Arsenal sign Zinchenko, and how the 25 is looking

Oleksandr Zinchenko 2021 (cropped).jpgZinchenko has been signed or is about to be signed, according to our old friend R E Ports.

He has played mostly as a left-back by Manchester City but he can play in other positions, particularly central midfield which means that he could play there in league cup and Europa games if an experienced player is needed among the youngsters.

The transfer fee is being quoted as “an initial fee of £30 million.”   He is currently with Manchester City who like Arsenal are in the United States.

The transfer (assuming that all the tales are true – and all this could have changed by the time you read it) means that Arsenal have for the second summer running spent over £100m, and it looks as if the manager is buying cover in positions where injury is likely – especially considering the Europa games to be played.   

What it could mean is that Tierney will play in the league games, but with the extra size of the bench this season Zinchenko could come on as a sub if needed, and also play in cup and Europa matches, while also replacing Tierney at the slightest sign of injury for the current left back.

Zinchenko has also played in central midfield for Ukraine and so again could well cover for injury and help with squad rotation – an issue which seems to have been identified as a cause of problems that led to several unexpected bad runs from which the club found it hard to escape last season.

He joined Manchester City for £1.7m and the profit is a sign that the club is beginning to think that it is not going to be able to get away with its manipulation of the financial rules in the Premier League much longer – or it may be that the links between Arteta and Manchester City are still strong.  Or both.

Zinchenko played 31 times in the Russian league for Ufa in 2015/16 before joining Manchester City and then played 76 times for them, as well as having loans with PSV in 2016/17 and their second division nursery club Jong PSV.  He has also played for Ukraine at all levels from under 16 upwards.

For much of the time at Manchester City he was used as a backup left-back as well as a cup player and scored his first goal for the club in the league cup semi-final against Burton Albion.  However, his progress was noted when in May 2021 Zinchenko was in the starting XI for the Champions League semi-final and in the final against Chelsea.

In terms of international games, he was the youngest player ever to captain Ukraine.   Last season he played 15 league games for Manchester City, four FA Cup matches, and one in the League Cup.

This means we can now update the information on the full squad, including the notoriously difficult issue of counting homegrowns.

HG = Home Grown, FG = Foreign Grown, UA = under age and so no counted in the 25.  The nationality status of underage players is shown in brackets and doesn’t apply this season.

Name Age Home Grown Foreign grown
Bernd Leno 30 FG1
Aaron Ramsdale 24 HG1
Matt Turner 28 FG2
Ben White 24 HG2
Gabriel 24 FG3
William Saliba UA (HG)
Rob Holding 26 HG3
Nuno Tavares 21 FG4
Pablo Marí 28 FG5
Takehiro Tomiyasu 23 FG6
Kieran Tierney 25 FG7
Hector Bellerin 27 HG4
Cédric Soares 30 FG8
Thomas Partey 29 FG9
Granit Xhaka 29 FG10
Mohamed Elneny 30 FG11
Martin Odegaard 23 FG12
Albert Sambi Lokonga 22 FG13
Emile Smith Rowe 21 HG5
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 24 HG6
Bukayo Saka UA (HG)
Gabriel Martinelli UA (HG)
Nicolas Pepe 27 FG14
Marquinhos UA (FG)
Gabriel Jesus 25 FG15
Eddie Nketiah 23 HG7
Folarin Balogun UA (HG)
Oleksandr Volodymyrovych Zinchenko 25 FG16
Fabio Vieira 22 FG17


That now gives us a squad of 28 players made up of 

  • 17 Foreign grown players 
  • 7 Home grown players
  • 4 under age players

We also have to consider:

  • Charlie Patino: Age 18.  Home grown, under age
  • Reiss Nelson.  Age 22, Home grown
  • Torreira: Age 26.  Foreign grown.

Patino can of course be included in the squad because of his age.  Reiss Nelson is likely to leave this summer.

Unlike previous seasons we could indeed start with what we have got, without having to worry about selling or loaning anyone since 17 is the maximum number of foreign grown players allowed and eight is the maximum number of foreign growns.  So any more incoming foreign grown transfers will need to be matched by departures.  I would guess Leno and Pepe are the most likely foreign grown player who might be moved on to make way.

If both went that would give us three foreign-grown places available – a luxury that we didn’t have last summer.  This suggests there may be some more buying to be done.

In terms of home-grown players, if we were to buy anyone counting as home-grown then we would have to sell or loan out, and Maitland Niles, and  Bellerin would be the most obvious players to leave.

The four under age players (Saka, Martinelli, Marquinos and Balogun) don’t count in the numbers game, and so we are also free to bring through any of the other talented players we have caught sight of from time to time.

Pulling all the data together the list of those who might leave is generally thought to consist of a selection from Cedric, Holding, Bellerin, Pepe, Leno, Torreira, Nelson, and Maitland Niles.  That is eight players – quite a list to deal with.   And I may have missed someone out.

Holding, Bellerin and Maitland Niles would have to be replaced by home grown players and this might be difficult so I suspect they might well stay.

Please report errors politely.



8 Replies to “Arsenal sign Zinchenko, and how the 25 is looking”

  1. What with Saliba being brought in, I suspect Mari may well be off too (esp’ considering they were both out on loan last season).

