Playing Championship Manager

As the season is drawing to close and another trophyless one for the good guys again thoughts are beginning to turn to who we should buy and how much we will spend in the summer.

Some fans are beginning the clamour for new experienced signings already, sure that it is the only way we can ensure success going forward. They are also demanding the release of a number of surplus to requirement players.

“We must reduce our wage bill, to free up cash for the big names”

I caught an interview with Karen Brady recently (she was promoting some poorly titled book) and she was quizzed about the situation at West Ham. She told of how this season the owners have been required to put a large chunk of their own money in to sustain the club, blaming in the main players wages. She was asked why they paid the money they did, her response was quite simple.

“if we want to sign a youngster from United on a £30k a week contract with three years left to run, we have to pay him the same otherwise he will stay where he is”

Makes sense.

She also went on to say that it is very difficult being at a Professional Club and dealing with expectations.

She gave an example of two 18 year olds working for West Ham. One was a youngster just signing his first pro contract the other was new in the ticket office.

“on one hand the ticket office girl earns £15k a year and struggles to make ends meet, whilst the footballer earns that in a week and can’t understand why anyone would get out of bed for less”.

How crazy is that? West Ham a championship or lower table Premier League Club pay their young pros £15k a week. Yet some Arsenal fans think what we pay our youngsters is too much.

Anyway that’s a side issue I just found it interesting. So let’s look at our squad going into next season and ask two important questions:

  • 1) Do we need additional players?
  • 2) Can we accommodate them?

The first question is ultimately only answerable by Arsene, but for me looking at our current squad I’d say there is perhaps potential for improvement in one area, that of support striker. This assumes Robin stays. If Robin decides he wants to ply his trade elsewhere the desire to improve will become a necessity to replace.

The second question is the most difficult to answer, it requires careful planning by Arsene and is the part of his job that must be the hardest. Some of you will remember in January that I wrote a post saying how Thierry would be our only business as our 25 man PL squad was at its limit of overseas players, eventually Manuel Almunia had to make way for a short term space for Thierry.

Additionally we now have players that were not required to be named in the PL squad but over the next two years they will be.

So let’s take a look at where we are with our current squad going into next season and where we will need to cut to make new signings. The assumption is most new signings will be non homegrown, thankfully our youth policy allows us to fill up the squad with players deemed to be homegrown.

Potential 2012-13 Squad – Players Over 21 on 1 January 2012 (in bold are homegrown):
For this purpose I have assumed Arshavin has returned as he has stated his wish to do so and also Mannone will return into the squad also

Wojciech Szczesny
Vito Mannone
Lukasz Fabianski

Defenders: 7
Johan Djourou
Kieran Gibbs
Laurent Koscielny
Andre Santos
Bacary Sagna
Per Mertesacker
Thomas Vermaelen

Alex Song
Aaron Ramsey
Tomas Rosicky
Mikel Arteta
About Diaby

Wingers: 3
Theo Walcott
Andrey Arshavin

Centre Forwards: 3
Robin van Persie
Marouane Chamakh
Ju Young Park

So thats the current squad we are coping with, the eagle eyed amongst you will notice the absence of Squidgy (I believe his contract is up at seasons end) and Yossi (who’s loan spell will see him return to Chelsea).

In 2012-13 Arsene will have a squad of 21 players requiring to be named, 14 non homegrown, therefore we have space for 4 players, 3 of which can be non homegrown. There is also the potential of Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson and Carlos Vela returning although this seems unlikely. Henri Lansbury and Kyle Bartley will also be returning (Bartley is not required to be named but Lansbury will be).

You will also notice that Jack Wishere, Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, and Carl Jenkinson who have all had first team appearances are excluded, this group of players are currently 20 so do not require inclusion until 2013-14 season.Then we have another batch of youngsters including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Benik Afobe, Ignasi Miquel who are still under 20, but will soon be requiring naming in the squad.

Its not like we have five or six players in the current squad coming to end of their contracts anytime soon.The long and short of it is this isn’t Championship Manager, not only does Arsene have to assemble a squad that can achieve success on the pitch today, but also he needs to think about the players coming through the ranks and how to include them in the future.

It is not as simple as buy this player and sell that one, would you really want to be the person who bought a player that led to Frimpong, Miquel or Coquelin not getting into the squad in the future?

