Arsène’s Squad It All Wrong. But Why?

Arsène observed on Friday:

There is no room to move. Is 25 enough given the injuries? It is an artificial rule that I don’t like.

On the face of it, this seems a reasonable observation, his doubts emphasised when considering how the current campaign has unravelled through injuries to key players.

The official Premier League stateement at the time the rule change was implemented read:

From next season, clubs must include eight home-grown players out of a squad of 25.‬‪ A home-grown player will be defined as one who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21).‬‪

Effectively, the Premier League is asking the clubs to replicate the restrictions placed on international and european competition, despite there being more fixtures to endure. On the face of it, it is a restrictive practice, forcing managers into an untenable position when faced with even a mild injury crisis.

Looking at Arsenal, should the current squad remain unchanged, this will be the list submitted next season:

Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone, Lukasz Fabianski; Sol Campbell, Mikaël Silvestre, William Gallas, Bakari Sagna, Emmanuel Eboué, Gaël Clichy, Thomas Vermaelen, Johan Djourou, Kerrea Gilbert, Philippe Senderos; Tomáš Rosický, Abou Diaby, Cesc Fàbregas, Samir Nasri, Alexandre Song, Denílson; Andrey Arshavin, Eduardo, Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner, Jay Simpson

The observant among you will have noticed something immediately amiss with that squad. In fact, there are several things wrong.

Firstly, key players are missing. We’ll come back to them in a minute. Secondly, the chances of that squad being unchanged are nil, especially with Campbell, Silvestre, Gallas and Senderos all out of contract in the summer. Some will leave through their own volition, others at Arsène’s behest. The final thing that is wrong? There are only 24 names so Wenger cannot even comply with the basic letter of the new rule.

There two nuances which Wenger chose to ignore that are rather more revealing. Again from the Premier League statement, the first becomes clear:

Clubs will be able to supplement their squads with unlimited additional players under the age of 21 on 1st January in the year in which the season commences.

In other words, your squad size can be as big as you like but 25 of the players must be over 21. Arsenal do not comply with that now or next season. They are not old enough. To emphasise that point, the following players, if they remain at the club, augment the twenty five:

Carlos Vela, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Mark Randall, Armand Traoré, Fran Mérida, Wojciech Szczesny, Nacer Barazite, Gavin Hoyte, Henri Lansbury, Rhys Murphy, Craig Eastmond, Aaron Ramsey, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Sanchez Watt

All are under twenty-one years of age in January 2010 and therefore do not need to be part of the initial twenty-five names. Far from being a restriction, the squad system is rather playing into Wenger’s hands. Of this list, age becomes an issue for 2011/12 when the first five will all be over 21 by 1st January 2011. Even this is not a particular issue just yet.

Wenger has to decide who will make the grade, perhaps being more ruthless than the benevolence shown thus far. Of the initial 24 players, question marks exist over those out of contract whilst the futures of Almunia, Fabianski and Gilbert are open to immediate speculation. Realistically, at the start of 2010/11 season, Wenger has space for five players, assuming two of the out of contract players leave, accompanied by two of the other three. Far from having no room to move, he has space to play with. More to the point, the critics of “Project Youth” are now in a position where they have to admit that the theory is actually the only way in which the top clubs can survive and maintain their placings.

The second aspect not mentioned by the manager is that the squad can be changed after the January window closes so for example, had Ramsey’s injury occurred in November, his name could be dropped from the squad list to accommodate another.

So why is Wenger choosing to cast doubt on the ruling? He has been burned by injuries this time, no doubt and would perhaps like more than 25 experienced players. Yet there is more ‘political’ motive that springs immediately to mind.

Post-Barcelona, the manager alluded to signing a new central defender in the summer. Add into that the comments of Peter Hill-Wood concerning the funding available and the speculation has spun way beyond his control, a fact acknowledged on Friday (again) when Wenger observed that all of the rumours of interest in players was incorrect. Quite simply, he is trying to regain control of the maelstrom around the club this summer. He knows the Fabregas stories will crescendo with the shrill squawkings of the Spanish media and this before he looks at the views of the multitude of Arsenal blogs.

Exponentially, expectations of signings increase with every defeat suffered, no matter how cruel the manner in which the loss may have occurred. An avalanche started and Wenger is seeking to divert it away from the current squad as the scattergun approach of critics looks dangerously like creating another atmosphere which saw Emmanuel Eboué abused by his own supporters. A repeat of events that the manager cannot allow to happen.

He also faces public questioning of his dealings in the market, not just from the blogs but in the national press. Whilst those opinions should not drive his views, they add into the atmosphere surrounding the club. The progress of this season cannot be lost in a wave of acrimony through the summer as ‘expected’ arrivals do not materialise.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on April 25, 2010, in Arsenal. Bookmark the permalink. 235 Comments.

  1. Where are the burguisse?

  2. A very timely post, YW. Another mindreader? There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding surrounding these new rules. Half an hour ago, I thought they were far too strict. Now I’m not sure they will have any effect at all.

  3. Pz

    It was tomorrow’s post but as it’s being discussed today, let it be/ Have to think of something else in the morning!

    YW

  4. “In other words, your squad size can be as big as you like but 25 of the players must be over 21.”

    No, the 25 can be any age.

  5. Brilliant article especially for us who keenly follow the youth setup. I love you yogi.

  6. This is entirely confusing….

    You say we can’t get 25 players in the squad to fulfil the new requirement. Why is that so?

  7. I’m still not 100% clear as I do not understand how Arsenal.com could have got it so wrong? Arsenal are usually pretty smart about seeing what is coming and preparing for it. In fact 10 of your list of 24 first team players would qualify as home grown.

    As for transfers, I wonder if Arsene was just reacting in the heat of the moment or giving the press something else to focus on whilst he took the time to get the team to re-group? I thought what he said was ‘the team certainly needs something’ and that was interpreted as wholesale changes? I’m not convinced. Why spend the last 5 years building something to tear it down when the reason we fell short is due to injuries? There has been progress this season and with a young team, there will be further progress in the next. What we need more than anything is a reduction in the number of traumatic long term injuries, which lead to further niggles and a very slow process of rediscovering form.

