The Shoehorn Stratagem … which of Arsenal’s ‘Non-Homegrown’ Players Should be Sacrificed?

We are now approaching the climax of the silly season, or transfer window as it is wont to be known. Soon all the supporters of all the clubs in all the land will have presented to them their shiny new toys (SNTs). A Rodri here or a Ndombele there. Or not.

Many will be cursing their clubs for not buying the right toys, or sufficient new recruits.

Meanwhile, management everywhere will be vexing over the problem of fitting the SNTs into a squad that is already full of Johnny Foreigners, or non-Home Grown as we must refer to them. It is not my place, nor I’m sure is it necessary, to lecture fellow AA-ers on the Home Grown rule, on the squad size of 25, of which up to 17 can be non-Home Grown talents.

However, there are some on here, and indeed prevalent throughout the blogosphere, who recklessly demand the acquisition of countless new players who do not conform to the HG Rule, without considering the consequences. I just feel the need to focus for a moment.

Who do we already have? How many? Here’s a list, as far as I understand it:


Monreal; Kolasinac;   Koscielny;   Mustafi;   Sokratis;   Mavropanos

Xhaka;   Torreira;   Guendouzi;   Elneny;   Ceballos

Mkhitaryan;   Ozil

Aubameyang;   Lacazette;   Asano (!)


That’s seventeen. The full quota. No room for further additions.

But wait.

Pepe is here now. Tierney may be on his way (as a Scot he counts as a Johnny F). But still the mob demands more – Dani Alves, Rugani, Everton.

I read the transfer gossip and guffaw/chuckle/snort and chortle. For every one that comes in, one must leave. There are those we’d like to see go, and there are those it might be possible to transfer out.

Our Home Grown numbers are fine. We have seven (Martinez, Bellerin, Jenkinson, Holding, Chambers, AMN, Iwobi) supplemented with under-21s like Martinelli, Nketiah, Willock, Nelson, Medley, Olayinka, Thompson, most of whom seem near readiness for at least riding the pine.

But still the likelihood is the club already needs to shed players in order to conform.

I therefore suggest that for every Shiny New Toy you beg the club to acquire for you, you suggest who should be dumped to make room for them.

By the time the Newcastle game kicks off, we should know the 25. For you, who should be missing from that list?



94 Responses to The Shoehorn Stratagem … which of Arsenal’s ‘Non-Homegrown’ Players Should be Sacrificed?

  1. LBG says:


  2. Maxwell says:

    Good morning AAers. I wrote this before the Pépé arrival was confirmed, so there may be a couple of numerical inaccuracies. Additionally, there is a rumour, unconfirmed by Arsenal, that Asano has finally gone. Events have overtaken a story, as politicians are always discovering!

  3. Maxwell says:

    Hi LBG. That would probably be my wish list too. How many of those do you imagine Arsenal will be able to shift?

  4. Sue says:

    Yikes, Fred!!! My jaw has just hit the floor, looking at that comparison… although….errors leading to a goal will be an interesting one!! 😆
    80m for Hazza, so what should Shkodran go for?! 😜

    So where on earth did this Coutinho thing come from?? I mean, yes I accept it’s a load of tosh, but I’m just imagining – for a split second – the look on all the scousers faces as he cuts in and curls a beauty, right in the top bin from around 25 yards… cue the meltdown…. I would absolutely love it (just like Kevin Keegan 😆) it would make my year! Oh well, that’ll be my fantasy……

  5. RA says:

    Morning Maxwell.

    You write in a very similar style to my friend Big Raddy (BR) — so either you is you – or at least a compliment to you both. 😁

    I understand what you are saying that there is frequently displayed on many Bloggs at every transfer window, an insatiable lust for more and more new players regardless of the probable immense cost.

    And you are right, it is fun to chuckle, snort with amusement, sneer with incredulity or roll one’s eyes at the innocence or imbecility that is laid before us for our delectation, if not delight.

    In theory the squad numbers between the minimum numbers of Home Grown players that must be included and the remaining slots for Non-Home Grown players is simply a statement of the limitations placed on all the clubs.

