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October 2020
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Arsenal’s 25 players list is over-full – we must lose some before we can buy

By Tony Attwood

Each year as the transfer window meanders its merry way towards its conclusion I make various ill-advised attempts to work out how we are going to squeeze the players we have and the players we want into the 25 positions that there are available.

And each year (it has become something of a tradition) various readers tell me how wrong I am, whose age I have miscalculated and whose nationality I have got wrong.  And yet despite this I continue and have another go.

And I do this because it does seem important to me as a supporter to try and see where the squad is going, and how many players are going to drop out of the squad.

Here is the squad, with those who will be classified as under 21 for the coming season (remembering it does not relate to the actual age but the rules laid down by the League and FA).

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Hector Bellerin
  3. Kieran Tierney
  4. William Saliba  Under 21
  5. Sokratis
  6. Gabriel
  7. Bukayo Saka  Under 21
  8. Dani Ceballos (on loan from Real Madrid)
  9. Alex Lacazette
  10. Mesut Ozil
  11. Lucas Torreira
  12. Willian
  13. Runar Alex Runarsson
  14. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
  15. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  16. Rob Holding
  17. Cedric Soarers
  18. Nicolas Pepe
  19. Shkodran Mustafi
  20. Calum Chambers
  21. Pabloa Mari
  22. David Luiz
  23. Reiss Nelson Under 21
  24. Mohamed Elneny
  25. Joe Willock Under 21
  26. Matteo Guendouzi Under 21
  27. Eddie Nketiah  Under 21
  28. Sead Kolasinac
  29. Emile Smith Rowe Under 21
  30. Matt Macey
  31. Granit Xhaka
  32. Gabriel Martinelli Under 21

For the 2020/21 campaign to qualify as Under-21, players will have been born on or after 1 January 1999.  They do not count in the 25.  We have eight of them.  Also eight players in the 25 have to be classified as home grown, leaving 17 places for “foreign” players.

The first thing I would say is that this list of 32 players is a pretty impressive line up.  But we have to get down to 25 players so here is the list again, removing the under 21s, as they won’t be counted in the total for the rest of this season.

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Hector Bellerin HG
  3. Kieran Tierney
  4. Sokratis
  5. Gabriel
  6. Dani Ceballos (on loan from Real Madrid)
  7. Alex Lacazette
  8. Mesut Ozil
  9. Lucas Torreira
  10. Willian
  11. Runar Alex Runarsson
  12. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
  13. Ainsley Maitland-Niles HG
  14. Rob Holding HG
  15. Cedric Soarers
  16. Nicolas Pepe
  17. Shkodran Mustafi
  18. Calum Chambers HG
  19. Pabloa Mari
  20. David Luiz
  21. Mohamed Elneny
  22. Sead Kolasinac
  23. Matt Macey HG
  24. Granit Xhaka

And yes we have done it, with one place spare, which is rather clever – we have a list of players that will fit into the 25.

But we still can have only 17 players who are not home grown.  Here is the list of non-home grown players, excluding anyone under 21 as classified by the authorities.  The insanity of the system is shown in that Bellerin is Home Grown while Tierney as a Scot is not.

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Kieran Tierney
  3. Sokratis
  4. Gabriel
  5. Dani Ceballos (on loan from Real Madrid)
  6. Alex Lacazette
  7. Mesut Ozil
  8. Lucas Torreira
  9. Willian
  10. Runar Alex Runarsson
  11. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
  12. Cedric Soarers
  13. Nicolas Pepe
  14. Shkodran Mustafi
  15. Pabloa Mari
  16. David Luiz
  17. Mohamed Elneny
  18. Sead Kolasinac
  19. Granit Xhaka

So self-evidently we have 19 foreign players who are over 21 who are classified as foreign.  Two need to be got rid of.  The most obvious contenders, judging by the chit-chat and what we observe in the club are Torreira and Ozil.  (Removing Guendouzi doesn’t help since he’s not in the 25, being under 21).

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Others are of course mentioned in dispatches, such as Sokratis, Mustafi and Kolasinac.   Mind you until recently Elneny would have been included in that list and I most certainly don’t think he is now.