  8. Passenal,

    I think AW knows exactly how his squad will shape next season and is just looking to give the season’s end a bit of breathing space, deflect attention from the remaining fixtures.

    YW

  9. Ole

    Ed is pedantically right – the squad can be any age but why bother listing 25 players, some of whom are under 21 when they can be added for nothing anyway?

    At this moment, including those on loan, Arsene only has 24 players over the age of 25.

    YW

  10. yeah im not getting this but them i am a bit thick…

    we HAVE to have 25 players over 21???

    and passenal can you confirm who the 10 players who qualify as home grown are?

  11. ok so they dont have to be over 21 but do we have to register 25 or can we just register 23, suppliment squad with youth and add more over 21’s in january if need be?

  12. “Clubs will be able to supplement their squads with unlimited additional players under the age of 21 on 1st January in the year in which the season commences”

    Will the squad after 1st January still have to be max of 25 players? I assume also that there still needs to be 8 “homegrown” players included.

  13. Sorry that 4.59 comment should have read “24 players over the age of 21”

    YW

  14. Word
    There’s no point submitting 23 players at the start of the season, need to submit the maximum allowable number of players. Just in case of injuries.
    Players can be replaced with under 21 players in January.

  15. If I understand it correctly word, Mannone, Campbell, Clichy, Djourou, Senderos, Gilbert, Fabregas, Song, Denilson, Bendtner and Simpson, actually that’s 11 players, but I’m not 100% sure about Denilson as he was 18 when he joined us.

  16. Word

    Homegrown

    Campbell
    Fabregas
    Gilbert
    Clichy
    Djourou
    Song
    Bendtner
    Walcott
    Mannone
    Gibbs
    Simpson
    Vela (Possibly – not sure if the loan spells out of the country count against him)
    Eastmond
    Ramsey
    Wilshere
    Senderos

    All of the rest of the reserves as well! OK so only those who have been at the club for three years.

    YW

  17. Start of the season, fill the 25 man squad with experienced players (satisfying the 8 homegrown rule too) omitting as many of the following

    Carlos Vela, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Mark Randall, Armand Traoré, Fran Mérida, Wojciech Szczesny, Nacer Barazite, Gavin Hoyte, Henri Lansbury, Rhys Murphy, Craig Eastmond, Aaron Ramsey, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Sanchez Watt, Jack Wilshere.

    Preferably have Walcott and gibbs/traore stay. Send all the omitted on loan til january. Then bring em all in.
    That we way we have space to improve the squad initially, the young ones will get experience and have some games 2nd half of the season, and we will have a large number of back-ups available.

  18. To clarify:

    As I understand the rules, 25 players must be submitted at start of season which can be adjusted on 1st Feb.

    Of them, 8 must be homegrown.

    On top of the 25, an unlimited number of players under the age of 21 can be added.

    So, the age limit works in Wenger’s favour. If, for example, he finds that when submitting the list, he has 25 players over 21, he can use the unlimited list – or ‘B’ list if you like – to utilise players such as Walcott who on 1st Jan 2010 were under the age of 21.

    Which means that Wenger can have up to 25 players over 21 in his squad for next season and still be able to use the likes of Vela, Walcott and co within the rules.

    YW

  19. The key to this is not to confuse the date of 1st January relating to age with the 1st February which is when the squad of 25 can be changed.

    1st January is an escape clause to put someone who may have been in the initial 25 onto the ‘B’ list.

    BTW there is a ‘B’ list for the Champions League which allows younger players to be used. Hence the side that has sometimes taken the field in the final group matches.

    YW

  20. YW
    Star!

  21. Sounds like it is similar to the CL squad lists, which is why Arsene was not cheating by playing those youngsters against Olympiakos, as he had registered them. The question mark I have is whether if 9/10 of the 25 are injured before January is there scope to bring in the under 21’s to supplement it? If that is the case, why is Arsene complaining?

  22. YW,

    But there’s still a problem. They will not remain U-21 for long. Since contracts and squad building tend to be long-term (more than one season) in nature, it might be better to count Walcott & co as part of the 25 since at least 3 of them will not qualify next season. To illustrate, if you’ve brought in Fernando Torres & David Villa to be part of the 25, and then the following season, many of your previously U-21 are no longer U-21, what do you do? Surely you’d have to let some people go?

    That’s why I think it will be necessary to start out counting them as part of the 25 which they really are.

    Am I making sense? I’m not sure I am 🙂

  23. Flint McCullough

    I posted this on the previous article but it is more relavant here.

    This is how I see it

    Category 1 players from anywhere- 17 allowed

    Category 2 players trained in English or Welsh Academy for 3 years/seasons before age 21 – 8 or more to bring squad up to max 25. There appears to be no age restriction.

    Category 3 players aged under 21 on 1st January in the year when the season commences.

    I think this will mean for the current squad:

    Category
    1 Almunia
    1 Silvestre
    1 Gallas
    1 Rosicky
    1 Arshavin
    1 Sagna
    1 Eduardo
    1 Eboue
    1 Van Persie
    1 Fabianski
    1 Vermaelen
    1 Diaby
    1 Nasri
    1 Song

    2 Campbell
    2 Clichy
    2 Djourou
    2 Cesc
    2 Bentner
    2 Denilson
    2 Mannone
    2 Simpson

    3 Vela 1 season – he will be category 1 after the following season

    3 Walcott 1 season
    3 Gibbs 1 season
    3 Traore 1 season
    3 Merida 2 seasons
    3 Szczesny 2 seasons
    3 Barazite 2 seasons
    3 Bartley 2 seasons
    3 Nordtveit 2 seasons
    3 Lansbury 2 seasons
    3 Eastmond 2 seasons
    3 Ramsey 2 seasons
    3 Emm-Thomas 2 seasons
    3 Watt 3 seasons
    3 Cruise 3 seasons
    3 Sunu 3 seasons
    3 Coquelin 3 seasons
    3 Wilshere 4 seasons

    We should therefore be able to get 3 players in , from anywhere, without moving anyone on. It appears to be a good position for us but it does mean problems of who we will be able to keep as the category 3 players get to be category 2.