Written by Gooner in Exile


65 Responses to Playing Championship Manager

  1. Gooner In Exile says:

    Ooh my HTML has gone a bit T*ts up, I’ll try and fix.

  2. kelsey says:

    Sorry GIE,

    I should have waited with my comments as a lot of what you have written would have blended in with today’s post, though you have gone into far greater detail than i did by naming players.

  3. Gooner In Exile says:

    Haha Kelsey, no problem, I guess thats why Rasp thought the post was more relevant to recent discussions.

  4. Have a go GiE – it looked ok when I previewed it, sorry. You can edit even though it’s been published, just use the edit button under Arsenal Arsenal up on the dashboard.

  5. kelsey says:

    I hear we are in for dempsey yet again.I doubt it will happen but the club have made further enquiries according to my son who saw him on Wednesday. Hughes hates wenger, that’s why schwarzer didn’t happen, but joel is more liberal in his views but he wants Dempsey to stay, but interesting nevertheless.

  6. Gooner In Exile says:

    Fixed now….no problem Peaches I worried when i stuck the HTML code in.

  7. Arsenalista says:

    GIE – that is a very balanced article on difficult subject.

    You are right it will be hard to offload and according the the German League round up we can almost certainly add Podolski to that list. So not much room for playing around.

    For me Arshavin and Chamakh will keep saying they want to stay because the wont get 3m to 4m a week elsewhere because one is a has been and the other an unprofessional light weight with an attitude problem. They will be shipped out on loan at least but probably sold with Arsenal funding part of the wages.

    Both have other considerations than money as they have key roles in the national squads. Saying they want to stay is a bargaining tool.

    I disagree with Karen Brady that players salaries don’t ever come down when they move club, it’s just no-one takes a pay cut to go to West Ham and for very handsomely paid executive to slate a player for there attitude towards the responsibility of money is hypocritical considering the first thing they did at West Ham was to sack every member of staff down to the tea lady.

    It will be a long summer again. I don’t think we need to sign more than one player on top of Podolski, two at to absolute maximum.

    It is more of a case of making sure that those with the wrong attitude are not around to influence the others.

  8. Arsenalista says:

    Haha 3m to 4m a week, I meant a year.

  9. evonne says:

    Hi GiE – you always make me think hard by throwing all these figures around!! Far too clever for me.

    Honestly, I still don’t understand who needs to be named in the squad. I thought it was all players who are 21+, maximum of 24 players with minimum of 8 home grown, is that right? Under 21s don’t have to be named

    I like that Karen Brady example, she is right, it is crazy and there is no stopping the trend

  10. evonne says:

    GiE – i forgot to say something – most fans don’t care about your second question, all they want is to BUY BIG names; the trivila matter of how the club is going to accommodate the new players wouldn’t even cross their minds, let alone answer it. And frankly, until you brought the matter up a few months ago, the problem wasn’t apparent to this little brain either. So thank you for enlightening me

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    GiE, this is your ‘post-niche’ and I love to read these sorts of detailed and well-balanced posts. If it is true the Pod is a done deal then I would be happy enough if nobody was signed any more this summer, especially if Arsenal can get a full work permit for Campbell, and Ryo returns to Arsenal this summer.

    In an ideal world, I would like us to sign another (right-sided) experienced winger as I feel we are a bit weak in that area, especially if Theo were to get a long term injury, and with Gervinho going once again to the ACN in January/February as well. It would also allow us to try Theo in front of RvP.

    But Arsene’s biggest job will be to get RvP, Song and Theo to sign new contracts and to find new clubs for a number of players who have become surplus to requirement.

  12. great post, the minute Arsene start to listen to the fans, then we are no better than dumb ass City, Really hope guess like Miquel & Coquelin break through this year

  13. goonermichael says:

    Great post as usual. Miyaichi is only 19. does that mean he doesn’t have to be counted? I’m hungover so my brain is a bit slow. 😦

    I meant a picture of Theo yesterday. You can have the black and white one if you want it.

  14. Nosa says:

    hello all. I’m one of d regular ‘silent readers from Nigeria’ of ur blog. jus wantd to add cheekily dat football manager takes d home grown rule into consideration in d game

  15. goonermichael says:

    I’m watching the 49ers video.

  16. Hi Nosa

    Sorry we missed you hours ago 😉 it’s a holiday here in the uk and there don’t seem to be many people around. Hope you pop in again for a chat.

