Arsène Wenger, I believe, faces the toughest summer of his career, because on top of the obvious need to revitalise the squad with three or four new players he also has to wrestle with the new premier league rules limiting the squad size as follows.
All clubs will have a named a squad of up to 25 players of which only 17 can be over the age of 21 and not home grown.
A home-grown player will be defined as one who, irrespective of his 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 prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21).
Clubs will be able to supplement their squads with unlimited additional players under the age of 21 on 1st January in the year in which the season commences.
Changes to the squad list of 25 may be made during the period of a transfer window.
It is interesting to note that home grown does not just apply to players brought through the academy of the club he is playing for, thus Sol would qualify having come through the spuds system from an early age. We have 7 first team players in this category.
Campbell, Djouro, Bendtner, Fabregas, Clichy, Song and Denilson
Add to this the fact that we are allowed to add as many unregistered under twenty one year olds as we like and it would appear to make us well placed with our existing squad. However it does mean that any player reaching 21 has to be registered if he is to continue to play, thus needing an existing player to be deregistered. One wonders how long an unregistered 21 year old or deregistered older player would want to stay
This clause seems to me to make any players that Arsène sees as surplus to requirements very saleable, given that many clubs will be scouring the country for players that will allow them to fill up there squads.
Could be that Arsène’s youth project will prove to be a real moneymaker for the club. Once again it seems Arsène has done it right.
Being able to loan players out will also be pivotal as to how squads are handled, given that additional young players can be added in January, promising players can be put out on loan for 6 months premiership experience prior to joining the squad as unregistered players.
So how would our squad look? My initial take would be
New GK, Fabianski, Mannone
Traore Vemaelen 2 new CB’s
Rosicky Song Wilshire*
Van Persie Vela
* = Unregistered players, playing regularly
I expect Almunia, Gallas, Sylvestre, Merida, Senderos, and Eduardo to leave the club. With a new Goalkeeper, 2 Centre backs and a Centre forward to join us. Arshavin is also very likely to go. So a new holding midfielder would be handy although Eastmond could be used in that role.
Perhaps some of our loan players will also be sold or indeed added to the squad, it gives you some idea of the decisions Wenger must make with so many of them approaching twenty one, which has become very much the cut off point career wise.
Interesting times ahead I think