    I wonder if this ruling has really been thought through sufficiently. It could lead to academy players over 21 being moved on before a proper conclusion could be made of their full ability. Simpson being a good example. It could also effect the loan system.

  24. Yes, Flint, but…..

    It still means Wenger was right. At some point some of the category 3 or category 1 players will be let go because they would no longer qualify in either category

  25. By the way, do the new rules apply to the League Cup and FA Cup as well?

  26. did some research and if you take out Gallas, Silvestre, Sendros who are all leaving then we have 4 places left and hoping Sol will stay
    this will be our 21 players
    Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone, Sagna, Eboue, Clichy, Vermaelen, Djourou, Rosicky, Diaby, Cesc, nasri, Song, Denilson, Arshavin, Eduardo, Bendtner, van persie, Chamak, Vela and 9 among them are homegrown.

  27. Ole / Flint

    The natural cycle is that players move on every summer which will allow the ‘talent’ to flow through. It is not inconceivable but would be highly unusual, were the squad to remain unchanged from one season to the next thus preventing any promotion from the youth ranks.

    My suspicion is that the EPL has decided to try to bastardise the draft system, whilst still retaining the transfer system, to try to raise the standards throughout the EPL by allowing young players (21 – 25) to get into another squad if they cannot break into Arsenal’s if the squad is full.

    YW

  28. Song has been with us since he was 17 so I think he is category 2 rather than 1, but that is a useful breakdown Flint.

    I think you have a point about the risk of academy players being moved on early. Simpson and Randall are possible late developers, but whether we could continue to carry them is doubtful. Also, defensive players tend to peak later and we also have the likes of Nordveit, Bartley, Ayling, Miquel, Cruise, Evina and Botelho to accommodate.

  29. Thanks for ‘clarifying’ YW, i nearly understand now. I can’t see how it will be allowed under European or employment law and wonder what the purpose of this rule is anyway? Are the Premier League hoping it will make the national team better? Is it an indirect and sly attempt to rid our game of foreigners who they deem not good enough? Since when did the Premier league have the authority to shape squads and define what counts as a home grown player.

  30. Yogi, it’s good that the PL are trying to do something to encourage the academy system and the development of young players, but it remains to be seen whether this is the answer. It is potentially restrictive to teams like Arsenal, but may be the only way to bring the likes of chelski in line, although I suspect they will be buying rather than developing their home grown players.

  31. Flint McCullough

    Ole
    Isn’t that just what I inferred?
    AW would either promote the under 21 into cat. 1 or 2( meaning a cat.1/2 being kicked out), or shift him out. I suppose long term loans could be used here.

    It is a PL rule so I assume FA competitions are as they are now.

    It is a wonder the Players Union agreed to this.

    What isn’t clear, or should I say particularly not clear, is if the 25 is obligatory or a maximum? There must be clubs who would want to have less than 25 for financial control.

  32. YW,

    My fear is that we’d lose promising kids without adequate compensation. I’m thinking that the unintended consequence of this rule is to ‘punish’ the teams that produce talent or at least make it less profitable (and not just in the financial sense).

    I just think this rule assumes that clubs will let older established non-homegrown players go, to replace them with younger homegrown players. That’s a very faulty premise.

    Squad turnover is normal and constant, but with non-homegrown spots now at a premium, clubs will seek to replace non-homegrown players with other non-homegrown players unless they happen to have extraordinary numbers of extraordinary home players coming through.

    It will also increase the cost of getting established homegrown players beyond reason.

  33. Matty Boy, the home grown rule is actually regardless of nationality as long as they have spent 3 full seasons as a registered player with the English or Welsh FA prior to their 21st birthday. So it actually endorses Arsenal’s policy of buying the best English and World wide talent at a young age and developing them yourself. Cesc for example, as much as he was a product of the Barcelona Academy actually graduated from the Arsenal finishing school so he counts as home grown as do many of our current first team squad.

  34. Flint McCullough

    Yes, I think you are right Passenal. I had not taken into account the season he was on loan to us. I would think that does count.

  35. I don’t see how this lets academies flourish quite honestly. The main problem is the 25-player limit on squad sizes.

    I think the rule would work much better if there was no limit on squad sizes, but the number of non-homegrown was still limited to 8.

    It won’t be ideal but it’d allow academies enough time to bring players through, instead of creating a brusque up-or-down moment at age 21 when many young players will be purged never to be seen again.

  36. Passenal, I understand what you say about nationality but it still restricts the buying of foreigners who have not been registered for 3 seasons. It dictates the make up of a squad and whether this helps or hinders Arsenal i find it intrusive and unnecessary. I would like to know the Premier Leagues true motives behind this ruling. To me it smells a little bit.

  37. Passenal,

    Not really does it endorse the Arsenal approach. You can only have a squad of 25 players. That means, every season there will be a purge of players….. and it’s almost certain they’ll be academy players, unless the academy starts rolling out 3-4 World Class players per season….

    If I were the likes of Stoke, I’d scrap my academy and just wait till the likes of Arsenal, Man Utd, Villa, Man City, West Ham & Tottenham inevitably purge players so I can snap them up.

  38. But Ole, how can Stoke teach them the true art of defending after they have learned the pansy ways of those Southern softies? Look at how shocked Kevin elbows Davies is that JW can look after himself after being taught football at Arsenal?

  39. One positive is that Chelski will struggle to meet the homegrown rule, and Man United too to an extent. However, it’s a signal for more crazy spending since they’ll just buy every half decent homegrown player available.

    Liverpool are completely screwed under this dispensation.

  40. Take Tottenham off that list Ole, not even Stoke would want their cast off’s. The last decent player to come out of their academy was Sol.

  41. Passenal,

    Oh they’ll brainwash them soon enough, or hopefully, Stoke repent on their evil ways and actually start to value playing football.

  42. Flint McCullough

    The under 21 is too young.

    Players may be getting appearances at that age or younger but most tend not to be established regulars until a season or 2 later.

