The players Arsenal do not want hanging around (allegedly)

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 “S, but not one of them even contemplates the question “why is moving on unwanted players providing difficult?”

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.


7 Replies to “The players Arsenal do not want hanging around (allegedly)”

  1. Adding Torreira, Zinchenko and Rúnarsson to the FG list, Nelson to the HG list and removing Okonkwo and Balogun from the U21 list as they don’t expect to play or even stay with the first team, we get
    – 19 FG
    – 8 HG
    – 4 UA
    That is a squad of 31 players, with all of them (apart from Rúnarsson) could be seriously considered playing. Saliba, Saka, Martinelli and Marquinhos are the U21 players there, so they are ‘genuine’ players, at least 3 of them expected to play 2000+ minutes, academy prospects like Patino or Walters are excluded to have a reliable picture on the size of the team.

    Assuming we will not sell players like Gabriel and Tierney, and if 6 of them would leave:
    – Leno (wants)
    – Rúnarsson (not needed)
    – Bellerin (wants)
    – Tavares (not needed, could be loaned though)
    – Torreira (wants)
    – AMN (needs regular playing time, could go on loan)
    that would leave us with 15 FG, 6 HG and 4 U21.

    That is a competent squad, and we might be in the market for a CM.
    While it is obviously subjective and open to interpretation, but a team of 26, where we have ESR and Elneny as backups are not a liability. In fact, it seems like an ideal squad size so we can provide players like Holding, Lokonga, Nelson or Marquinhos the opportunity to prove themselves.

  2. We don’t need to sell a lot due to the demands of the incoming season in terms of 4 competitions and injuries.

    Arsenal should only sell Runnarson, Maitland Niles, Nuno Tavares, Leno (whom I prefer over Matt Turner, but I understand his need to play) and Pepe.

    I would love the team to keep Torreira (at least until January), Saliba, Marquinhos and Bellerin… Then promote Patino.

    Arsenal would need to get Lucas Paqueta and a new giant of a central defender (right footed behomoth)

  3. When I look at the business that Chelsea and Man Utd are currently doing in terms of departures, it reminds me of where Arsenal were two years ago. Chelsea no longer have an owner who routinely writes off debts of £100/£120m each summer so the Pensioners are in for an interesting few years of readjustment, hopefully to where they were pre-Roman?

    As for all the old guff written by our ‘mates’ in the Press it’s all very tedious and has absolutely no merit at all.

  4. @Allezkev,

    Well, as it happens, both Manure and chelsea are in the midst of changing managers….yet no one is hitting on them as what happens with Mr Arteta and Arsenal… no surprise right ?!!

    As for our current owner….well can anyone say he does not invest (which is not the same as spending…) ? He damn well is. Long term. And the way it looks, Mr Arteta does make his imprint, builds up the team and integrates players from the Academy.

  5. I hate the term ‘deadwood’. It is so incredibly disrespectful to the players.

  6. Maybe when the Telegraph headline proclaimed “clear out the deadwood” they were actually referring to getting rid of their own journalists and replacing them with better quality ones.

  7. Mick and Goinggoing – I completely agree with you. Indeed the whole way in which the media treats players is as a commodity and not as people at all. Of course it is true that they can earn huge amounts of money, but only for a short period, after which they are by and large abandoned, and often the money goes very quickly as they find it hard to adjust. I’m grateful to both of you for raising the point about deadwood, and I’ll see if I can make an article of this point about the contempt with which journalists treat both us supporters, and the players.

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