Arsenal have to sell two just to get legal; more if we sign anyone else.

By Tony Attwood

We have previously run the fact that Arsenal need to sell before the transfer window just to avoid having players on their books who need to be paid, but who cannot play.  But I’m going through this again because most of the media is simply ignoring this, and talking over and over of players we are planning to buy.

They are doing this of course to set up Arsenal for a load of negative publicity in their normal way.  “Arsenal fail to buy…” and “Arsenal too slow”, and “If only Arsenal had raised their bid slightly we would have had…”  and “Arsenal chaos.”

In a very real way, selling a player is more difficult than buying, simply because the buying club can always make out that life will be better for the player.  But selling is a much harder matter.  The selling club can say, “Look, you are not going to be in our list of selected players,” which is a fair threat, but the player is still going to get paid, and can use his time to nurture contacts with other clubs, develop a career for when he retires, take coaching badges…

Despite the very real problem Arsenal face in terms of having too many players, according the the blogs and newspapers Arsenal are looking to sell in order to raise money for transfers.  That may be true, but an also pressing matter is that we have to sell, or at least refuse to register, two players from our over 21 list who are classified as foreign.

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).

Here once again (because the media is acting as if this is not real) is the full list with the names of the players being talked about as moving on in bold.

  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 remember, two of those have to go just to make us legal.  After that we need to move one player for every new foreign player over 21 we bring in.   (And as I have to point out each time, although Tierney is a UK citizen, as far as the almighty gods of the FA are concerned, he’s foreign, what with being Scottish).

Of course, as noted above, we can keep a player on our books and pay him and simply not register (so therefore not play) him.  That is a threat that the club might be using against Ozil if the club really don’t feel that they want to play him any more.  However I suspect the club wouldn’t want to go that far, both because of  the salary involved and because of the harm it would do to the club’s reputation.

If we seriously are going to bring in two more non-home-grown over 21s then in addition to dropping two from that list of 19, we’d have to get rid of two more.  So four out of the five players in bold on the list would have to go by 11pm on Monday 5th October.

What makes life harder for us is that other clubs are also wanting to get rid of players either because of the “25” conundrum or simply to save some cash.  There are lots of players out there… for example it is often reported that Danny Rose and Dele Alli are on offer from Tottenham, while  reporters say that Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kepa Arrizabalaga need to be moved on.

For Manchester United the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Andreas Pereira, Sergio Romero and Diogo Dalot all appear surplus to requirements.

Now sometimes a logjam like this can be resolved by players moving to countries where the window is still open – on the basis that the window only controls purchases not sales.  Germany, Spain, Italy and France all end their transfer windows at the same time as the Premier League.

Thus we have a problem.  Many clubs (ok not Manchester City and Chelsea, but some others) have financial issues to consider.  So they are more inclined to move on players before taking a risk at buying more men for the squad.  We then get to a situation in which everyone is selling and few are buying, and the only way out of that is to cut the prices of the players that are offered.

But this won’t help Arsenal.  It has been so widely reported that Arsenal want to buy are Houssem Aouar from Lyon and Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.  Neither club seems that excited about selling which means they are pushing the price up.  But if money is Arsenal’s concern then that will be a double concern at the moment given that if we bought those two, and sold no one, we would have four players who we were paying but not playing.

And now here’s another problem.  I’m saying selling to get money to fund purchases is not the main problem.  The 25 rule is the problem.  But also so is the list of players we are said to want to get rid of…

  • Sokratis
  • Mesut Ozil
  • Lucas Torreira
  • Sead Kolasinac
  • Shkodran Mustafi

Now I am not at all sure we do want to get rid of Mustafi.  Before his injury he was being picked, and was showing a return to his original form.  Besides, very few clubs buy a player who is injured – it does happen but it is an extra risk so no one ever knows if the player will regain his form after a lay off.

As to who’s fault this all is, I’ll take a peak at that in another article.  But there is one other thing.  We still have no idea what happens after 31 December this year as the new trade and immigration rules come in.  Will everything stay the same, or will the FA try and force the Premier League clubs to cut their foreign contingent still further?  We don’t know and they are not saying.