    One of the consequences I can see is more of a shift down the divisions of the good but below top notch foreign players, who will be better than many average English ones there.

  43. What right have the Premier League got to dictate to a genius like Arsene as to the make up of his squad. They should concentrate more on stopping clubs like Portsmouth going to the wall by bringing in a rule which stops clubs living beyond their means. This would promote the development of homegrown talent amongst other things but as usual the Premier League like the FA and Uefa have bottle it yet again.

  44. Guys let be honest to each other, you can foul people sometimes but you cannot foul people all the times. Manchester United has a bigger squad more than us, does the rule only apply to us. I personally, I do not believe it and I do not trust the gaffer Arsene Wenger at all. I have always knew that, when the summer transfer window opens, the gaffer will not buys any players at all. Anything he says now, is an indication that he will not buy any players. Instead, he will be prepared to sell his top players. I do not trust the guy at all, as far as I am concern, the gaffer should walk.

  45. Good piece, YW. Maybe you should send the man in charge a copy ;-).

    And thanks to Flint for the additional breakdown.

  46. Paul Bessitch, your logic is beyond understanding.

  47. Great post Yogi, makes everything pretty clear..

  48. thanks for the homegrown lists guys!

    blimey, well this is going to take quite a lot of careful long term forward planning from clubs and all I can say is that if arsenal are struggling it must be a bloody nitemare for some other clubs!

    It does piss me off when there are major rule changes like this as I seriously doubt the fat cats ability to truely gauge the knock down affects that will occur on many levels in the next few years. It sounds like they have a vague reasoning that this will help youth development but thats probably about as far as it goes.

    Most interesting is what happens to players as they hit 21. Our late developers will be stuck in some kind of enforced football purgatory where by we will encouraged to loan them out untill they prove they are good enough to fully take the place of one of the more experienced players in the list of 25. I guess we would have to be constantly scouting our own players to make sure they are developing properly…? If we think they are not good enough for us in the long run then we still want to loan them out and basically advertise them to other smaller clubs and raise their eventual transfer value. I imagine we would see a lot of 22year old mercenaries (loaners) floating around until the smaller clubs come in to try and poach them. As mentioned before, this may encourage smaller clubs to just wait for the big clubs rejects. Surely this is not healthy for stability for either the sellers or the buyers?

    Maybe however the young players will learn more this ‘vocasional’ way… is this then good for the english team in years to come? Is this the priority??

    What then happens to the players edging torwards the end of their career? scholes would have possibly been out of business years ago were the rules in force then. If players start realising that their careers will be even shorter surely they would then start demanding more wages? Would clubs be less likey to take chances on anything less than exceptional talent? Yet even more inflation of the transfer market?!

    You have to ask the question – does this satisfy the reasons for the change? An easier question to answer if we knew exactly what the premier league are trying to achieve!

    (The above is subject to my artistic impression of the rules so please feel free to correct me!)

  49. What an absolute load of complete and utter bollocks….and who is going to oversee, manage, police this nonsense? The FA?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

    Every time a team gets beaten they will question the squad make up of the opposition.

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  50. God, these new rules should elevate the typical Championship Manger-inspired transfer discourse to tedious new heights.

    …and place even more expectation on youngsters. I mean, there’s way too much as it is.

  51. Excellent stuff Yogi and kudos to Flint for making it even clearer.

    This will suit us in the long term and it is a plus in that our rivals are not as well prepared.

    However, there still exists a need for greater quality in depth in our squad.

    Right back is the only position where we have two players fighting each other for a starting place. Competition is good, especially with so many young players, it keeps starters focussed and pushing themselves.

    Also, there are a lot of good players in our squad, who, as hard as it is to say, have not done what is necessary this year for us to be champions. Some were just not ready to play, Eduardo standing out in this regard.

    Neither of our top two goalies has impressed this season. Wenger has said Schezny is the future, but he needs to be ready now or we need to add here unless Fabianski can turn things around instantly.

    Silvestre will go, Gallas doesn’t look good or he would have singed already. Campbell saved us in a big way, but we will start next season with TV a 36 year old and Djourou who has never been a regular and will be 18 months out injured. Help is needed here and Wenger has acknowledged that.

    As for long injuries, Eduardo has managed to start 13 Pl games and added 3 goals. When we needed a striker he couldn’t get the job. Rosicky has 3 goals from a start more – not good enough form two experienced players in a young squad playing as attackers in a 4-3-3. Both are quality, but there is no place for sentiment and we need more from our attackers – it would have seriously helped without RVP.

    In general, our attacking midfielders – wide attackers now – have not been productive enough. (They used to say you needed 5 players 10 goals or more to win the league, we haven’t) Arshavin has 9 goals an only 1 assist, Nasri is obviously excellent, but he should get more than 2 goals and 3 assists in a league campaign. Vela has been a dud and should have gone on loan. Walcott for obvious reasons has struggled and only added 3 goals and 2 assists.

    we have to keep these players, but they need to improve and they need augmenting.

    Sagna, Eboue, Campbell, Clichy, Denilson, Nasri, Cesc, Diaby, Song, Walcott, Arshavin, RVP, Bendtner, maybe Gallas, a current keeper, and Chamack. Eduardo and Rosicky if they stay and get back to their old level.

    That is 17 players who have premiership experience and will be at the club as it stands. 2 of those are out of contract and 2 are yet to recover form after long lay offs.

    There is an obvious need for and space to accomodate new signings – it is needed. Just because there is a name on the squad list now, doesn’t mean that that player can push those ahead of him, many are raw youths without experience in the PL yet.

    This new system will promote the loan system and Arsenal will be at the forefront of that. It would have been better for Vela to have been playing at Fulham this year, they were interested, and for us to have got another striker. One who was ready when we needed one, unlike Carlos. Similarly, Barazite, Watt, Wilshere, Bartley, JET, Fabianski, Coquellin, Ayling, Lansbury, Sunu, should go on loan, rather than wait for chances they only get in emergencies where the pressure to deliver instantly is unrealistic.

    A compact squad, but full of top quality is the ideal. Sadly, our squad players this year have not been as good as we would hope, as we needed, or as their reputation and our perception as fans thought they should be.