  17. evonne says:

    GM – I thought you wanted to give me a picture of the Bench Warmer. I’d love black and white of Theo, as Cesc needs replacing , thank you Michael

  18. Gooner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all….glad to see I sparked so much debate 😀

    Right so many questions where to start?

    Arsenalista – you’re right attitude problems need to be removed from the squad and hopefully the club. Maybe AvB and Steve Kean had it right when they binned their want away or complaining stars to train with the Youth team.

    Evonne – the squad maximum over 21 is 25 players, of which 8 have to be homegrown (as defined by PL rules). Sorry I made your head hurt 😉

    TA – i agree re another winger, I like Hoillet at Blackburn pace and a goalscorer. If Pod isn’t a done deal and RvP stays I’d think about someone like Yakubu or Dempsey as they are the right age not to prevent others coming through.

    GM – you’re right Ryo doesn’t need to be named, I think this is why Arsene tries so hard to get the best young talent between the ages of 17-19 he knows they alllow him to complement the squad with these types.

    Nosa – thanks for the cheeky reply, I haven’t played Championship Manager or similar for a long time but even though they have the rules in place it’s a lot easier in the cyber world to sell off the under performing talent. (create a new manager and use him to buy all your duffers, it also helps bankrupting your competitors and boosting your cash reserves….hmmm maybe Arsene created Mancini 😀 )

  19. RockyLives says:

    There hasn’t been a GiE post for a little while – but it was well worth the weight.

    Perhaps it deserves more than

    Fine piece Exile. Like you I’d be happy with only limited movement in the transfer market this summer and even that limited to the striking position.

    Obviously if people leave/are sold it’s a different issue.

  20. RockyLives says:

    *Perhaps it deserves more than a quiet Good Friday.

  21. evonne says:

    GiE – leave Mancini alone! He has nice hair, goes to church every Sunday and publically admitted that he would like to punch Ballotelli 🙂 Great guy! Anti-Marinho.

  22. chas says:

    GIE, a fine post.
    The Championship Manager fans have a list of 7 or so players from the ones you’ve named that they would get rid of to accommodate all of their new signings.
    Do West Ham really pay their 18 year old ‘pro’s £15k a week? Wow, no wonder so few go on to make it. Where would your hunger for success be if you’re on 15 thousand pounds a week at such a young age. I really hope player power is somehow reduced in the next couple of seasons.

    The summer will be so much more pleasant if we can do our ‘buying in’ business before the season ends. Then it’ll just be a case of moving a couple on that are surplus to requirements.

    What are you implying about GIE, “well worth the weight”. 🙂

  23. LB says:

    Thanks for that GIE

    I feel I am getting close to understanding how the current squad rules work.

    Each club has to name a squad of 25 players.

    Only 8 of which are allowed to be overseas players, that’s to say non-home grown.

    Each club can have as many under 21 home grown players, available to play anytime, as they like.

    Is there a special rule for under 21 non-home grown players or are they simply regarded as non-home grown regardless of age?

  24. chas says:

    “Only 8 of which are allowed to be overseas players, that’s to say non-home grown.”

    Huh! 🙂

  25. evonne says:

    LB – minimum of 8 home grown players.

    GiE – so how come Ox is home grown or rather what is the definition of a home grown player?

  26. evonne says:

    Chas – you are naughty! First you spoil Irish’ Easter, poor girl was so looking forward to the Saturday game and now you are laughing at us, for not understanding the bloody overcomplicated rules. Grow up!

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Just finished watching Swansea – NU and it has lifted my spirits again. By all means, it was not the best game I ever watched, but there were two different systems of football to be enjoyed today. Swansea reminds me a lot of Arsenal, but they are just lacking the quality to punish a well-organised team like Newcastle United. It is great to see how Rodgers has Swansea play a system of football that lifts a quite average squad of players to a different level. Swansea have been a breath of fresh air in the PL this season.

    Under Pardew, NU play a very clever and calculated game and, to an extent, they remind me of Chelsea under Mourinho. They are not dirty but work hard and defend well, and as we saw against Arsenal, they are good at taking their few chances if and when they arrive. They have a few players of real quality and well done to Pardew and NU to turn things round in such a short period of time.

    There are plenty of other good managers in the PL and there is hope that the likes of Hughes, Allerdyce, and the gas-smeller from Birmingham are a dying breed of manager. 🙂

  28. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne – To be Homegrown the player has to have been registered at any English or Welsh club for three years or more under the age of 21 (it doesn’t have to be at Arsenal).