    What I mean, is that it would be possible for the whole squad of 25 to be comprised from 25 Home Grown players — the ‘8’ is just a minimum.

    There are other parameters relating to the age of the players — but I am already starting to fall asleep myself, so I will stop there.

    There is an alternative to the question you raise about who should go, if the Non-Home grown places are already taken.

    Many clubs, particular the ‘money no object’ clubs get around that dilemma when they want to, by buying red-hot young players just over 21 or 22 y.o., and then loaning out either the new recruits, or loaning out existing pretty decent older players, where possible.

    And finally, there are inevitably, players who are no longer needed (and it is hard to argue with the list suggested by LBG) then simply tell them there name(s) will not be registered in the squad list given to UEFA

    It may be ruthless, but these players should also be told that they therefore have choices,
    — to go before the window closes, even if they do not want to;
    — or choose to stay, knowing they will not play in the EPL that season (or at least until the next transfer window) — and that would probably bugger their careers.

    How d’ya like them potatoes? 😜

  6. RA says:

    You mean he would forget himself, Sue, and curl it into the Arsenal net — (what’s that reference to a top bin?) 😳

  7. RA says:


    I know you will shudder to see Idid not use the the required pronoun before “names” in my comment at 10:52 a.m. — but if that gets you back on here to remonstrate with me — all the better!😎

  8. Ben says:

    I could be wrong but as Guendouzi is still under 21 he does not have to be included in our 25 man premier league squad. In essence he’s basically an extra player for our squad same with William Saliba next year.

  9. Sue says:

    Oh RA.. top bin 😂 uh.. the top corner of the goal.. so the gk has absolutely no chance of saving it.. now I’m imagining you diving to save it, although you wouldn’t have far to go, no one would get it past you!! 😆 another fantasy?! Haha

  10. iddi amin apangu says:

    Mustafi, Koscienly, and Elniny

  11. LB says:

    Thanks for the read Maxwell

    I am definitely one of those who needs help understanding these rules.

    So looking at your list we swap Asano for Pepe and if Guendouzi is exempt due to age that makes another spot which brings me to my point.

    I can’t see how Tierney will be brought if both Monreal and Kolasinac are still with us, that purchase must surely depend on the sale of one of them, probably the latter.

    And lastly Koscielny

    My guess as to what is happening to our wayward captain is that the club is doing everything they possibly can to try and pursued him to stay and I think they will succeed.

    Anyone differ?

  12. Academia11 says:

    Hi Maxwell,
    I’m having a quintessentially quite quaffable pint whilst replying to your dry wit, Mustafi, Mkhitaryan, Xhaka, Ozil and Monreal P45s and taxi

  13. LBG says:

    3rd August 1999
    Arsenal sign a quiet, not very confident, right winger. Thierry didn’t turn out too bad a buy, though!!

  14. Maxwell says:

    Thanks for the long intervention, Redders. Much complimented as I am, BR I am not.

    When we started watching the Arsenal, there may have been one or two “foreigners” (usually Scots or Irish), and the rest local lads, or from exotic outposts like Barnsley. I’d be perfectly happy to return to those days – as long as everyone did!

    What complicates things further is who the club name in the squad. So Douzi, while still a junior, counts towards the quota because he’s been named in the first team. Likewise AMN, still an underage home grown, but named in the squad, so taking space.

    To extend, it would be possible to name ten or a dozen home grown players in the squad, but the carnage that would create doesn’t bear thinking about… or just maybe?

  15. JM says:

    HG: Emiliano(GK), Macey(GK), Bellerín(DF), Holding(DF), Chambers(DF), Jenkinson(DF), Maitland-Niles(MF), Iwobi(FW) … that is 8 already.

    Non-HG: Leno(GK), Sokratis(DF), Monreal(DF), Mavropanos(DF), Kolašinac(DF), Elneny(MF), Mkhitaryan(MF), Ceballos(MF), Özil(MF), Torreira(MF), Xhaka(MF), Lacazette(FW), Aubameyang(FW), Pépé(FW) … that is 14.