    The spine of the team – TV, Cesc, Song, Denilson, RVP – is as good as any, but they need more around them to get over the top.

  52. Before people start howling, intelligent investment that is within the bounds of the clubs budget is the way to go. Above is not a call for Davis Villa or other unrealistic 30 million players.

    We stopped spending to pay off the stadium and it was the right thing to do.

    We stayed at the top because Wenger is a genius.

    We have a better future than any team in this league.

    However, the debt is down, the team is close, this is the time to get what we need to be champions. That is always the aim, to be champions, wenger says so, so let’s get what we need to have it. I am sure he can do that on budget, Chamakh for nothing is a smart start.

  53. I think like everyone else I am slowly wrapping my head around these new rules. Still not quite sure how it will help the PL or any future English team for that matter but am pretty confident it will cause a fair bit of chaos as the final team selection is being made.

    I have one big Question though, maybe someone can answer it. In regards to the “homegrown” players and the fact that each team must have 8, I get what constitutes a “homegrown” player but if for instance an Arsenal “homegrown” player (such as Bendtner) decides he will do better by moving on to another PL club, can they claim him as a “homegrown” player? I mean if they can surely his value would become artificially inflated and if they can’t then his value would drop drastically.

    Hope I am not confusing the issue even more but it is a genuine question.

  54. I don’t know why but your last 2 comments really rubbed me the wrong way arseneholis…..

    Somehow a season in which our squad has coped under enormous injury strains, that’s to you reason for rubbishing most of the players.

  55. Irishgray,

    Yogi answered that question in the article

    From next season, clubs must include eight home-grown players out of a squad of 25.‬‪ A home-grown player will be defined as one who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21).‬‪

    And yes, your observation seems sound and logical to me. If I were Chelsea or Money City, I’d just buy every half decent ‘homegrown’ player at a premium with the certainty that other clubs would be left with the less than half-decent ones.

    More indecent spending to come.

  56. Ole – get a grip dude, I didn’t rubbish most of the players.

    I said that our attacking wing players should have provided more goals and that we will be light in central defence if Gallas and Silvestre leave.

    We did cope well with injuries, but we need to start planning for that as it happens regularly.

    It isn’t rubbishing anyone to say that we are 9 points away from where we need to be, where we want to be as a club.

    You are a stats man. Vela, eduardo, Roscky have not provided us enough goals form the wings this year, Arshavin either really given his status, and walcott has been injured. We need to look at why that has happened and do something about it.

  57. Well done for actually reading the whole of those posts Ole, I lost interest about half way through the first one.

    Irishgray, I think in your scenario, Bendtner’s value in the PL would be inflated rather than devalued as the home grown rule counts outside of the home club.

  58. Just to point out that we did lose our Captain to a broken leg, then we lost Arshavin and Gallas again, we then lost (in my opinion) our best player this season in TV right as we where still in contention for the PL. We lost to the Spuds and Wigan and drew at Man Shiteh, with the return of RVP, if we had these players we would not have lost those 2 games and would have beaten Man Shiteh.

    Ifs and what ifs, yes I am sick of it too but that is the luck of the draw. But to say our squad was not as good as was needed or as we had hoped or as their reputation suggested is to really demean them Arsenehollis. If a team is no tgiving everything they have in every game then there is no way they would lead the league in scoring goals in the last ten minutes of a game. Could we have won with a fully fit team? Of course we could, we might have even beaten Barca. But please do not say they did not perform, finishing 3rd sucks, but look at Man Shiteh and how much they spent, almost as bad as Real Madrid.

  59. Thanks Passenal. But would that not then prove detrimental in the long run to English talent coming through the ranks as it would mean teams with a limited budget would scrap their academies and save the money to simply buy players they need from bigger clubs who are forced to release their excess players?

    And as we all know the bigger or wealthier clubs tend to buy 2 or 3 foreign players for every 1 English one.

  60. Chelsea’s best midfielder, by quite a distance, is Essien. he hasn’t managed half a premier league season in 3 years.

    Torres is Liverpool’s best attacker by a mile, he has missed about half this year.

    Which one has affected his side more and why do you think?

    If you are banking on one or two players to do it all for you it is always a risk. Liverpool with Torrs injured and Gerrard knocking up teens rather than goals is a shit side.

    The chavs, I hate to say it, have dealt without Carvalho and Essien – the best in their positions by a mile at that club. Cashley out also, Drogba for a time. Joe Cole. Bosingwa. Ivanovic.

    You need more than developmental players and rehabing veterans to keep you in the pots whilst the big players are out.

    Maybe I am just still down after watching the team implode in Europe and the league, but I think the faults in our team are easily correctable. Our spirit has carries us through very impressively. If we can keep that and reform a few things – squad depth and goals allowed – we will be champions next year.

  61. arseneholis,

    You sound like AIC. Not very convincing. Really.

    At the least I have no clue what your point is or how to reconcile it with what happened this season.

  62. But Irishgray, not all big teams have an Academy as extensive or successful as ours, plus if a ‘small’ team can produce a quality player they can make a tidy profit on the deal as Everton did with Rooney.

  63. Fascinating article Yogi. Making the complex, transparent is a rare and enviable skill, one that you have mastered.

  64. Queen of Suburbia

    I don’t seem very happy today according to my avatar!

  65. Ole Gunner thank you for pointing that out earlier on, I must have overlooked where YW said that. Jesus the FA cannot even stop clubs from going bust (Pompey) right under their noses by enforcing the existing rules and now they come up with more!! Will not be surprised if there is a really big backlash over this once clubs see how it is really affecting the league.

  66. Passenal I fully agree and it is one more feather in Arsene’s cap. But I disagree with you when you say it would inflate a players price. i mean we all know about the Bosman ruling right? Well put it this way, if a player signs for a team but then turns 21 and he can therefore no longer pay for them, does that team then have to let him go? I mean surely there has to be a time limit on how long you can have him sitting at home while you try and make 10 million, and if clubs know you have to sell him then the price will just keep dropping no?

