by Tony Attwood
So, as we know, we have purchased four players. A number of others are being discussed, but for the moment let us work with these four…
- Willian: Winger — from Chelsea, free
- Pablo Marí: Defender — from Flamengo, £14m
- Cédric Soares, Defender — from Southampton; free
- Gabriel Magalhães; Defender — from Lille £27m
All four have foreign status, meaning that they cannot be counted in our home grown list – which we shall come to in just a moment.
Who have we got
- Bernd Leno
- Emiliano Martinez (home grown)
- Matt Macey (home grown)
- William Saliba
- Calum Chambers (home grown)
- Rob Holding (home grown)
- David Luiz
- Kieran Tierney
- Hector Bellerin (home grown)
- Sead Kolasinac
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles (home grown)
- Lucas Torreira
- Granit Xhaka
- Mohamed Elney
- Matteo Guendouzi
- Joe Willock (home grown)
- Mesut Ozil
- Bukayo Saka (under 21)
- Gabriel Martinelli (under 21)
- Nicolas Pepe
- Reiss Nelson (under 21)
- Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
- Alex Lacazette
- Eddie Nketiah (home grown)
Other under 21s can of course be added to the squad at any time.
Just to clarify the position of Tierney, who is of course a citizen of the UK, sadly in the strange world of the FA that counts for nought – he is a foreigner, in footballing terms, as I understand the rules. He needs to have spent three years at an English or Welsh academy before being 21. Indeed even being born and bred in England doesn’t help a player if he has not had those three years being trained by an English or Welsh team. And I don’t think he did.
Indeed you might recall the ludicrous case of Cohen Bramall. He is English from head to toe, no doubt about it, but because he was not registered with a league club before the age of 21 he counted as not home grown. Want an insane policy drawn up? Ask the FA.
So back to the numbers…
That is a total of 30. Take away the three under 21s, and we are down to 27. The rule is a maximum of 25 over 21s, of whom only 17 can be non-home grown players.
Working with those 27 players for a moment we have eight home growns and 19 “non-home-grown” players. So we need to remove two non-home grown players. Who are they going to be?
One looks like being Matteo Guendouzi which is a great shame in my view. But he has apparently fallen out with either the manager or his senior team colleagues so it is one. That leaves one to go.
There has been a lot of talk about getting rid of Chambers and/or Holding, but that doesn’t help with the accounting total, because as noted above we need to lose non-home grown players before we even start thinking about the home-growns. Chambers and Holding are HGs. We might indeed let either or both go, but that won’t help balance the books in the strange fantasy world of the FA.
Thus we still have one non-HG gone and we need to lose one more. Who else?
The obvious answer is Ozil, who having not played much is another possibility. Of course he might refuse to go, but then Arsenal could simply fail to register him as one of the 25. Would the club go that far? Would the player simply sit it out?
Of course we can’t say, but if Mr Arteta really sees him as being of no use then Arsenal could do a deal with another club which involves one year of Arsenal paying part of Ozil’s salary and thus taking him off the books.
The alternative for our other foreign player to lose, could be Sokratis or maybe Torreira
But the main point is that simply listing more and more players (especially non-HG players) to bring in, is a fantasy, if we cannot move on those who are already at the club. And of course moving a player on is not just a case of “getting rid of”. A player might not be registered in the “25” but he still has to be paid. A loan, as suggested above for Ozil, is a better way.
And finally a little note from the Guardian, whom I recently chastised for giving Arsenal a prediction of 6th place in the coming season. Now, at the foot of the article in question this note has appeared…
“This article was amended on 1 September 2020. Owing to a calculation error an earlier version said the Guardian writers’ predicted position was 6th; in fact it was 5th.”
Pesky business adding up all these numbers and dividing the result to get an average.
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