Last season Xhaka would also have been included – which shows how things can change.  So it’s guess work as long as we are not in the club, but I’d guess on Torreira and Ozil, with Ozil doing a Bale type move with some of this wages still being paid by Arsenal for the final year of the contract.

So that gives us our list of 17 “foreign” players, plus five home grown players making a total of 22 players.    Plus our eight under 21s.  OK we might lose Guendouzi, but that still leaves a rather impressive bunch of players that will, I suspect make a huge impact.  Including Martinelli who won’t play until next year.  Here is that impressive under 21 list…

  1. William Saliba  Under 21
  2. Bukayo Saka  Under 21
  3. Reiss Nelson Under 21
  4. Joe Willock Under 21
  5. Matteo Guendouzi Under 21
  6. Eddie Nketiah  Under 21
  7. Emile Smith Rowe Under 21
  8. Gabriel Martinelli Under 21

To summarise I have got to 17 foreign players, five home grown players, eight under 21s, leaving two vacancies for home grown players aged over 21.

That last point is the important point. If we are going to buy any more foreign players we need to get rid of another foreign player from my remaining list for each extra one we buy.  And although that is always thought to be easy (as in “sell xxx” the player has to agree and someone has to want him).

To remind us where we are, out list of non-home grown over 21s is now made up of 19 players from whom we have to lose two before we even get down to the maximum number.   Then we have to lose one more for each new foreign adult player we wish to buy.

I have marked up in red the two that I think might go just to get us legal and then the common suspects for transfer to bring in some more foreign players marked in blue.

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Kieran Tierney
  3. Sokratis
  4. Gabriel
  5. Dani Ceballos (on loan from Real Madrid)
  6. Alex Lacazette
  7. Mesut Ozil
  8. Lucas Torreira
  9. Willian
  10. Runar Alex Runarsson
  11. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
  12. Cedric Soarers
  13. Nicolas Pepe
  14. Shkodran Mustafi
  15. Pabloa Mari
  16. David Luiz
  17. Mohamed Elneny
  18. Sead Kolasinac
  19. Granit Xhaka

Now the point is, players don’t have to go.  They have a contract with the club and can sit it out if they want.  Also I’d add that Musafi, Sokratis and Kolasinac are the names that are being mentioned in some places for departure… they are not my choices.

But to summarise, however it is done, we have to get rid of two more non-home-grown players before we can even start thinking about bringing in anyone else.  It could be difficult in this very curious market.

4 comments to Arsenal’s 25 players list is over-full – we must lose some before we can buy

  • Dexter

    It’s a massive shame what is happening with Ozil. I felt the previous coach treated him badly, as he did with Ramsey.

    And as a result weve basically lost two very talented players.

    Ozil is clearly not in Arteras plans, which is a massive fall from grace and it seems Ozils refusing to leave, even tho he could quite easily not play a single minute for Arsenal. I’d like to think Mesut has more about him than that: just happy to do some light training and collect his fat wages every week. I guess we will see soon enough.

    As for the other players touted in the gutter press as leaving..

    I think Sokratis, Torreira and Guendouzi look certain to leave, as they dont appear in Arteras vision either….

    Altho we have 100s of CBs I wonder if Mustafi might actually stay? He was excellent under the new boss before his bad injury…

    Who knows?

  • Mystic

    Please will people STOP peddling this.

    Arsenal have to restrict the number of overseas players within the squad, they do not HAVE to sell them.

    In an ideal world they would be able to sell certain unwanted players, but there is nothing within PL regulations that states they MUST name every player on their books.

    Yes there is a question of players suing for restraint of trade, but that means the issue is a financial one, NOT a player one.

    The fact the club is prepared to allow its top earner to be excluded from the squad – even for minor competitions – underlines that it is not as clear, ie sales v purchases, as too many blogs are making out.

  • Dexter

    Yeah, because keeping players who arent in the squad makes loads of sense.

    Oh dear.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Great work in doing this list , Tony. Thanks. Let us see what transpires soon.
    Also great results last night , and on Sat involving our immediate rivals.
    Man Ure just managed to nick the points at the very end .

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