  67. Irishgray,

    The smaller teams would be able to put their ‘gems’ (say a Rooney) in their squad, till he can be bought.

    The problem is for bigger clubs with a more extensive carousel of talent.

    Also, even us would be able to draft an Afobe or a Freeman into the 1st team squad. We won’t be forced to sell.

    On the other hand, there will be the Gilberts of this world who’d go for much less than he’d have gone for.

  68. Hey i have been an Arsenal fan from Brady Stapelton Charlie Gorge Charlie N etc. etc. but that don,t change the facts we are not good enough to win the title in any other time in the last 30 years half of this side would never get a game if they were we would not be playing 451

  69. Damian,you are100% correct,but you are gonna be ripped apart on this point,good luck mate.

  70. “..It All Wrong”? Try some proof-reading you schmuck.

  71. Yogi

    I’ll save you the trouble.

    Anon – Try learning the English habit of playing on words, you prick.

    Red Den

  72. We need less rules in football not more.

  73. God forbid that an actual young player wins the PFA young player of the year.

    The PFA awards no longer make sense.

  74. Really enjoyed this. A thorough deconstruction of the new ruling by YW and posters alike. Looking at the squad breakdown, with all the young talent coming through, and the possibility of a few new characters – these are exciting times for all of us!

    I know it’s wrong with 2 games left to play but I’m already looking forward to the Emirates Cup. Actually, that really is too daft. I’m looking forward to these last two games even more than that – the team has fought incredibly hard this year, at times seemingly stark bollock naked in a ridiculously harsh wind of adversity. We owe them a lot of love at the Fulham game.

    I have witnessed a growing sense of patience, maturity, and belief from my fellow fans this season, which makes me much prouder to be an Arsenal fan than I have been for the last few years, and which I think will do us a lot of good on the pitch next season.

  75. Does anyone realise that in WC2006 Wenger recommended 17-year old Walcott to Ericcson, and now Wenger is mischievously recommending 35-year old Campbell for the WC2010? It would be quite amazing if Capello takes his advice too. 😉

  76. Every Arsenal player should be made to look at the Chelski/Stoke game as a leeson as how to finish a season

    One point out of nine we are finishing the season with a whimper

  77. Luke

    Campbell certainly derseves a world cup place more than Walcott.

  78. It’s happening, Luke. I had a dream last night which started off with me and some others staging a sit-in protest at an inner city zoo, possibly Vienna Zoo. I don’t know what this part of the dream means but the next part seems cut and dried: I was suddenly transported to a forest filled with light, where I joined Sol Campbell as he walked alongside and amongst a hunting party of lions.

    Sol was a pillar or total calm, so I stuck close by him. He would hold his hand out as he walked and the lions would nuzzle it affectionately.

    Surely this dream can mean only one thing.

  79. In my opinion, Campbell would be a gamble. I would rather avoid a nightmare than to live a dream.

  80. Chelsea lost at White Hart Lane, Chelsea lost at the DW Stadium, Chelsea beat Stoke at home.

    Same record as Arsenal, disappointingly.

  81. But Luke, he’s in inspirational form, rolling back the years, out-sprinting forwards two thirds of his age.

    He’s no more of a risk than someone who needs his fluids drained off after each 45 minutes he plays, like a kettle of prunes.

  82. “Arsene’s Squad It All Wrong”

    “Hey, try some proof-reading guy! I’m walking heeer!!”

    Ahhahahahah!

  83. PFA team of the season: Keeper of the year Joe Hart.Please Wenger BUY HIM

  84. LA

    But Chelski beat us 3-0 and 2-0 smoking a cigar.Thats the difference

  85. If Fabianski gets through the last two games without upset and has a smooth pre-season, then I think it’s possible he’ll be our number one next season.

  86. Certainly possible, OOU. For me he’s every bit as talented as Joe Hart. He will become a great keeper, just needs an extended run of games to build his confidence.

    I remember Hart making some howlers at Citeh. At Birmingham, where he’s put to work far more regularly, he’s come into his own. Exactly the same would happen to our very own Flappy given an extended run in a team like that. The problem is building his confidence up without loaning him out.

    Are you still following Belgium, OOU, what do you make of Logan Bailly?

  87. There have been some great, helpful explanations regarding this new rule on this thread but nobody has yet convinced me what the actual point of it is.

    If the Premier league are dictating to the likes of Arsene Wenger and making up new definitions of terms like ‘home grown players’ then this is all so fucking wrong regardless of whether it helps Arsenal or not. Why are they continuing to allow clubs to spend beyond their means! It’s an absolute joke and the Premier League, FA and UEFA have proved themselves to be complete fuckwits time and time again. We as fans moan and protest about everything else but let these mornic cunts get away with it! It’s our game so why do they keep fucking with it. Cunts.

  88. Ha – I know the name, LA, but I doubt I’ve seen him play more than one match – not really being much of a Bundesliga follower.

    Is he a summer possibility?

    My relationship with Belgium only started about a year ago. The last time I checked in with the Flems and Walloons, manboy Lukaku had just made his debut. That guy makes Drogba look like Urkel.

    As for Fabianski –

    Reading about his past it seems that the people who know their stuff rate him very highly. And he’s at a good age now. If we give him a run of games then I’m sure the errors will disappear.

    I get the feeling it has to be all or nothing with certain GKs. I think we’ll be rewarded if we give Fabianski the responsibility of the number one jersey and let him prove that he deserves to be at the club.

  89. Up until now it’s just been fits and starts, which must be pretty unsettling. Maybe if he’d been fit back in the autumn he could have staked a claim in Almunia’s absence.

  90. Alex Ice Cream

    I agree that Fabianski needs a run in the team – a proper run – not just a game or two here and there. Almunia at 34 will never, be good enough for Arsenal wheras Fabianski at 25 will improve.

    I really rate Woocash but I don’t know if we can afford to wait for him to play enough games so that he can be No.1 as he will invariably make mistakes while he’s learning.

    Almunia is good enough to play at a lower level but not good enough to be at a top team.

  91. The way I see it, the mistakes he’s made up to this point aren’t anything to do with not knowing enough about his position. They’re more to do with not being able to handle the pressure of the situation.

