In the men’s team, Arsenal could have two new players. Here are the options

By Tony Attwood

Following Andrew’s review of the women’s team (see link at the foot of this article) I thought I would return to my contemplations of the men’s squad, and in doing so I have found that for some weeks I’ve been getting things wrong.   So no surprise there.   But then so has the Premier League (at least in part), so maybe it is one all in terms of mistakes.

Anyway, apologies from me, and now to try and get things right.

The issue arises over Arsenal’s list of 25 men’s players aged over 21.  As you will know only 17 of these players can be “foreign” in the sense of non-home grown.  I have been saying off and on in the build up to this window that we have our maximum number of such “foreign” players and therefore have to sell one non-home-grown (NHG) player if we buy one.  But I have got that wrong; and here I will try and put things right.

Here is the list of non-home grown players in the 25.

  1. Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick
  2. Bramall, Cohen – but note he appears to be English and not “foreign”
  3. Cech, Petr
  4. Elneny, Mohamed Naser Elsayed
  5. Kolasinac, Sead
  6. Koscielny, Laurent
  7. Lacazette, Alexandre
  8. Leno, Bernd
  9. Lichtsteiner, Stephan
  10. Mkhitaryan, Henrikh
  11. Monreal, Ignacio
  12. Mustafi, Shkodran
  13. Ozil, Mesut
  14. Papastathopoulos, Sokratis
  15. Torreira, Lucas
  16. Xhaka, Granit

Now we are allowed 17 such players and thus quite clearly one more is allowable within the squad without any foreign players having to be sold.  My mistake entirely, and so certainly not the first time I feel a total prat.

But I am made to feel slightly less of a prat by the fact that included in the list is Cohen Bramall, whose name makes him sound rather English.  And as far as I can tell he was born in Crewe (which although I sometimes wish was not in England still is as far as I know), has not played overseas, and does not claim nationality from elsewhere via an aged relative.  So if we take my mistake, Arsenal have one non-HG place available.  If we take the error in the official records which makes Cohen a foreigner, we have two.

Now obviously it is still correct to say that Arsenal would need to drop players from the 25, because all 25 places have been taken – but at least for the next half season that is not a problem because of long term injuries.   If we look at the list of home grown players we can see several who might be removed from the list for the second half of the season.  I have marked the possible drops from the list with an asterisk…

  1. Bellerin, Hector
  2. *Holding, Robert Samuel – remove through injury
  3. Iliev, Deyan
  4. Iwobi, Alex
  5. *Jenkinson, Carl Daniel – remove as not being selected to play – could be loaned to try and get form back.
  6. Martinez, Damian Emiliano
  7. *Ramsey, Aaron James – remove as being transfered
  8. *Welbeck, Danny – remove as injured

Cohen Bramall really does puzzle me but I am going to stick my neck out as usual and say he is listed wrongly in the records which means we have 15 non-home grown players, and assuming none of them is sold or dropped completely that gives us two spaces in that department.

In the home grown list we have places available should we choose to remove any of the players for the reasons set out above, and we can include Cohen Bramall as a home grown player or drop him from the squad and loan him out.

And just to ensure that I am not making further errors here are our potential first teamers who are listed as under 21 and thus not included.  (To be clear, they don’t come into the reckoning on their 21st birthday – if accounted as under 21 at the end of the summer window, they are under 21 all season).

Guendouzi, Matteo
John-Jules, Tyreece Romayo
Maitland-Niles, Ainsley
Mavropanos, Konstantinos
Nelson, Reiss (on loan)
Nketiah, Edward
Osei-Tutu, Jordi
Pleguezuelo, Julio Jose
Saka, Bukayo
Sheaf, Ben
Smith Rowe, Emile
Willock, Joseph George

That is 12 players, one of whom is on loan.  I am not sure too many Premier League clubs can claim that number.

The main players we are currently being tipped to buy are…

Denis Suarez, midfielder from Barcelona; talk of a loan.

Cengiz Under – winger from AS Roma for anything from €50m to £55m

Andreas Pereira – playmaker from Manchester United

Keylor Navas – Costa Rican goalkeeper from Real Madrid for £14m.  Football London says “Navas in Ospina out that deal would make a lot of sense”.

Nicolas N’Koulou – defender from Torino, captain of Cameroon.

Ever Banega – midfielder from Sevilla with an £18million release clause, 30 years old.

Sami Khedira, German midfielder with Juventus offered in part exchange for Ramsey

Malcom.  Brazilian Forward who joined Barcelona in the summer, but linked to Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe.  A winger from Lille. 

Ousmane.  Another winger – he is with Barcelona.

Now of course I might have missed quite a few out – I’ve just picked up the ones occurring on the regular transfer centred sites yesterday evening and this morning.  But what is noticeable is that the general tone of “what we need” articles is that what we need are defenders.  Lots of them.  Lots and lots of them.

But there is only one out and out defender noted above.  Isn’t that a bit odd?

Oh and nothing here comes from the Daily Canon.  They’ve blocked us (although kindly suggesting we update our browser – but that was done anyway a couple of days ago).  We could ask for help, but as we’ve been a bit rude about some of their rumours before, we thought it might be pushing our luck a bit to plead to be let in again.