  2. Nice post and explanation.
    Assuming you add Zinchenko taken as granted as well as Torreira and Rúnarsson, we will have 19 foreign grown players in the squad (without further incoming transfers).
    That doesn’t seem to be impossible to reduce to 17, as there are rumors about serious interests for Leno, Torreira, Mari, maybe even Tavares. Rúnarsson should be either sold or loaned.
    With the 8 home grown players – by the way, is ESR GH as he was born in July? – we can either sell Bellerin or AMN, loan Nelson, or even exclude one of them from the PL squad.

  3. @PBarany,

    Tavares being 21 yeas old, I don’t see why we should let him go. He is there for the future. Sure, he ain’t perfect, but who is. He’ll adapt the the PL in his second season.

    As for Hector, who do we have of Tomaasu is injured ? Who did we have ? We need players able to jump in. And I believe he is.

    As for AMN, he is versatile and talented. Never found his spot because he is versatile. Yet we need such players. Nelson, I don’t know enough to have an opinion.

  4. hi, @chris – I’ve seen a lot of Nelson last season, I’ll get back to that
    what does this squad leave us with?
    (in MA’s favoured 4-2-3-1 – I assume leno-torreira will go, the other ones I’m not so sure):
    Now I like 3 at the back, I know I’m in the minority, please let me dream a little
    (C??) fill in this blank:
    As I said I watched many feyenoord games last season; I think Reiss was well managed by an intelligent coach, he was given freedom to play like a classical RW when they dominated, but most interestingly, he was made to work very hard on this same wing when Slot feared his team would be dominated, as in Marseille, in the 2nd leg of the Conference League semi-final – and the lad was really great at it
    Which is why I secretly hope MA will try this 3-5-2 setup, and give him a chance to shine in the RWB position (I also think Bukayo should be unstuck from his wing, he’s now mature enough to be unleashed, by Jeez’s side, in a kind of Messi-Suarez partnership…)
    Anyway, the squad as it is is promising, to say the least

  5. @LeGall,

    As far as I am concerned, I’d rather Arsenal stick with players coming from the Academy even if the are squad players.

    For one, they are ‘known quality’ and need no adaptation
    For two, they are a banner for the Academy and the fact that coming out of it, you can play at Arsenal and that the club is giving all a chance even if they are not the next Messi. The team needs these players and some may need more time to ‘blossom’ or find the right position – for which they need opportunities. Just considering a player like a commodity as many clubs do is, IMHO, plain wrong and makes no long term sense.
    For three, trusting the players is so important. Look at Elneny, Holding, Xhaka, they may not be top 10 players, but they are producing performances on a regular basis and can be counted on.

    So rather keep what we have then get another ‘stranger’ who will need lots of time to maybe adapt.

  6. Amen to that, @Chris
    In the 4-2-3-1 scenario, that’s a third (11/33) of the players out of our academy, which is something to be admired about the club, or so I think
    And along this 4-competition, 5-change-rule season, with this winter WC which unfortunately might have a “stolen car” (as Tony is used to saying) effect, many of our players should get a fair amount of playing time, so I don’t think it’d be wise to let too many of them go

  7. Le Gall….
    Ah the “stolen car” effect. I haven’t thought of that one for a while. Thanks for reminding me. Time to dust that one down and get it on the road.

  8. @Chris
    I am personally not committed to sell or loan Tavares. And the possibility is subject to the demand from other teams for Nuno.
    What I’m saying – and that I think is generally overlooked – that the day we buy Zinchenko, the Arsenal career of Tavares is doomed.
    I am well aware that many fans don’t see it that way. Nevertheless they are wrong.

    Being the third choice candidate for a single-player position is not something an ambitious 21y is aspiring for. That’s as fact as it gets. Tavares is a Portugal U21 international, and the 300 minutes he is expected to play as a 3rd choice left back would never promote him to the big team. He might be content with the same level of involvement (1500 minutes, maybe a little more), but that ship will sail as Zinchenko arrives. Even if with European games back on the menu there will be 4600-4800 LB minutes to distribute among the players, being the last in the pecking order would be demotivating – even under a manager who understands and knows how to rotate.

    I’m not saying he should be sold because his first year didn’t meet some expectations. I think he should leave because in a team of 25 adult and 3-4 U21 players there is no room for 3rd choices (in single-player positions), and because he wouldn’t want to play 300 competitive minutes in the season either.

    Same applies to Bellerin (apart from wanting to leave already). Since Tomi is clearly the first choice left back, and Cedric doesn’t mind playing back-up, we don’t need a 3rd player in the squad who can only play RB. I would probably prefer to keep Hector, but he doesn’t want to pay second fiddle, or maybe to play for Arteta at all.

    2 top players are enough to cover a single position, especially with a few contingency options. AMN, Xhaka and Cedric can play LB in the rare case of both left backs are injured or suspended. Saka can play LWB. Sousa can be called upon from the U21 to sit on the bench. And it is the same on the right as White or AMN can play there, Nelson can play as RWB, and we have Walters and Brroke Norton-Cuffy in the academy for cases of emergency.

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