On the back of the signing of a player, we Arsenal fans have become used to players leaving to balance the books, with quite a few released at the end of the 2014 campaign, there may not be the normal rush from the club to make this happen. Arsene has reiterated over and over again that its just as important to keep the squad together as it is to bring in new talent.
But there are parameters within which we need to work, those set down by both UEFA and the FA in terms of homegrown players. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that our recent acquisitions have not fulfilled these quotas, in addition to the new arrivals we have players who have now matured into a “need to be named” age, only three or four years ago I would have been unfussed about our squad quota’s Jack, Aaron and Carl are now of an age where they have to be named, this reduces the available squad places on offer, although they do fulfil the homegrown quota.
Or do they? One of the issues now confronting clubs is that there is a different set of rules for Europe compared to the Domestic League.
I’m sure I have written enough posts on the subject by now that I don’t need to go over the rules again…….oh……ok well pay attention this time!
Premier League Homegrown Rules:
Maximum squad size 25
Maximum Non Homegrown Players 17
Complemented by Under 21 on 1 January of the year the season commences. So under 21 on 1 January 2014 (born on or after 1 January 1993)
Definition of Homegrown : those players who irrespective of nationality or age, have been affiliated to the FA or Welsh FA for a period of three seasons or 36 months prior to 21st birthday.
Now what about European Competition?
Well UEFA have got clever with the rules, in principle they are the same except the 36 months rule applies between the ages of 15 and 21, 4 of the 8 home grown quota must be club homegrown.
I actually thought this was why Liverpool buying Lambert was a masterstroke, but having checked wiki he was not there past the age of 15…….so answers on a postcard please.
Anyway back to the main point, where is our squad now in relation to the rules above?
Key below : HG – Association Homegrown, CG – Club Homegrown, U21 – work it out
Disclaimer I am only adding U21’s that have featured in the first team.
Anyone care to explain what is going on with Djourou? He is still on the club website as an Arsenal player, but there were reports last year that he had sealed a permanent move to Hamburg….if he is still ours he would count as Club Homegrown.
So thats the list and what can we do with it.
Well lets assume we want a full 25 man (over 21) squad, we need at least 4 club homegrown for UEFA purposes, well as you can see we are actually well covered in this area, that Mr Wenger isn’t stupid is he?
Out of those listed 5 could be considered to be first team quality:
Szczesny, Wilshere, Ramsey, Theo and Gibbs.
All good for that UEFA minimum requirement, and because we have one more than required we only need a minimum of three other homegrowns, well this is perhaps from last years squad where we struggle, Jenkinson is in there but are we really going to include Coquelin as well? If Djourou remains then he would make the full 8 player quota. But the chances of both players being in red and white this season are slim. Although I personally have always liked Coquelin, an unfussy midfielder able to tackle and move the ball.
I know that we don’t have to fill the entire 25 spaces available, but wouldn’t it be good from a rotation point of view to have a bit more experience and nous around that adds to the squad.
So where does that leave us, well we now have 17 berths to fill, go on add up the non home growns above….15….so 2 spaces, the under 21’s have a free pass to play so can avoid the knife.
Most of us think we need at the very least one experienced keeper, one defensive midfielder and an experienced right back, thats one more than we can acquire if the rest of the squad is retained, unless we can find some homegrown (by definition) talent to fill some of those gaps.
In the past it would be easy to identify the chaff to be separated but now it is not so easy probably Miyaichi who hasn’t progressed due to injury and Diaby who hasn’t played because of injury are prime lambs for the slaughter, that gives us four available spots for non home grown talent.
I always finish these kind of posts with one thought……screw being a manger with these rules and limits in place, you need to plan three, four or five years ahead to stay ahead of the game, you have to look at your youth and decide who will be able to fulfil roles going forward that others will vacate. Thank goodness its not my job, and thankfully we have Arsene, someone who isn’t just planning for todays successes but also for future one’s too.
Anyone else think they have a decent plan to get in the players we need without destabilising the squad with simultaneous departures?
Written by Gooner in Exile