Analysis: The state of Arsenal’s squad

This part of the year is silly season when it comes to media and click bait transfer stories.

With no football, blogs and newspapers need to keep the traffic coming to their sites to ensure that they maintain their advertising revenue. The easiest way to do this is link X player with Y club, knowing that thousands of fans of that club will click the link.

The main stream media – the likes of The Sun and Daily Mirror have been doing it for years. You then have the football websites, the likes of the Metro, Goal and Football.London. They will literally print anything. Blogs and Vlogs also jump all over it. I will not name them, but we all know the sites that just reproduce the transfer speculation for hits.

On  Wednesday someone circulated a message of someone pretending to be Granit Xhaka’s cousin on Twitter. No one checked the validity, but all the click baits and RT whores on Twitter reproduced as if it was there. Suddenly “Xhaka’s cousin reveals Inter Milan agreement” became main stream news. It became the truth. Even though it was fake.

We are barely in June  and if you believed everything that was written or said, we are selling every member of the squad and buying about 50 players. This week alone with have seen David Ospina, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang linked with moves away from the club.

This is on top of Petr Cech, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck already having left following the expiration of their contracts.

We are not going to see a dozen of our senior players leave in a single summer. It will not happen.

Before even discussing who is “In” or “Out” this summer, we need to look at the make up of the current squad, as this influences what we can both buy and sell.

Premier League rules dictate that you can only register 25 players, although players born after 1st January 1998 do not need to be registered.

That means that the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah do not need to be declared as 1 of the 25, even though they will be part of 1st team action.

You also have the home grown player rule.

People often get it the wrong way round and state that “you have to have 8 home- grown players”. This is incorrect. You do not need any home-grown players.

The rule is that within your squad of 25 registered players, only 17 can be non-home-grown. For all intents and purposes, you could have a squad of 17, all of whom are non-home-grown; and have no home grown players at all. Of course, this is unrealistic as it will be hard to get through a campaign with just 17 players.

So how does Arsenal’s squad look at the moment?

Before we sell anyone, we have 26 players that I would expect to be with the senior squad next season; I have included Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah but excluded Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe. My feeling is we will send the later 2 out on loan for the season.

Of those 26 players, 23 need to be registered. That leaves Arsenal with 2 available slots to buy players prior to selling anyone.

We currently have 15 non-home-grown players, meaning that we have 2 available non-home-grown slots.

So this summer we can buy 2 senior players without having to worry about whether they are, or are not, home grown.

Once we have signed those 2 players, we are in a situation where we need to buy to sell, and it will be very much a case of “like for like”.

If the 1st 2 signings of the summer are both non-home grown, we would have reached the limit. This would mean that if we wanted to buy another central defender from Italy, we would firstly have to sell either Shkodran Mustafi or Laurent Koscielny.

Were we to want to buy a goal keeper from Spain, or a Central Midfielder from France, it would be David Ospina or Mohamed Elneny out of the door, not Calum Chambers.

Right back highlights what Arsenal are facing.

Carl Jenkinson is our only other specialist right back behind Hector Bellerin. We need someone better. Unless we shuffle the pack elsewhere (IE buy a home grown central midfielder to replace Elneny), Jenkinson would have to be replaced with someone home grown.

The home grown situation is one reason why Calum Chambers may well end up staying at Arsenal next season.

Chambers covers centre back, right back and midfield and is home grown. He gives us flexibility as to what we need to buy and from where.

there is also a quirk in the laws that counts players from Scotland as non-home grown.

A “Home-Grown Player” means a player who, irrespective of nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to The Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before his 21st birthday

So that means Ryan Fraser, who did not come to England until he was 19-years-old, is not home grown. in Europe, UEFA excludes Wales as home grown – this results in Ben Davies being left out of Tottenham’s European squad a couple of seasons back.

So there is a lot to think about when it comes to building a squad.

In summary:

  • Arsenal have 26 players in the 1st team squad
  • 23 of which need to be registered
  • This leave 2 available slots
  • We have 15 non-home grown players
  • This leave 2 available slots
  • Once the two available slots are taken, we have to buy and sell “like for like”

I will let those who rely on speculation for clicks to now continue…


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