Anyway the story they are running is that Nic Bendtner has just started a prison sentence.  You can look up the details elsewhere if you wish.

11 Replies to “In the men’s team, Arsenal could have two new players. Here are the options”

  1. Tony,

    The situation re Cohen is indeed confusing. My understanding is that He is as English as you and me in that he was born and brought up in this country and should therefore count as English.

    The home grown rules however require that a player be registered with a team affiliated to the FA for a period of three years before they reach their 21st birthday and this is the problem.

    Cohen did not feature at junior levels as a footballer, he was an athlete. He only started playing football well into teenage years and then only at non-League level.

    Cohen came to us from non-League football and it seems that some of his early clubs were less than stringent with his registrations meaning that some of the required three years have got lost in the system somewhere to the extent that they can’t be retrieved.

    He is therefore caught out by the system, English by birth and upbringing but unable to be registered as home grown.

  2. As far as the Daily Canon goes, I’ve been unable to visit that place in a few weeks now. It accuses me of being a security problem to them. I presume it is something more mundane, like blocking cookies or disallowing javascript.

    In terms of Cohen, I suspect if some other club was having the problem, some executive order would be issued and his records corrected. But as it puts us at a disadvantage, they will leave the error in place.

  3. thanks, tony (and andrew) for the clarification; i just think we might add medley (born july 2000) in the list of our U21 “potential first-teamers”

  4. @Tony, @Andrew

    Eric Dier is not considered as a HG-player even if he is an English player. He spent the relevant age in Portugal.

    Anyway, I made a similar thread at my Twitter profile yesterday. I reckon that, if we are about to sign a new player, it’s likely to be a central defender, possibly a HG one. Gary Cahill ticks most of the boxes – a 6 months loan until Chambers returns from Fulham and Holding recovers from the injury. One box Cahill doesn’t tick is eligibility for European games as he has played for Chelsea in Europa League.

    As for other positions…

    Goalkeepers – we are not just full, we are over our heads in goalkeepers! We have four of them in the squad list – two of which are HG players and two are foreigners. Why the hell would we sign Navas (who is a better goalkeeper than either Čech or Leno though)?

    RBs – we have Bellerin and Lichtsteiner, with Jenko lurking around so…no.

    LBs – we have Nacho, Seo and Bramall. I expect Bramall to leave his Arsenal episode next summer, if not earlier.

    CBs – most likely a position that we need to strengthen. Mustafi, Sokratis, rusty Koscielny, injured Holding, loaned out Chambers, rusty Mavropanos, inexperienced Medley…we could use a new body there. My choice would be either Cahill or a free agent Pepe (even if I expect him to sign for Wolves).

    CMs – Ramsey will stay until the end of the season, Xhaka, Torreira, Elneny, Guendouzi, Matiland-Niles. All of them can play in the middle of the park. If I’d pick one name that is likely to leave, it’s Elneny but then again, he signed a new contract only recently. His playing time has been reduced and I don’t see Mr Emery giving him more playing time after this hectic period is over. I don’t expect anyone to join in this department unless we sell Elneny and/or Ramsey.

    AMs – Özil is still an Arsenal player and will remain one, Iwobi has been doing much better than pundits and others will want you to know and Mkhitaryan – currently injured – has scored four goals in the league despite having a rather poor season by his own standards. With youngsters like Saka and Willock we might not look for another attacking midfielder unless it’s a winger. Sarr is one option. Personally, I’d like to see Lozano from PSV or Bailey from Leverkusen at Arsenal but it’s unlikely to happen.

    CFs – with Welbeck out of the picture until the end of the season (and possibly for good as his contract runs out in June), we have two senior strikers – Aubameyang and Lacazette – who have been doing pretty well this season. Nketiah is there, waiting for his chance to shine again. I wouldn’t be surprised if we go after an attacking player that can play wide. Jamie Vardy could be an option as he would be eligible for Europe.

  5. As far as the bringing in of defenders goes it very much depends on Emery’s long term view re whether we play with two or three centre-backs, what the view is on Chambers and Bielik and whether or nor Maitland-Niles is going to be considered as a wing back (sharing the position with Bellerin) or as a central midfielder.
    The fact is that we mostly play with three CB’s and the box to box central MF doesn’t seem to exist any more. Neither Bellerin or Kolasinac look comfortable in a back four and to get the best out of them need to play as wing backs with three behind them.
    Ramsey has been used mainly as a different style No.10 and I think that position is most likely to go to Smith Rowe in the future so A M-N looks nailed on as a wing back.
    It’s the left side (both at CB and WB that needs atttention with Monreal becoming injury prone and Kos likely to be leaving at the end of his contract if not before. I’m not sure Medley is quite ready yet but the return of Holding might be sufficient for next season.

  6. @insideright

    Chambers has been spending most of his recent time at Fulham as a midfielder a d, according to my Fulham mate, is a star in that role. Donut count on him returning to CB assuming he does return. That will probably depend on Fulham having something of a miracle in the second half of the season and managing to end up in 17th place or better. Unlikely event I grant you

  7. Sorry if I’m being thick (it wouldn’t be the first time that accusation has been levelled!). Does this mean that Guendouzi will or will not be considered HG when he hots 21?

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