    LB – under 21s simply doesn’t have to be named and if we get them early enough (as Wenger does) they become homegrown…hence Alex Song and Djourou are homegrown.

  29. evonne says:

    Newcastle 5th with 6 games to go, blimey

  30. evonne says:

    GiE – right, I got it. So home grown, means grown in this country, not necessarily at this club.
    Now that is going to bump up prices of the English and Welsh youngsters even more.

  31. goonermichael says:

    Cesc was home grown evonne so is Sir Chesney

  32. evonne says:

    Sir Chesny is from a different planet altogether Michael 🙂

    D’you know what – when I said I’d love black and white Theo I panicked, it could be taken as a racist jibe at TW being mixed race. Gosh, that PC does my head in

  33. chas says:

    I’m laughing at no-one, Evonne.
    I knew LB got it the wrong way round deliberately. He was proving the point that he’d understand how the ridiculous rules work.

    You don’t need to name 8 home-grown, do you? The only restriction is no more than 17 overseas and no more than 25 players over 21 years old. See it’s simple. 🙂

  34. goonermichael says:

    I’ll have to work out how to get it to you evonne

  35. chas says:

    Oh and the cut off for being 21 is the January of the year in which the season starts i.e. January of 2011 for 2011/12 season.
    So Chesney was 21 when this season started but not 21 when 2011 started as his birthday is 18/04/1990.
    Couldn’t be simpler. 🙂

  36. evonne says:

    GM – Peaches is the obvious link, but she might want to keep it 🙂

    Monster – it is not simple. So how many players and home grown have we had this season? Don’t all clubs name the maximum number, ie 25/17 ?

  37. chas says:

    Whoops, looks like you have to name 8 homegrown but some can be under 21.
    Told you it was simple.
    You can name less than 17 overseas, but I presume you have to name more u21 homegrowns to get the squad up to 25 players.

    Couldn’t be more straightforward.

  38. chas says:

    Sorry u21s, not necessarily homegrown.

    Oh I don’t know.

    Where’s GIE?

  39. LB says:


    You’ve got yourself into more of a pickle than I did Chas.

  40. evonne says:

    🙂 ha bloody ha 🙂

  41. LB says:

    So, 25 man squad to be named before the season starts?

    Minimum of 8 homegrown players? I undersand how and why Fabregas was regarded as a homegrown player.

    Which obviously means that 17 can be players from overseas?

    All players under 21 whether they are from Stoke Newington or Timbucktoo can be on the books and available to play at any time?

    Please someone correct me if this is wrong?

    Chas, you flatter me by suggesting that I purposely put something around the wrong way, I’m stuggling with this.

  42. evonne says:

    LB – I believed Chas that you were pretending and I felt such an idiot. Much happier now, thank you 🙂

  43. Gooner In Exile says:

    Players under 21 on 1 January of the year in which the season commences do not have to be named.

    Rambo and Sczesny are not in our PL squad in the 2011/12 season. But they will be for the 12/13 season. Jack is 20 and his birthday is 1 January do he only needs to be named from 13/14 season.

    The PL squad is a maximum of 25 players aged over 21. No more than 17 can be “non-homegrown”. However a team can choose to play as many under 21s as they like.

    You could, if you choose to, have a squad of 17 “non-homegrown” over 21, and no one else named. You could then field as many under 21s as you like to compliment.

    And Evonne you are right it is why British talent has become even more expensive and why Liverpool were in a rush to buy British talent given their squad composition.

    However this will lessen now that there are new rules concerning fees payable for players under 18 from lower league academies. These new rules are in my view a joke but that’s what the FA has done by giving the Premier League control of youth development grants and budgets to be distributed throughout the entire football league.

  44. evonne says:

    Phew, I think I understand it now, just don’t start again GiE, I am not even going to read that link!

    I called my friend and ask him to explain it to me. His answer was – what the feck you need to kniow that for 🙂

    Happy Seasonal Greeting to you all xx

  45. goonermichael says:

    evonne. Ask Peaches if I can give it to her on Sunday. she might not want to hold it through the match though.

