After Vito Mannone moved to Hull on loan there was some suggestion that he had made available a space for non homegrown players to arrive.
Unfortunately this isn’t the case. For the 2011/12 season we named five homegrown players over the age of 21, and 17 (the maximum allowed) non homegrown players. Players like Szczesny, Ramsey and Wilshere do not need to be named as they are under 21. Mannone due to when he arrived, actually counts as homegrown.
With the late summer arrival of Arteta, Mertesacker, Santos, Gervinho, Benayoun and Park we added six players who clearly don’t count as homegrown. We lost Vela, Traore, Bendtner, Clichy, Denilson and Cesc who all did count and Nasri and Eboue who didn’t. We went from four available spots for non homegrown players in the Premier League Squad in 2010-11 to none in 2011-12.
Current homegrown players over 21 are Walcott, Djourou, Song and Gibbs (and Mannone now not in the squad).
That leaves us in a situation where we cannot name Henry in our premier league squad (post Transfer Window closure) as we will exceed our quota. The same goes for any other foreign player. That is unless we free up some room in the January transfer window or do not name some players in the PL squad after January.
The likely candidates to not be named or released are Almunia, Park and Squillaci, however all have been used whether on the bench or in cup games. And leaves us short of cover going into the fixture laden months of February and March.
There is a further problem, we only have three spots for over 21s left in the squad, they must be homegrown, Wilshere, Szczesny, Ramsey will fill those spots within a year or two so without some major squad overhaul we can expect very little in new arrivals until we have allowed some natural vacancies if we can’t move them on before contract expiry. The use of a squad berth for Henry seems to make no sense given the above. Especially as changes can only be made during the transfer window. If we drop a player from the squad rota at the end of the window to allow Henry to play in the League in February whoever we drop will not be able to return when he goes back to New York. Are we sure we want to risk that?
We may have kept some money back in August but we have a situation that needs addressing and a bit of long term planning is required. I did not question the summer arrivals as they were much needed as are some new additions in January. But now it is clear that without releasing some of the foreign talent we may as well stop hoping. Sorry put your scouting videos away unless they are unheard of English or Welsh talent playing in the lower leagues.
Written by Gooner In Exile