Since the signing of Alexandre Lacazette went through a couple of days ago, there as been a lot of talk about him being the 17th non-home grown player at Arsenal.
This puts Arsenal level with the Premier League’s quota of 17 for non-home grown players, and would seemingly mean that Arsenal are in trouble to accommodate any other non-home grown players until they sell anyone.
Any newspaper or media outlet that is currently running with the Arsenal in squad crisis story are basically creating a story out of nothing.
Lets look at Arsenal’s squad.
Arsenal currently have a first team squad of 33 members. This is far and above the Premier League’s quota of a maximum of 25 players. But players who are born . For the 2010/11 campaign Under 21 players will have been born on or after 1st January 1996 do not need to be counted.
That leaves Arsenal with a 28 man squad. Still more than the 25 man squad allowed by Premier League rules. It is important to now split the squad into two. Home grown and non-home grown.
To be a non-home, you must have played in England for 36 months prior to his 21st birthday. So someone such as Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea is considered home grown.
Now you can have a squad filled with 25 home grown players. The key is you can not have any more than 17 non-home grown players. Arsenal currently have 2 too many. So what is going to happen?
This is what Arsenal would basically want to happen. Who they would want to keep, who they would release. You then have Santi Cazorla who, as a minimum, will be out until 2018, so there is ZERO point registering him.
If the above scenario plays out, it would leave Arsenal with 13 non-home grown players. Enough slots for 3 more if we wished.
So 13 non-home grown players, we then have an additional 10 home grown players in the squad. That leaves us with a 23 man squad going into the 2017/18 season. Space for an additional 2 big summer non-home grown signings.
If Arsenal were to make any more than 2 additional non-home grown signings, they would more likely shift on a home grown player rather than a non-home grown player.
The top name might surprise you, but I honestly think Arsenal’s lack of move for Jordan Pickford, and lack of interest in other keepers, will mean Szczesny stays for one more year. He may well leave on a free transfer next year. One of Ospina or Szczesny will leave. It will be the Columbian.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another one on the list who might surprise you, but I think he will sign a new contract.
As for outgoings, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson are surplus to requirements, and Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott will be allowed to leave if the right offer – and right replacements – come in.
Two big summer non-home grown players would likely be direct replacements for Wilshere and Walcott.
So how would Arsenal’s squad look going into the 2014/18?
So Arsenal have a 25 man working first team squad, of which 19 need to be registered. With just 13 non-home grown players, there is space for an additional 3 non-home grown players, and another 3 home grown players, 2 of which would be used up if we decide to keep Wilshere and Walcott.
Arsenal have nothing to worry about when it comes to flaunting the Premier League’s squad numbers rules.