By Sir Hardly Anyone
There is an article in the Telegraph which has this line in its sub-heading:
“Moving on unwanted players is proving difficult, especially for teams selling to the continent”
Now the article was written by no less than seven different journalists “Swhy is moving on unwanted players providing difficult?”, but not one of them even contemplates the question “
Instead they accept the notion that “moving on the unwanted” is “difficult” and work from there. Thus their commentary on Arsenal is based around this problem (although, as always, written in a way to suggest that this is a uniquely Arsenal issue), saying
“The likes of Bernd Leno, Alex Runarsson, Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira and Nicolas Pepe all remain at the club despite not featuring prominently in Mikel Arteta’s plans.
“Arteta will not want these players hanging around this season, and Arsenal will almost certainly need to raise money through sales if they are to strengthen further. They are keen on signing another wide forward, for example, but will that be possible without meaningful sales?”
Since no indication as to Arsenal’s financial position overall, Arsenal’s FFP position, or Arsenal’s position in regards to the 25 player rule is given, one can see what the poor authors struggle so badly to answer their own question.
Now the first point is that although there are new Financial Fair Play regulations on the way, they haven’t been approved yet, and no one seems to be worried. The new regs include the notion of a salary cap and abandon much of the old discredited FFP concepts.
But these regulations are a long way off – they would have to be approved by the EU and then the big clubs, and that could take a long time. Also in the interim, there is the Super League fight which is approaching its final stage (see SUPER LEAGUE IS FAR FROM DEAD. IN FACT IT IS JUST STARTING ITS FINAL BATTLE.)
In fact, the only regulation of interest to Arsenal is the 25 player rule and here they are doing rather well. Indeed one could argue that the esteemed Guardian’s writing team is either wholly ignorant of what a) Fifa are up to, and b) Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juve are doing in court, and c) what the 25 rule says, and are simply making it all up as they go along.
Our earlier piece on Arsenal’s position vis a vis the 25 player rule shows us as having a first team squad of
- 17 Foreign grown players
- 7 Home grown players – perhaps 8 if Reiss Nelson stays
- 4 under age players – perhaps five if Charlie Patino joins the gang
Now this table didn’t include Lucas Torreira, because I thought he was on his way out. But it seems (thus far at least) that the deal has not happened so let’s add him, and that gives us 25 players in the “25” list. If Nelson is in that means 26, and so one out of Nelson, Leno, Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Maitland-Niles, Torreira and Nicolas Pepe has to go, either with a sale, or on loan. That is hardly a catastrophe.
The good news is that we still have got the homegrown and foreign-grown players in balance – quite often we see teams where the full complement of 25 is not taken up because the club does not have enough homegrown players. The media continues to promote some exotic transfer tale, but it doesn’t happen, because the 25 rule means it can’t.
In reality, Arsenal are in a superb position which is not the situation conveyed by the Telegraph’s, “Arsenal: Clear out the deadwood” headline.
Most likely if we kept six of the seven who the media consider to left overs (Nelson, Leno, Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Maitland-Niles, Torreira and Nicolas Pepe) the others would get games in the League Cup, early Europa rounds, maybe FA Cup depending on the opposition, and be cover for injuries.
But suppose we got rid of all of them, what then? We would have a squad of 19 plus our five underage players. That is a pretty small squad. Even if we went out and bought a couple more players that is still a small squad.
In reality, this piece in the Telegraph headlined “clear out the deadwood” is nonsensical – and not just for the reasons above. Consider Elneny. He hardly got a look into the squad last season, starting in just 11 games, but at the end became a key part of the squad. Yet using the Telegraph’s bonkers logic he would no longer be with Arsenal now.
No, “clear out the deadwood,” is silly. Yes, if we find another player to buy then we loan out or sell one of the number we have. But otherwise we keep them, and they are all registered in the 25.