    U21s players currently in the 1st team (unlimited, i.e. they are not counted in the max. squad size of 25): Willock(MF), Guendouzi(MF), Smith Rowe(MF), Nelson(FW), Nketiah(FW), Martinelli(FW).

    Players that could move on:
    Non-HG: Koscielny(DF), Mustafi(DF)

    Players that could come in:
    Non HG: Tierney(DF)

  16. fred1266 says:

    Offer him to Leicester and take 10 mil

  17. LB says:

    Offer who Fred?

    Elneny, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Chambers.

  18. fred1266 says:

    rc78 you watching PSG game

  19. fred1266 says:

  20. fred1266 says:

    LB no 10 mil for mustafi

  21. Mavropanos & Asanos could take loan spells, Kolasinac will probably leave and if as looks likely we’re stuck with the Elneny, Mustafi, Xhaka then we’ll have to suck it up, as we will with overpaid underperforming Ozil & Mkhitaryan.
    I think we can find a minimum of three places

  22. Sheila says:

    I was sure Asano had been flogged to Partizan Belgrade for a cool mil, but I could be wrong

  23. Maxwell says:

    Hi Sheila, that’s what I’d heard too. But I’ve seen nothing on the Arsenal website to confirm it.

  24. I hadn’t realised that Holding was so advanced in his recovery. That’s certainly good news, but if Tierney passes his medical (assuming he joins) we will still be three quarters light of our projected first choice back four until late September at the earliest, and we have some very big games in those early few weeks when Mustafi will have a crucial role to play.

  25. Sue says:

    Good old Di Maria, Fred!

    Can anyone help by shedding some light on this matter, please?? I’ve been experiencing hassles trying to re-assign a ticket – to a member on my network – on the ticket exchange. Not able to speak to anyone until Monday (& possibly hear via email) just wondered if anyone else had experienced this. Thanks!

  26. fred1266 says:

    Yea asano was sold for a mil

  27. fred1266 says:

    Hmm u have a network for tickets sue 🙂

  28. RA says:


    I think you were talking about the Home Grown rules as applied to Scottish and Northern Irish players and I think you will find that because of the Union, players from the above countries and Wales are all classified as UK players and therefore exempt from the HG rules and are not classified as Non-Home Grown (Overseas players).

    In addition, any Non-HG player under 21 are exempt, but they become subject to the rules if they turn 21 years old after the commencement of the current season.

    In practice, I do not think even Arsenal will get the HG Rules wrong. 😳

  29. Maxwell says:

    Are you sure you’re correct on this RA? Checking the epl rules, they say a player must be at any club affiliated to the FA or the FA of Wales. Then all the stuff about a minimum of three years and ages and so forth.

    There is an absence of specific reference to Scottish or Irish affiliated clubs.

  30. LB says:

    Where is GIE when you need him, I would like to know the answer to this.

  31. Rasp says:

    I don’t believe players from Scotland or N Ireland count as home grown.

  32. RA says:

    Oh, bugger!! I said that Arsenal were unlikely to get the HG Rules wrong — but I should have said that it was likely I would get them wrong!

    Sorry, sorry.

    Apparently at the formation of the English leagues, the Welsh did not have leagues other own, and were permitted to join the English leagues, and still do to this day – Swansea, Cardiff etc.

    Some years ago, I became involved in a discussion about the UK and the Union of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales — as I did not understand at that time the push for Scotland to become independent.

    Clearly I misremembered that conversation, and Maxwell, and Rasp are correct — oops. 😜

  33. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. Thanks for the post Maxwell. I think my thoughts are similar to many others in that we should see Mustaffi, Kos and Elneny depart as a minimum, and probably one of Nacho or Kola if Tierney arrives.

    Does anyone else have the feeling that we can’t bring the other players we are targeting to the club until we shift those 3-4 above? We probably need some of the funds from those players as well as clearing their squad space and wages.

    I have a suspicion that our remaining transfer plans could succeed or fail depending on how willing or stubborn the likes of Mustaffi and Elneny are to moving on.

