Arsenal’s transfer headache is actually very similar to 12 months ago.
Before we sign players, we need to sell.
This has nothing to do with money or cash flow. We have the finances to sign who we want.
Despite Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil leaving last January, Martin Odergaard and Dani Ceballos’ loans ending and David Luiz leaving us on a free last week, we still have too many players.
As it stands on the club website, we have 27 “senior” players.
Premier League rules dictate that your registered first team squad may have no more than 25 players.
Of this 25, only 17 may be non-home grown (we all know the rules so I will not repeat).
On top of the 25, you can have as many U21 players as you wish – for this season anyone born before 1st January 2000 will be considered U21.
As it stands, Arsenal have:
- 16 non-home grown senior players
- 7 home grown senior players
- 4 U21 players
That leaves us with just 2 free spots, of which only one can be taken up by a non-home grown player.
One of our issues last summer is we “blinked first” bringing in players before we sold.
This led clubs trying to sign the likes of Sokratis and Mustafi on the cheap as they knew Arsenal had to sell.
Arsenal are looking to move on the likes of Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacezette, Sead Kolasinac and Lucas Torreira this summer; but to maximise the income we need to ensure we do not appear desperate to sell.
Those 5 departures will not only raise key funds, but also free up 4 non-home grown senior slots (increasing to 5 if you include Matteo Guendouzi’s departure) as well as another home grown slots.
If we sell all 6 players mentioned, that would leave Arsenal with 8 squad slots available – split 6 non-home grown and 2 home grown.
That would give Arsenal the flexibility required to sign who we want regardless of “status”.
With Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli as U21, I can see Arsenal going into next season with around 23 registered players, plus the 3 unregistered – that would leave us with room to spare if we need a January signing or two.
Saliba (who is U21) and Guendouzi will be the beginning. Once more follow them out the door, expect incoming players to happen quickly.