I’ve been looking at our squad lists because in all the talk of transfers, what doesn’t seem to get much discussion, is how we aim to fill our squad of 25, and leave room for the youth to come through. Which of course is now essential with the homegrown rules in place. So before we look outside, let’s look within.
This was our squad list last season.
Arteta Amatriain, Mikel (No)
Bendtner, Nicklas (Yes)
Cazorla, Santiago (No)
Diaby, Vassiriki Abou (No)
Fabianski, Lukasz (No)
Flamini, Mathieu (No)
Gibbs, Kieran James Ricardo (Yes)
Giroud, Olivier (No)
Koscielny, Laurent (No)
Mertesacker, Per (No)
Monreal, Ignacio (No)
Ozil, Mesut (No)
Park, Chu Young (No)
Podolski, Lukas (No)
Ramsey, Aaron James (Yes)
Rosicky, Tomas (No)
Sagna, Bacary (No)
Szczesny, Wojciech Tomasz (Yes)
Vermaelen, Thomas (No)
Viviano, Emiliano (No)
Walcott, Theo James (Yes)
Ricardo Gibbs and Amatriain Arteta. Brilliant.
So that was a list of 21, with 5 Home-grown players. We also added Kallstrom in January. I think we will lose 6 of these players (Bendtner, Park, Fabianski, Sagna, Viviano and Kallstrom.) of which only Bendtner counts as home grown. That will leave us with a list of 16 and 4 home-grown players. Only Carl Jenkinson and Jack Wilshere from our current first team are required to be added to our list for 2014-15. Which would make it a list of 18, with 6 homegrown players. So we can add 5 more non-homegrown players this season.
So before any additions our squad will look like:
LB: Gibbs*, Monreal
CB: Per, Kos, Verm
CM: Arteta, Diaby, Flamini, Ramsey*, Rosicky, Wilshere*
AM: Walcott*, Cazorla, Podolski, Ozil
Obviously we need to buy players in various positions to have a complete squad, and a squad that is good enough. However, we also need to consider bringing players through our youth ranks. Will they be incorporated into first team action? Indeed, some of them already are.
Now, my knowledge of the Arsenal Reserves and youth teams is fairly limited these days and I had to do some internet scouting to find out about most of them. Some names are familiar because they have been mentioned on and off in the media. Others are just wild punts. I may have left some talented players out, or got the positions wrong for some of the ones I did include. However, such as it is, this is the list I compiled of players we have coming through (or out on loan), along with the years in which they need to be registered.
GK: Damien Martinez (2014), Matt Macey (2016), Deyan Illiev (2017) Josh Vickers (2017)
RB: Hector Bellerin (2017), Tafari Moore (2020)
LB: Brandon Ormonde-Ottewille (2017), Arinse Uade (2017)
CB: Johan Djourou, Ignasi Miquel (2014), Daniel Boateng ( 2014), Semi Ajayi (2015), Zach Fagan (2016), Isaac Hayden (2017), Julio Pleguezelo (2020)
CM: Francis Coquelin, Samuel Galindo (2014), Chuks Aneke (2015), Thomas Eisfeld (2015), Jon Toral (2017), Jack Jebb (2017), Kris Olsson (2017), Gedion Zelalem (2019), Dan Crowley (2020)
AM: Ryo Miyaichi (2014), Joel Campbell (2014), Wellington Silva (2015), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (2015), Serge Gnabry (2016), Zak Ansah (2016), Tarum Dawkins (2017), Alex Iwobi (2018)
ST: Yaya Sanogo (2015), Benik Afobe (2015), Chuba Akpom (2017), Austin Lipman (2017)
Although we certainly can’t plan to shape our squad to accommodate some players who may (or may not) need to be registered in the next 5 years, but seeing as some of them are talented, and the homegrown rules account for at least 8 of a squad of 25 players over the age of 21, we cannot be completely blind to their talent while going out to purchase a player. For example, Zelalem. No one wants to hear the line about ‘killing’ Denilson again, but at the same time, here is a player who can count as an U-21 for the next 5 seasons, and yet he is on the fringes of the first team. Surely we must be aware of making space for him in the squad eventually. That of course includes looking at player contracts, planning the evolution of a squad with the right balance, depends on opportunities that open up in the future in the transfer market etc.
So for me the question is how many spots can be made available to our U21 players? (To add depth, not to compromise on quality) The ones I’d like to see get a chance would be, Martinez (3rd choice GK), one of Miquel (out of contract)/Ajayi/Hayden as 4th choice CB, one midfield spot for either Aneke or Eisfeld. And Joel Campbell to come in as well.
Ox (obviously), Gnabry and Sanogo are already members of the first team I think. Akpom and Zelalem seem very talented but I think they might need a loan first. For others like Ryo, Afobe, Wellington and Coquelin, sadly, I think the time has come and gone. What do you think?
P.S. This article was written before Arsenal released certain players. Aneke, Tarum Dawkins, and Zak Ansah among them.
Written by Shard