9 Replies to “Arsenal have to sell two just to get legal; more if we sign anyone else.”

  1. I believe UEFA has a set of rules that defer from the EPL, in that although a player is under 21, he must be with the Club for at least 2 seasons?

    If so, then the likes of Saliba and Martinelli must be counted in the 25, or rather in the 17 non home grown category for Europa League matches.

  2. Yes you are right about the UEFA rule, if we cannot move anyone on a simple solution would be to have an EPL squad and a different EL squad, with some players not listed in one of the squads but in the other. This can always be changed after the group stages.

    All u21s do not need to be counted in the EPL squad so just 2 have to be left out. Personally my 2 would be
    Ozil and one of
    Sokratis or Mustafi or Kolasinac

    Ideally all 4 would be sold and we will bring in Partey and Aouar

    Let’s not forget there are no squad limits for the domestic cups.

    As for the EL at least 4 of the list need to be left out, in that case we need to really look harder at the cover of positions.

  3. why did we sign soares and mari -dont seem to offer anything to the squad -plenty of centre backs and people who can play full back/wing back. what about chambers when will he be able to play

  4. Really good article, thank you – that clears a lot of things up!

    I see today that Torreira is close to joining Atletico, so that’s one more off the list.

    Özil has previously stated that he’s content to just run down his contract – it might be the case that he stays at the club, but Arsenal just refuse to register him.

    All of this makes the signing of Alex Runarsson as backup keeper really bizarre. Why didn’t we get someone homegrown to warm the bench? He’s taking up a vital slot!

  5. You talk about “because of the harm it would do to the club’s reputation.”.

    I fear the club’s reputation was flushed down the toilet ages ago.

    The way they treated Wenger, the appointment of Emery, the way they have treated Ozil, arguably our best player etc.

    The club seems to have lost interest in its reputation a while ago.

    Were not Chelsea a laughing stock, many years ago, when they did the same to Bogarde?

    The continued mealy-mouthed nonsense that Arteta sprouts to the press is hardly going to enhance his or the club’s reputation.

    Even if we win tonight against Liverpool’s 2nd 11, the truth remains that we are inferior to all of the major teams in the EPL in all resp

  6. @jigsol,
    your last statement is rather a sweeping one. Do we have the worst goalie of the top 6? Do we have the worst defence of the top 6? Do we have the worst striker (Auba) in the top 6?

  7. jigsol……….what Koolaide have you been drinking or what have you been smoking for breakfast? Talk about seeing Arsenal through shit-covered glasses! Here are a few issues you neglected to mention:

    1) Wenger went earlier in his contract than anticipated because the anti-Arsenal Arsenal and other plastic fanboys constantly harassed and denegrated him. The Board wimply went along with his request.

    2) Emery started out really well (20 wins in a row) and everyone though he’s the solution to our problems but things went downhill and the Board,while hesitating, finally acted.

    3) Ozil is not in Arteta’s plans, so what? Arteta, who may I remind you, has a winning record in 8 months that few others have been able to duplicate and has won 2 trophies so far, without Ozil. IF Ozil really wanted to play he’d fight for his place like everyone else but he hasn’t. Who is at fault here, Ozil maybe but not AFC. Ozil is NOT even close to being arguably our best player…..that’s Aubeymang by a mile, closely followed by Leno and Saka!

    4) Arteta is in the Wenger mold, refusing to get drawn into the media BS barrage and playing his cards close to his vest. IMHO he has behaved and spoken very professionally in all his media interviews.

    5) You are definitely the kind of negative, pessimistic, demeaning pseudo-supporter that hurts Arsenal’s reputation far more seriously than any of the elements you spuriously mention. Please find yourself a club that suits your elevated expectations…..and that tolerates your negativism and paucity of support.

  8. Wenger had his chance to leave on a high on at least 2 occasions. He wasn’t harangued out of the club. His utter selfishness and the empty seats saw to to that. Arteta has done a fine job to date, considering what he walked into and still put trophies in the cabinet. It’s still early days and I haven’t felt as optimistic for a long time. There will be setbacks, but I think we have a manager we need to look after!

  9. Agree with Emilio.

    Given the circumstances Arteta is doing a brilliant job.

    Poor player recruitment and remuneration is a hang over from the last few seasons that is severely hampering Arteta plans and progress.

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