    I think we all agree on here that we hate seeing our players targeted by that minority of so called fans, but at the same time it is happening regardless, and I think it would be a dangerous game to play if certain players dig their heels in and are still here when the TW closes, and it becomes general knowledge that the reason we didn’t get player “X” is down to their unwillingness to move on. How do we think the fans will react to those players then?

  34. GoonerB says:

    The one I can’t quite understand this TW is the sale of Bielik.

    I feel we can’t get everything we need in this one TW as it is financially unfeasible. Bielik is a young player (21) with room for improvement but who is 6’2″ and can play CB or holding midfield and was player of the season at a promoted club. He played well for his country at the under 23 tournament, and if I am not mistaken counts as home grown.

    This seems like a player we should have kept and looked at further this season.

  35. Rasp says:

    Morning GB, maybe UE prefers Mustafi over Bielik?

    I couldn’t believe the stats comparison of Mustafi v Maguire … so I checked them … and they’re correct!

    Mustafi won 54 tackles compared to Maguire’s 17
    He had 58 interceptions compared to Maguire’s 37
    He made 106 headed clearances compared to Maguire’s 77

    I’m very confused.

    It can only be the silly mistakes that Musrtafi makes that give us the impression he’s not very good … because statistically (without a figure for critical errors) he is considerably better than the £80m Harry Maguire

  36. Rasp says:

    I’ve just done the same comparison between Mustafi and Sokratis … and guess what … Mustafi smashes Sok too

  37. RA says:


    That’s why I wrote a comment recently that the fans irritation with Mustafi (and mine too) was somewhat disproportionate.

    He does things OK most of the time, including scoring the odd headed goal, but his errors tend to be magnified when he messes up just before a forward scores against us.

    I am no expert in these things, but it seems to me that his problems are often the result of his attempts to rectify mistakes made by the right backs, including Belli Button and certainly AMN.

    I suspect it is too late for him now to win over the fans – once the public attitude goes against a player – he is cooked – skewered – kebab-ed.

  38. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders … I agree. I’m compiling my own comparison just now. It appears that Mustafi is a lot more ‘busy’ than Sokratis and that may be partly due to the higher number of errors. He certainly puts in the work rate.

  39. RA says:


    Totally agree about Bielik.

    I do not know what it is about certain players who fans rate because they look skilful, youthful and really keen to play for the club who bought them along, only to learn the manager does not rate them the same way, and they are sent on their way to another club.

    Apart from Bielik, my mind goes to The Jeff who I thought looked the best player of the youth teams, and before that Bennacer, who we were allegedly trying to buy back, and before that Vela who I always thought was special, and all these years later is still earning a living at a good club.

    There are many more youth players like Zellalem, Akpom etc who fall into that category, altho others will have different opinions, and I fear for players like Medley, Nketiah, Thompson, and Nelson who look the biz but have been slated for loans recently and that is usually the kiss of death, as proved the case with the three above I first mentioned.

    I guess that’s football, where the only opinion that matters to a player is the coach’s.

  40. RA says:

    That’s interesting, Rasper, can you show us that Mustafi info when you have it?

    It might stop me groaning whenever I see Mustafi’s name on the team sheet. 😳

  41. RC78 says:

    I think the stats maybe reflect also that Leicester defend better and hence, Maguire had less to do? Mustafi is a decent player like Xhaka is, no doubt about it but they have been making a lot of mistakes over the years and they really didn’t improve nor did they really make anything to win the fans over. Both have very good attitudes but they switch off so many times during a game and a season…they also get booked frequently… IMHO, both can be sold and am happy to give a chance to HG players like Holding and Chambers instead.

    Martinez, Macey, Bellerin, AMN, Holding, Chambers, Iwobi, RN and I believe maybe Willock could count as HG…

    If Mustafi is Sold, let s get Tarkowski and he is HG and if Xhaka is sold, why not get Declan Rice also a HG?

  42. GoonerB says:

    RA, Rasp. I think the Mustaffi thing should be a post with his stats compared to a few other players. I have strongly felt he should move on and isn’t good enough but there could be an angle with Mustaffi in line with what RA and RC78 have indicated, that we all haven’t properly considered, and it is worthy of discussion me thinks.

