the club for 2 years.

  2. This situation just highlights how the artificial rules adversely affect
    clubs, and puts players careers at unnecessary risk.

    Unai has some decisions to make.

  3. Great bit of work. There is probably someone at Arsenal with the task of working all this out!
    Maybe they just should just come straight to and steal your good work.

  4. On who is u 21 etc etc I’m reporting the figures and data I’ve got. You may well be right guys about Iwobi etc. I’m staying with this for the moment because that’s what my data says, and I don’t know where to find a definitive source.

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