    I can’t say I know much about player psychology, but I imagine that the the only way to remedy the jitters is by giving him a real run of games and making sure he knows he’s number one.

    If one of the GK coaches sat down with him and showed him DvDs of the errors against Porto and Wigan, I’m sure he’ll have felt pretty patronised by the advice on offer:

    “See, that’s where you should have kicked the ball – remember, you’re not supposed to pick the ball up when the defender passes it to you.”

    It’s stuff he already knows – he just needs the confidence that games bring. And I’d say it’s vital that nothing goes wrong in the next two.

  92. What was that game about on Sunday guys? That was a proper bore draw

  93. Alex Ice Cream

    OOU,

    I totally agree. GK is the most “psychological” position in the team and Woocash is just lacking a bit here. A run of games and some clean sheets would be a good tonic.

  94. Woocash sounds like a rude boy

  95. This ruling makes Ashley Cole a home grown player for Chelsea. Brilliant, I take my hat off to the person who thought of this.

  96. Also I have a suspicion that this rule was in place this season as well.

  97. Keyser

    And so are Sol Campbell, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey.

    Can’t have our cake and eat it.

    YW

  98. Yogi –

    You misunderstood me a little bit, I took Ashely’s example as it was the first that came to mind. even for Sol I would agree that he is no more home grown for us than Ashley for Chelsea. Ramsey and Walcott I would differ as they have spent at least 3 of their formative years with our club and we have contributed to their growth as players to be deemed home grown. Of course they should count as home grown for Cardiff and Southampton too.

    My main gripe is that the fundamentals of the rule seem flawed to me. This just enables a team like Manchester City to do fuck all about their academy and just pick up experienced players from other clubs to fulfill the home grown requirements. I assume this rule was put in place to ensure that teams spend money on their academies so that there is a supply line of players from clubs at every level. But the way it has been implemented, the rich clubs can just “buy” home grown players at a ripe age.

    The only way this helps the players is that all players released by his “home” club’s academy is more employable at a club with lessser ambition. But I doubt whether that was the motivation for this rule.

    And I was wrong, this rule was not there this season.

  99. It basically means Man City will have to buy all premiership players

  100. wenger on fabianski:

    “He was spot on from the first to the last minute on Saturday. He read all the situations very well and that is what you want from him. I have always said he is one of the most talented goalkeepers and when he gets his concentration right he will be fine.”

    looks like hes staying around then…

  101. Word, he didnt have much to do on Sunday though did he? In fact did he even touch the ball?

    Jeff dont be scared, it’ll be alright.

  102. YW,

    good evening here from Singapore and being greeted with a top top post to coincide with a post-dinner drink is always the perfect way to end the day.

    If Vela can make the step up to be in the first team rotation regularly next season, with the squad limit(s) in consideration I’m putting this out here – I think Eduardo has to move on. I’m not sure how we can accommodate him in the setup if Chamakh arrives.

  103. OOU, no, just read about him on a blog I think. So almost certainly not a target. Looks very good though.

    Ah, ROM-E-LU – heard about him. Mostly from Champ Manager players who should be old enough to know better.

    Totally agree with you on Fabianski. He has a great opportunity to start proving himself in these last two games, with relatively little pressure on. Providing we’ve let Almunia stand easy now. “That’ll do, Manuel. That’ll do”.

  104. arsefoot, I wouldnt worry about that I think Eduardo may of asked to leave already, thats why he’s nowhere to be seen. To be honest he’s been shit this season anyway

  105. Keyser

    There is a counter-argument that if City buy experienced players then that is up to them. If they buy young players then they are helping to sustain the Academy’s at other clubs. The only gripe can surely be if they entice the players away.

    Essentially, it is their choice as to whether or not they buy / coach their young players. Squad composition is their choice.

    YW

  106. Yogi –

    I can understand your counter argument. Still I am not sure what added purpose is served by widening the definition of home grown to include players trained in the country rather than just players trained at the club. To my mind this will just inflate the already inflated price and wages of mediocre English players. A Lescott may now graduate from the Alonso bracket in terms of transfer fees to the Kaka and Ronaldo bracket.

  107. Also if we are to go with the philosophy that squad composition is a club’s choice then why have a home grown rule at all?

  108. It is a bit of a spin job about fabianski this week. He did nothing to change opinion but wengers playing the media outlets to create a more postive enviroment for him. Nothing wrong with that of course but I would say that the man sometimes has a bit too much faith in people.

    On the reverse side wenger hardly ever mentions eduardos name anymore, it has been like that for 6 months or so. Therefore he obviously isn’t in his plans.

    Wenger keeps his cards close to his chest and plays the media well to protect his players confidence. Sometimes us lowly fans have to try and read between the lines a bit to differentiate between what is really happening and what he wants us to believe is happening…

  109. Eduardo has done better in the PL this season then a certain Robbie Keane J*mes.

    How much did he set you lot back again?

    Good Ole ‘Arry.
    He’s a Diamond Geezer.

  110. < Diamond Geyser.

    [ Boom Boom ].

  111. Finsbury, We made 7 million off liverpool for keane for a six month loan, which was what we bought him for originally. One thing about Levy is that he’s as tight as a ducks arse, so we always get the best price for our players.

    We’l pobably get 100 milllion of Man City this summer

  112. YW

    This whole business of buying up players from academies surely just encourages further inflation in the transfer market. Portsmouth are a very real example of what can go wrong when money talks and yet the idea that england aren’t giving youth a chance is really a bit of a myth.

    Our country has 21 levels of league (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_football_league_system), kids are hardly starved of opportunities to play football.

    So are these rules just to get more english kids in the premiership? that sounds kind of selfish considering players from hundreds of countries round the world want to play in the premier league.

  113. There are more than 140 football leagues, containing more than 480 divisions in england alone.

  114. Apparently, there are multitudes of people who think there are multitudes of English youngsters who can play in the EPL, better than youngsters from elsewhere, but who are being held back by nothing other than the xenophilia of Premier League managers.