  43. RC78 says:

    Asano was sold for 1 Mln, Bielik for 10 Mln
    Koscienly will go to Bordeaux. If we wanted any player from Bordeaux, then go for the GK Costil – he s quality

  44. Rasp says:

    OK … stop talking about Mustafi and stats (please) … I’m working on something …

  45. LBG says:

    RA and Rasp
    I wish to add to (repeat) and perhaps fine tune your debate regarding Mustafi. I believe the problem is more to do with the ” base of the midfield”, a phrase used by someone last week. When a side is noticeably short on pace ( and calmness on the ball) in the centre back positions, it is essential that the midfield base of one or two are disciplined positively, intelligent/perceptive of on-coming midfield or forward opposition, and speedy of short movement. I believe Terrier has that skill/ability level, even if a Doucore type partner might improve the situation still better. Xhaka has none of those abilities. The consequence is the Xhaka/Mustafi/even Sokratis axis produces an incredibly fragile centre through which opposition poured through last season especially. AM-N is not a full back and unlike Lauren, Cashley, Toure, et al cannot be made into a reliable one. Bellerin still learning the defensive side of his game and needs continuous nagging from a Dixon or Winterburn on the training field.
    Hope I have explained my view clearly enough.

  46. Rasp says:

    Thanks LB. That is a great comment. Please save it up and post on tomorrow’s debate.

  47. fred1266 says:

    Rasp I to was amazed at mustafi record so can the issue really be he doesn’t get the cover from xhaka and co and he finds it difficult to cope hense making silly errors

    Also the high line doesn’t help since he isn’t the fastest

    To be fair mustafi is one of our best scorers from corners

  48. fred1266 says:

    Just made that same comment RA before I see your hopefully this season if he does get a chance he can prove to the fans how capable he his especially with a willock torreira midfield which I hope is more defensively solid

  49. fred1266 says:

    Rasp not sure if if remember but I had a discussion with chas that mustafi holding partnership last season was actually good but it only when paired with sokratis that he started back making those silly mistake and chas deduced that probably mustafi could command holding what he needs from him but with the likes of sok and kos he cannot

  50. Sue says:

    Kolasinac & Ozil are back!!! 😊

  51. fred1266 says:

    Disable RA akpom Jeff vela Gnabry all got there chance but I think they were at the club at th wrong time we were going through such a transition that we needed more from them that they were capable of

    None of them has gone onto have an exceptional careers as of yet

    U may say what about gnabry I still think he just another player in a dominanting bayern side

  52. VP of Oz says:

    All this talk about Mustafi and stats reminded me that Arsenal own a stats company and this scene from Moneyball when they decide to base player transfer decisions on stats and not the scouts. Also Billy Beane is a great admirer of Arsene…

  53. fred1266 says:

    Why another GK Martinez should be given a chance

  54. Rasp says:

    Shhhh VP …. it will be in the post tomorrow 😂

  55. Rasp says:

    Sshhhh Fred … re Mustafi 😂

  56. Sue says:

    Come on City

  57. fred1266 says:

    Now seeing pepe didn’t travel

    Also no lacazette has he trained since

  58. fred1266 says:

    I actually want Liverpool to win sue

  59. fred1266 says:

    Anyone watching the community shield see how Liverpool players recover anytime they do a threw ball

  60. Sue says:

    Thank you, Jesus!!!! 😝

  61. Aaron says:

    man, $h*tTy did not deserve that win, pool had them pinned for days.

    Can’t stand that smug a$$ pup either.

    Go coach a team without money and resources and get back to us.

    At least spuds LOST today, it is a good day already.

    Wanted to see Medley, Olyinka, John-Jules included in the travelling team, but at least there are a few, most notably Willock, Nelson and Martinelli. But, of course the same ole’ defenders who can’t defend to save their lives are included, no other choice at this point really.

    Will comment on the Mustafi stats later. That is a whole other can of worms.

