Friday, July 28, 2023

Arsenal transfers to be completed before deadline day after stunning £200m summer spending spree

Mikel Arteta has acknowledged the problem at Arsenal. The first-team squad is too large to meet certain requirements ahead of the new season and therefore action must be taken before transfer deadline day.

Having spent just over £200million to sign Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz as well as allowing Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka to depart permanently, thanks largely to returning loanees, the Gunners have 35 senior players listed as per the club’s official website.

What’s even more fascinating is that Matt Turner, Arthur Okonkwo, Cedric Soares, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson weren’t named in the squad for Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the United States yet with the addition of youngster Amario Cozier-Duberry, Arteta was still able to call up 28 first-team players.

This is a scenario that can’t continue for much longer as explained by the Gunners boss when discussing what’s in store for the remainder of the summer transfer window amid talk of a fourth signing as links to Ajax star Mohammed Kudus and Gremio midfielder Bitello refuse to go away.

“Well, we have 30 players here which is unsustainable. Obviously, the market is still open and things can happen,” Arteta said. “We are prepared. I’m really happy with the squad we have at the moment. We have improvements to make in terms of what we want to do in games and we still have to do that. Overall really pleased with the team.”

With that said, these comments effectively confirm what Arsenal’s priority will be over the next five weeks. But how many sales are required for Arteta to solve this problem? Well, taking squad registration rules for the Premier League and Champions League into account can provide a clear indication.

After the summer transfer window closes, Arsenal will be permitted to name a squad containing no more than 25 players from which no more than 17 overseas players can be named with the remaining eight places available to those considered homegrown members.

Now, to be considered homegrown, players need to have been registered with any club affiliated to The Football Association or the Welsh FA for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21).

Therefore, as things currently stand, the 12 Arsenal senior players considered ‘homegrown’ are Aaron Ramsdale, Arthur Okonkwo, William Saliba, Benjamin White, Rob Holding, Emile Smith Rowe, Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson and Folarin Balogun.

Meanwhile, Runar Alex Runarsson, Matt Turner, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, Jurrien Timber, Jakub Kiwior, Cedric, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares, Auston Trusty, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard, Jorginho, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mohamed Elneny, Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard and Nicolas Pepe are the 21 overseas players listed which means the Gunners are over the limit by four.

But, as Karl Hein and Marquinhos are born on or after 1 January 2002 they can be registered on a separate list; Under-21 players who are eligible throughout the campaign so this effectively guarantees a minimum of eight transfers Arsenal must complete one way or another to bring the squad down to 25 players.

Champions League

Arsenal must submit their squad for the Champions League group phase by September 4 and as explained by UEFA, the rule with regard to player registration states: ‘Each club is responsible for submitting to UEFA an A list of players (List A) and a B list of players (List B), duly signed by the club and verified, validated and additionally signed by its association’.

‘No club may have more than 25 players on List A during the season. As a minimum, eight places are reserved exclusively for “locally trained players” and no club may have more than four “association-trained players” listed in these eight places on List A. List A must specify the players who qualify as being “locally trained”, as well as whether they are “club-trained” or “association-trained”.’

The issue here is that Marquinhos can’t be registered alongside Hein on List B as he hasn’t been eligible to play for Arsenal for any uninterrupted period of two years. As a result, all-but-one of the aforementioned senior players must be named on List A in order to feature in the competition.

Of the 34, Arsenal have eight senior players who fulfill UEFA’s “club-trained” criteria and another four who fulfill the “association-trained” criteria which means five of the remaining 22 must be moved on in order for the club to comply with the non-homegrown quota of 17.

Having said that, as no more than 25 players can be on List A it means another four have to be sold or loaned out for Arteta to avoid any squad registration issues thus taking the number of transfer exits required to nine before deadline day and the figure will increase if there are plans to dip back into the market for a fourth signing.

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