  115. Half a second, if you bought him for 7, sold him for 19, and bought him back for 16 – how did you make 7 on it?

    Also, are you still paying his wages, and is he still stashing them all behind the flip-down ironing board in Grammy Keane’s caravan?

  116. “we always get the best price for our players”

    Like the seven million given to AFC for Bentley?

    Compared to the way AFC deal, I don’t think so.

  117. Daniel Levy is so tight that Sp*rs spent £119.3m in the year ending June 2009, just going to show that spending money does not equal success, it just makes you look stupid. No wonder the fans have to pay top dollar for Carling Cup games, the mugs.

  118. Harry Houdini’s classic vaudeville act does seem to be a favourite amongst those poor mashed up Sp*ds.

  119. I was listening to that on my iPod while painting this afternoon Limpar. Great stuff.

  120. William, you need a lesson in math.

    Daniel Levy’s tight only when he’s not buying quality players like Arshavin.

  121. Excellent post Yogi.

    No one is suggesting we need wholesale changes and I have heard no one suggest we abandon all of our academy and our talented youth. Intelligent investment in the squad does not mean we are “blowing up what we have done”. All credit to the boss for resisting the temptation to spend money we did not have. However, the squad has some clear needs now. What else are we going to do with the money?

    Fabianski might be great or he might drop 10 more crosses on Titus Bramble’s head next year. Can we risk another GK nightmare next year because we decide to save the money and hope he works out. Is that fair to RVP, Cesc and the other senior members of the squad?

    The only reliable CB who next year is TV. JD may be OK but he has never proven himself. Will his knee hold up through a full season? Nordviet, Bartley etc are all under 20 and they hardly get any games at their lower league loan teams. If WG goes we need 2 CB. We need to rebuild our defense.

    Eduardo is a class guy however, if the boss thought he could help the team he would have been on the pitch. Rosicky is another class guy but he has gotten a good run of games and has not really made an impact. Nasri, Walcott, Diaby have all shown flashes of greatness but none has been consistant. Ole pointed out last week that we could really use 1 more “impact” player. This will be more expensive and lower priority then our defense but another player who could score 12 – 14 from the wing would really help.

    Supposedly we built the stadium and went so we would have money to spend on the squad. The boss and Gazidis said this would be a crucial year. Injuries and our defensive issues derailed us this year. Each year we do not win anything becomes even more important. Intelligent strengthening of our squad does not invalidate all that we have done and it does not admit defeat to our optimism and our youth project.

  122. Let’s not forget that all of this homegrown shenanigans is as a direct result of Platini & Blatter’s intervention. Their definition was originally more stringent than that of the EPL, demanding that eight of the squad had to be natives.

    For once, the EU got it right when they told that demonic duo to ‘do one’.

    YW

  123. Havard Nordviet has spent a season in the Bundesliga which is no mean feat for a nearly 20 year old player. Started quite a few games for Nurnberg. Playing defensive midfield too which is arguably a more difficult position than CB.

  124. The new rules are unworkable, YW.

  125. Matty boy, Finsbury,

    Have you ever been kissed by a Rose?

  126. Presumably these rules will apply to all European Footall Associations? Rest of the world too? Since we can have very little faith in our own FA to deal with matters this complex, how can we have faith that others will even attempt to manage it.

    Sanctions? Invalidation of all your results so far if you are found to have transgressed? Heavy fines? That will be interesting for clubs already on the brink of administration. A player can be ineligible to play for one club but eligible to play for another in the same country?

    What a can of worms they have opened.

  127. …and Kyle Bartley’s managed 13 appearances in the space of two months for Sheffield United. He played the full 90 and helped keep a clean sheet at the weekend.

    Not bad going.

  128. I think there are slightly better sources than william for the math.

    Thankfully you can see quite clearly in these tables that spurs really are a top 4 club…

    http://transferleague.co.uk/

  129. Worms?…..worms?……. There only noodles michael.

  130. good point actually – what exactly is the punishment for not following the rules?

    5k fine?
    points deduction?
    Omission from the league?
    liquidation of the club??

  131. The new rules will require new processes, new communication channels, new invigilators, new ‘skills’, new systems or redeveloped old ones…lawyers, managers, inspectors etc etc etc. This is the FA we are talking about!

  132. …and it all has to be ready for an early August season start. Three months time. The tansfer window opens in May. Four weeks time.

  133. Presumably some people in the FA will be involved in WC2010 activities…and lets face half the fuckers will be in SA on jollies.

    So how is all this stuff going to happen?

  134. From a risk perspective there should be red warning lights flashing all over this utterly stupid idea.

  135. I do wonder how much other clubs know about the new regulations… will be interesting to see if mistakes are made.

    Looks like the clubs with the best lawyers are gonna do well next year!

  136. “You must remember this
    A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh
    The fundamental things apply
    As time goes by…
    … it’s still the same old story
    A fight for love and glory…”

    Tottenham net spend since ’92:
    £176,132,500

    Arsenal net spend since ’92:
    £32,366,000

    Er, you wot Guv?

  137. I’d like to know what democratic powers we the payers of the FA have when it comes to matters of gross misconduct. Which independent adjudicator protects us? How do we overthrow these wankers??

    I like the idea of an old fashioned lynching in soho square broadcast live on SKY HD pay per view. How ironic.

    And they said the revolution would not be televised…

  138. finsbury – I think this is slighty more apt for the spurs financials:

  139. Frank and OOU.

    How many 20 years old CB have played regularly for teams with true title ambitions. NONE.

    No one says we should throw Bartley and Nordviet away. We can not realistically expect them to play a significant role in our central defense in the next 2 – 3 years. Other then Cesc none of our youth has come into the side at age 19/20 and made a critical impact. Denilson last year is the closest anyone else has come. It takes years for these players to mature and make the type of impact we need if we want to win a title.

    If Bartley or Nordviet or any young players are good enough, they will go on loan, hopefully in the EPL and make a great impression and gain experience then come back and be stars on the CC teams. If they are better then the players ahead of them they will become 1st choice players like Song did.

    Strengthening our squad may kill the Arsenal career of Aliadiadare, