Yesterday we had a little look at the Arsenal squad right now which showed we have 33 players and 2 too many non-home grown.
By the time the season starts, I expect that to be whittled down to around 27.
Now before you say “but 27 is more than the 25 you are allowed”; please learn the rules.
You must have no more than 17 non-home grown senior players registered, and no more than 25 senior players on your Premier League A List.
But you can then have an infinite number of under 21 players (for this year it is those born on or before 1st January 2021).
That means the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli do not require to be registered in the senior list – despite having played over 200 senior games between them for Arsenal.
The likes of Arthur Okonkwo, William Saliba, Folarin Balogun and Marquinhos also do not require registering.
So looking at the squad, who do I think will depart (and this really is not rocket science).
We have 5 keepers. We only need 3.
Bernd Leno will be sold (by the time I publish this he might already be a Fulham player), whilst Runar Alex Runarsson will surely go down as one of our worst goal keeper signings in history (behind the likes of Guillaume Warmuz, Mart Poom and Rami Shaaban).
There is also a decision to be made over Arthur Okonkwo and whether this season we loan him out and promote Karl Hein to the 3rd choice keeper spot (last season it was the other way round).
Either way expect the 3rd choice keeper spot to be taken by one of the U21 lads.
Moving into midfield, Hector Bellerin had a decent loan spell at Real Betis. It seemed to reignite his passion of the game again. What he will then not want to do is spend the season sitting on our bench.
At this stage of his career, he needs to be playing. He has also been a good servant to Arsenal and we will treat him with the respect he deserves.
I imagine if the right club comes along we will sell regardless of the bid. If not it could be another loan spell prior to his contract expiring in 12 months.
The other two defenders on their way out are surely Nuno Taveras and Pablo Mari.
Tavares is clearly not good enough.
The club recognise that and acted quickly to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko. Now the trick is to offload Tavares.
With the state of football right now, and many clubs preference for loans, I would be surprised if we sold him.
Expect a loan deal to materialise with him, which would actually be good for us (Note: This was writtend prior to the Marseille news).
If playing consistently miraculously improves his defending and decision making, we might still have a good player on our hands. But this is an outside bet.
As for Pablo Mari. He was signed in a January transfer window and did a job until a better player came available (Gabriel).
He showed last season at Udinese that he is a decent mid-table standard player. With West Ham’s big new central defensive signing picking up a 3 month injury, maybe they should table a £5million bid for Mari?
Through the midfield and it still feels like the “likely lads”.
I imagine I could have written this blog 12 months ago and the exact same players (bar Tavares) would be on it.
What this shows is that we still have plenty of Raul Sanllehi dead-wood to get rid of, but in recent years we have not really missed when it comes to incoming players (bar Tavares).
Lucas Torreira clearly does not want to be at Arsenal and we clearly do not want him.
This puts us in a tough position to raise any funds for him.
Fiorentina looked set to make a loan deal permanent but reneged on their gentleman’s agreement with Torreira.
Part of me thinks this is their negotiating tactic in the hope they get him for free (or next to free) as the window rattles on.
Considering Torriera is not on much money, it would make a statement to the rest of world football if Arsenal did not sell Torreira “on the cheap”.
A year left on his contract, I would rather he remain unregistered than a club gets him on the cheap by unsettling him.
As for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, it was a huge mistake not selling him to Wolves (or Leicester) a couple of years ago. He is 25-years-old soon and is in danger of wasting the potential he showed a few years back.
It is incredible how far backwards he has gone since winning 5 England caps just 2 years ago.
Whereas I would keep Torreira at the club out of spite, we should try and cash in on Maitland-Niles so he can crack on with his career.
Nicolas Pepe is saying all the right things on social media.
The difficulty for Arsenal is his huge £72million.
Due to transfer amortisation, if Arsenal sold him now, they would have to put a £28.8million loss into the accounts. That means if we sold him for less than £28.8million, the deal would be a “real loss” in accountancy terms.
Pepe is reportedly on £5.72m a year so that must be taken into account. But in real terms it would be cheaper to keep Pepe at Arsenal (and not play) then sell him for less than £23million.
If a bid comes in north of this, he will be sold. If not I think he will stay for another season.
As for Reiss Nelson, I am not sure what we are going to do with him.
His excellent loan spell in Germany was back in 2019. He had a tough time in Feyenoord last season.
I think now in his career he would be lucky to start week in, week out in the Championship.
Another with a year left on his contract, Arsenal might be best off trying to raise a couple of million with a loan deal and then take compensation as a transfer fee next summer.
If Pepe is sold, we may well see a winger come in.
If that man can also play uptop, it might see Folarin Balogun go out on loan to the Championship for a season.
That will be 9 departures that will take us down to 25 players in Arteta’s senior squad. At that point we might (and I stress might) see another signing.