What seems to have been the longest drawn out transfer window of all time slammed shut last night. With the new rules regarding loan deals, there will be no more players out, no more players in, until January.
With a shock dead line day move for Jack Wilshere, and lack of any madness, there is a debate as to whether our squad is still short in midfield and upfront, or if the balance is perfect and the loan of Jack Wilshere is a good thing for his future.
Here is a couple of things I have put together:
2016/17 First Team Squad
2016/17 First Team Squad
17 Foreign players
7 Home grown players
Premier League rules dictate that you may only have a 25 man squad and a maximum of 17 non-home grown players. You players under the age of 21 are excluded.
Arsenal are pretty much on the brink of a full squad. 17 non-home grown players, 7 home grown players. This means we have 1 slot available, for a home grown player. Had Jack Wilshere have stayed, the squad would have been full.
Of course, there could have been some flexibility.
Not declaring Yaya Sanogo would have freed up a foreign spot. Danny Welbeck is out until January, we could have left him off the list if we needed to free up a spot in an emergency if we bought someone in.
Then we have the right backs Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson. Both are currently injured. We could have hedge our bets and only declared one (Debuchy is closer to fitness, but takes up a non-home grown spot) freeing up another spot.
So with Wilshere out, it left us with 1 free spot for a home grown player. Realistically we could have increased this to 3.
Squad by position
Goalkeepers: Cech / Ospina / Martinez
Right Backs: Bellerin / Debuchy / Jenkinson / Mustafi
Centre Backs: Mustafi / Koscielny / Mertesacker / Gabriel / Holding / Monreal / Debuchy
Left Backs: Monreal / Gibbs
Defensive Midfielders: Xhaka / Elneny / Coquelin / Ramsey
Central Midfielders: Ramsey / Cazorla / Xhaka / Elneny
Attacking Midfielders: Ozil / Cazorla / Ramsey / Iwobi / Oxlade-Chamberlain / Reine-Adélaïde
Wingers: Sanchez / Walcott / Perez / Welbeck / Oxlade-Chamberlain / Iwobi / Ramsey / Cazorla / Ozil / Reine-Adélaïde
Strikers: Giroud / Perez / Welbeck / Sanchez / Walcott / Akpom / Sanogo
Crucially we have at least 2 specialist players in every position. Then with the versatility of other players, we have plenty of strength in depth. For example I can easily see us playing a central midfield of Xhaka Elneny Ramsey. 131 international caps between them – 44, 43 & 44 respectively and funnily.
Ins and Outs
On the face of it, we have lost 7 members of last years senior squad, and gained just 4. On the face of it, we are short. But the reality is different.
Since last summer, we have also added Mohamed Elneny and seen the development of Alex Iwobi. That leaves are outs and replacements as follows:
Mikel Arteta = Not replaced
Mathieu Flamini = Mohamed Elneny
Tomas Rosicky = Not replaced
Serge Gnabry = Not replaced
Joel Campbell = Lucas Perez
Calum Chambers = Rob Holding
Jack Wilshere = Granit Xhaka
So 4 players have been replaced, 3 not.
On the 4 replaced, Elneny, Holding and Xhaka are all better than those they have replaced (Flamini, Chambers, Wilshere). Elneny had already replaced Flamini last season – the Frenchman only starting 4 Premier League games after the Egyptian’s arrival.
Tomas Rosicky did not play a single minute. He did not need replacing. With Alex Iwobi’s development, it could be argued that he has taken Rosicky’s squad place, offering very similar attributes. Serge Gnabry also spent the season on loan, so also did not need to be replaced.
As for Mikel Arteta, he played just 162 Premier League minutes, so the reality is he also did not need replacing.
We started last season with defensive midfield options of:
Coquelin, Flamini, Arteta
This season it is:
Xhaka, Elneny, Coquelin
The fact that last seasons 1st choice is this seasons 3rd choice shows the advancements we have made in that position of the last 6 months.
The last replacement is Joel Campbell out on loan to be replaced by Lucas Perez. Time will tell whether this is a move forward. But based on both of their performance in La Liga – Perez 24 goals in 58 games; Campbell 1 in 20.
Then we have Mustafi. He is a big step forward.
It still feels we are short. I still would have liked a time right winger. A superstar. A Griezmann. A Draxler. An Isco.
This transfer window has been tough for Arsenal fans, but we go into 2016/17 (minus 3 games) in a stronger position than we did last season.