  46. evonne says:

    GM – thank you very much! I am sure Peaches would be only too happy to hold Theo to her bossom, who wouldn’t ? I will ask her tomorrow, she is celebrating tonight

    Good night Michael xx

  47. Gooner In Exile says:

    GM that has all the makings for an “as the vicar said to the actress” punch line 🙂

  48. goonermichael says:

    Said the duchess (stirring her tea with the other hand)

  49. goonermichael says:

    Night evonne

  50. goonermichael says:

    It was a great post GIE. Everyone’s on holiday though. Someone told me yesterday that we have podolski

  51. Gooner In Exile says:

    Cheers GM.

    Would love it for Pod rumours to be true, as long as it isn’t to cover for the departure of RvP.

  52. goonermichael says:

    I think he’s staying. If Robin does go we’d get a lot of money for him. If we spent it on proven stiker as well as Podolski it would ease the pain.

  53. Gooner In Exile says:

    Think Frimpong wants to say hello to Samir

  54. jnyc says:

    We need to remember, rvp really seems to like theo, so we probably do have to re sign theo and bring in two top quality names to satisfy robin. U must respect if he wants to stay, but wont commit until mgmt shows theyre serious about going for trophies, not just top four. And top four is very difficult as it is.
    i think early deals for podolski and one other quality player might be enough with a generous wage package for rvp.
    i do like the sound of mvila, from reports ive read. But we absolutely need a creative attacking midflder to take the bulk of the time from rosicky.
    and i see wenger has decided like most of us that ramsey not ready or good enough to be creator. I dont like him on the wing obviously, but i think he will be perfect to rest arteta next season, his work rate wouldcmake him great at that role. I have been saying that he can be a scott parker type, with more potential for going forward. We all know that can be very helpful to a team.
    and by the way, since gervinho acknowledged the acn causing him problems, would it be so bad for wenger to ask him not to go next year. Considering all we invested in him.

  55. Rob Lucci says:

    Arsene said the transfer has started already, and we manage to buy a player before the season ended, and he’s better than Podolski..

  56. Gooner In Exile says:

    jnyc, thanks for your thoughts, very reasonable opinion. I wonder how highly RvP really rates Theo…a couple of years back you could see frustration on Robins face whenTheo used to misplace a pass, actually that wasn’t just Theo but anyone. The captaincy has seen him really mature, and I think he knows that he could lead this team to great things.

    Rob, thanks for the link, seems we keep about 6/7 of our own products and bring more in from round the leagues, I guess this is because the 1 hour rule prevents them joining us under the age of 16 and results in us having to choose some filler in the youth teams. Chuba Akpon mentioned in that article has just gone to the Euro U17 championship with England. Yet another centre midfielder coming through our academy.

  57. Gooner In Exile says:

    As for new signings I wonder if we should take a look at Swansea, both Sinclair and Dyer would be worthy additions to our squad.

  58. evonne says:

    Rob and GiE – thanks for the link, I had a quick look and it appears that some of the bloggers there still don’t understand the FFP rules 🙂
    Dylan says: ‘Do you have any idea about football? The more players the better regardless of their positions. ‘
    There are only so many Na$ris that are prepared to keep the bench shiny

  59. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne, there are indeed only so many Nasris you can put on the bench, I reckon you’d fit 2 on, 3 if they breathe in.

    The unrest in the City camp should be a notice to everyone else. There needs to be a core group of players who start every big game, and then the squad to fill in the gaps.

    When you look at United they haven’t got 11 guaranteed starters they probably have six or seven (max) for big games….the rest are up for grabs. At City they probably have 14-15 players who think they should start big games and when left out their egos are damaged.

    At Arsenal we are trying to build that core, but probably only have 4/5 names at the moment, Sz, Song, Arteta and RvP. (5 when Jacks back).

  60. evonne says:

    Yes, you are right about Na$ri’s fat back and front bottom, and unrest at Shitty. Of course players want to play, not just because they love footy, but becasue they can establish themselves as top pros by playing top football; you cannot do this sitting down game after game. How many years have they got realistically – 15? Except for few, not very long to make huge impact.

    I was going to bake some cakes and clean the place for Easter, but how can I with football on the telly all day long?!

  61. Gooner In Exile says:

    I am going over to my parents to help my Dad with DIY. So will not know results until much later.

  62. Rasp says:

    Morning all, there is a silly new post for a quiet saturday……..

  63. lower back pain, physical theraphy…

    […]Playing Championship Manager « Arsenal Arsenal[…]…

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