  62. fred1266 says:

  63. fred1266 says:

    Ozil and mkhitarian are a waste of space jeez

  64. fred1266 says:

    Nelson holding his own with the big boys

  65. fred1266 says:

    Meant willock

  66. Sue says:

    Oh you beauty 👌

  67. fred1266 says:

    Nice goal PEA

  68. Aaron says:

    Nelson with nice touches, AMN playing very well on the right, Willock staying where he is supposed to be, and the defense has been tight without worry of brain freeze on the high line. A couple of cheap giveaways by Mesut, Miki and Xhaka.

    But, what a pass by Mesut and finish by Auba. Awsome!

  69. Aaron says:

    All the changes on the left have provided nothing as an outlet for the Arsenal defenders under pressure.

    Too bad for AMN, just a communication problem, but get over it and move on.

    No pace in the center, and I do not think the players on the left hand side and towards the center have an understanding of each other

  70. Aaron says:

    So, Mustafi comes on for 2 minutes, brain fades and let’s suaRez run off his shoulder and everyone know what happens.


  71. fred1266 says:

    Yea his fault for the goal

  72. fred1266 says:

    Aaron what u mean what a pass from mesut that was all aubameyang

  73. Sue says:

    No biting tonight

  74. Aaron says:

    So, whomever is writing the Mustafi stats piece ing tonight, I want you to watch that goal by Suarez on replay 51X.

    That will be my reply to what stats mean, and the eye test matching the intangibles in reality.

    The Arsenal need to sign a CB. End OF Story…..

  75. LB says:

    Don’t think you will find too many who would disagree with that Aaron.

  76. LB says:

    I am going to look for the positives in AMN dreadful back pass.

  77. VP of Oz says:

    when you need a story….

    After The Sun reported that Sport reported Arsenal interest in Coutinho, Sport now report that The Sun have reported Arsenal interest in Coutinho.

    Sport never reported it in the first place.

  78. fred1266 says:

    Wish he could have done us a favour and bite of mustafi legs

  79. fred1266 says:

    No way AMN should be making that type of mistake

  80. fred1266 says:

    so nothing positive can come from it

  81. Sue says:

    Hahaha Fred!! 👍
    Auba’s goal – just think of that!
    So… what is your preferred line up for Sunday then, Fred??

  82. Sue says:

    Also, Fred… at least Mesut is back – Megan is no more 😂

  83. fred1266 says:

    Right now I would prefer Megan instead of mesut he is trash

  84. fred1266 says:


    AMN chamber sokratis Kolasinac

    Willock Torreira

    saka Ozil Nelson


  85. fred1266 says:

    I know torreira not match fit but I would take an unfit torreira than a fit xhaka any day

  86. LBG says:

    Genuinely worried if Dick carries on playing AM-N at right back, he is going to be destroyed as a player and as a character. I would prefer Dominic Thompson asked to play on the wrong side. At least he has defensive desire and positional sense for the role!! Give Ainsley a break for God sake.

  87. LB says:

    The question I ask myself is: would AM-N be less sloppy if he was playing in another position and the answer I come up with is — no.

    His back pass was the culmination of a bunch of bad decisions he made in the box, all of which he got away with but it really only looked like a question of time, although, I didn’t expect the error to be quite so comedic.

    The positive is exactly as the commentator said: at least he didn’t do that in a meaningful game to which I would add: maybe that might shake him a bit further out of his lethargy.

    There is no doubt that he is a very good player and worth persevering with but more jokes like that and he will be in danger of taking Mustafi’s dunce’s hat.

  88. LBG says:

    Surprised at your comment. Dont believe all current day players should fit easily enough into any position. Ainsley does not think like a defender first and foremost, and IMO, has developed this “sloppiness” as a consequence of playing with so called experienced defenders like Mustafi, Sokratis, Kola who are at least as sloppy and have little excuse.
    If we cant convert an established first team player other than him into a right back, I would genuinely prefer to blood Harry Clarke or Zak Swanson from the Academy. Play defenders as defenders, give them extra support (double teaming) on that side from wide forwards and see if we cant find someone more suited. Silk purse and sows ear!

  89. RC78 says:

    We could still play Jenko at RB… Untol we recruit one.

  90. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post …

  91. Thanks and sharing Nice information too.
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