We all knew what’s required of this break between seasons. For us fans to take a break and recharge our batteries in the same way as the players/coaches. Perhaps not from a physically tiring state like the players but definitely from the mentally sapping campaign that we just went through. For some though, the work doesn’t stop.
Chief among those will be Arsene Wenger and whoever’s helping him with the transfer dealings, contract negotiations, player scouting and so on. It’s not just about making new signings and looking to improve the squad. The rules these days dictates that a team can only register a 25 man squad.
The rules in the Premier League are as follows;
- Must have at least 8 home-grown (HG) players (regardless of age or nationality). Those are affiliated to a club in England or Wales for 3 years (or cumulative total of 36 months) before they reach the age of 21.
- Player under the age of 21 can be named as one of the HG player.
- Clubs can use unlimited number of under-21 players in addition to their 25-man squad.
This is what Arsenal submitted on February 1st 2012;
- Andre Santos
- Andrey Arshavin
- Mikel Arteta
- Yossi Benayoun
- Marouane Chamakh
- Abou Diaby
- Johan Djourou (HG)
- Lukasz Fabianski
- Kieran Gibbs (HG)
- Laurent Koscielny
- Vito Mannone
- Per Mertesacker
- Park Chu-Young
- Tomas Rosicky
- Bacary Sagna
- Thierry Henry
- Alex Song (HG)
- Sebastien Squillaci
- Robin Van Persie
- Thomas Vermaelen
- Theo Walcott (HG)
With Wojciech Szczesny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson, Francis Coquelin, Conor Henderson, Ignasi Miquel and Oguzhan Ozyakup as the under-21 players. Any 4 from these could be added to supplement the squad to meet the 8 HG players quota. For next season, those who have reached their 21st birthday by 1st January 2012 will no longer be eligible to be classified under this criteria. Of which Szczesny, Ramsey and Wilshere will fall outside that classification.
The purpose of computing all this? To see what’s left for next season because we still need to meet the minimum quorum of HG players required for the season. Which in turn means that we are not limited to procure players who have to be affiliated previously with a club in England or Wales for a specific number months. Which means Wenger and his men can go out and search for the best talent available to ensure that we challenge next season.
However, none of that can be done without removing some of the players from that registered list. Adding those 3 players maturing beyond the under-21 age group, the list would be 25. Unless we intend to get under-21 players, then the list is a big concern. We know that Henry was only only loan, so that’s one spot freed up. Then there’s the other loan stint of Benayoun which has ended, so that’s another spot freed up (purely looking from this context and not whether we sign him for good, yet). We take into account the signing of Lukas Podolski and we’re back to only one available spot.
From that list, a lot of people (including me) can make good cases for Chamakh, Park, Mannone, Arshavin and Squillaci to be sold. Today’s news sees Manuel Almunia being in the group of 7 released by Arsenal. We’ve said plenty of the Spaniard in recent seasons, so there’s nothing new to add there. We’ve anticipated this and all I can say is, best of luck in your future Manuel. Even if the earlier mentioned 5 is sold or loan out, we still have Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Denilson and Kyle Bartley coming back to the club. Unless these 4 are also being transferred out, we practically only have one more space in the team to fit another new player apart from Podolski. This is the main reason why Arsenal have not secured/announced their second new signing. (I don’t include Emmanuel Frimpong, Kyle Bartley, Benik Afobe, Ryo Miyaichi or Joel Campbell because both are still able to meet the under-21 rule).
The focus has to be those who are not involve in the European Championship or those who have immediate interest. I don’t think the club is able to haggle to much or hold out for a fee that the club think is fair valuation of the player. While I don’t like to see us underselling our players, there is no room to play when it comes to the squad rule. Seeing that most of these players are in very good wages, it would seemed hard for other clubs to take them on. However, what they are unwilling to shelve out in terms of wages could be compensated by a lower transfer fee.
If all else fails, then in order for us to buy players, some if not all of them have to be loaned out. To do that, we must also ensure that the club that they go to, takes up most of the wages. We’re do not have the wealth of Manchester City and could ill-afford to take up the full wage of a player we’re not using. Which is also why we can’t have any Winston Borgarde wannabe at the club.
More than most, I think Wenger needs to play a crucial role in this (as he always does). He must convinced these players to leave and that they have no future at Arsenal, unless he intends on using them. I would hate to see Wenger compromising and allowing the players to stay just because they do not want to leave for a lower wage. I would hate for Wenger to put his transfer plan aside because these players thinks that money trumps playing time.
Tick tock……tick tock.