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By Tony Attwood
Every summer I try and predict the squad that Arsenal will have for the coming season, while doing what the media generally refuse to do: taking into account the rules of the 25 man squad, and the restriction on employing foreign grown players.
And every season I need to be corrected by readers – for which I am very grateful. (Not so keen on the abuse that can come with corrections but it seems to be a price to pay).
The problem is checking exactly who genuinely is counted as a homegrown, and who is counted as an under 21 and thus not in the 25.
17 foreign-grown players are allowed in a total squad of 25 players aged 21 and above. To be under 21 players have to be born on or after 1st January 2001, and these players don’t count toward the 25 total.
So I am ready to take corrections on the basic chart – but this is what I have got so far… (UA obviously means under age, and hence the player is not counted in one of the two final columns).
|Name||Age||Home Grown||Foreign grown|
|Albert Sambi Lokonga||22||FG13|
|Emile Smith Rowe||21||HG5|
So for the moment, assuming that these are correct (and if you write in to say something is wrong, please be as specific as possible as to what I’ve got wrong), what we have is
Foreign grown players aged 21 or over – 15 out of 17 allowed
Home grown players aged 21 or over – 7
Total players aged 21 plus: 22 out of 25 – obviously three places spare
Under age foreign grown players (but may qualify as home grown if they get matches before being 21): 2
Under age home grown players: 2
Total squad size: 26, including the under 21 players.
But there is more because we now have the oddball chart
Goalkeeper: Alex Runarsson. He’s not gone to the US, he is 27 and was on loan last season at OH Leuven
Reuell Walters. He’s the one academy player in the US touring party and he played against Nurnberg – having played 16 PL2 games last season. He’s an England under 18 international, who (for reasons that will not become clear at this point) somehow meandered into the clutches of Tottenham Hots, but then turned down their contract.
Seemingly disillusioned by football (and who wouldn’t be after a mistake like that) he took two years out, and then joined Arsenal in November 2020. Manchester United wanted to sign him, but he chose Arsenal and that choice has been rewarded by being part of the group in America.
Lucas Torreira. His time at Arsenal was thought to be over but he is in the touring party but has an agreement to join Valencia (according to “reports”). He played 31 times for Fiorentina last season.
Reiss Nelson. He played almost 40 times for England from under 16 upward, and has been on loan, playing 23 times for 1899 Hoffenheim in 2018/19 and 21 times last season for Feyenoord.
Reuell Walters would not count as one of the 25 if he is needed for some games in the coming season, but Torreira and Nelson would if they stayed. However we have currently got three spaces in the 25 man squad and as things stand we have met our requirement for the number of home growners we need – so all three could be foreign.
This means that Torreira, Walters and Nelson could all stay with the club, should the manager think that helpful, but I rather suspect that won’t happen.
Meanwhile, the figures above show that as things stand, and we have excluded Torreira, Walters and Nelson, on the grounds that it is widely expected that they will not return. Assuming that Bellerin, and Maitland Niles go, that takes us to five. So we have got space to sign the much heralded Oleksandr Zinchenko,
What this all means is that if Bellerin and Maitland Niles leave we have two spaces for over 21 foreign grown players and two spaces for over 21 home grown players. So space for Zinchenko certainly exists.
At least it means that if I have got these numbers right.
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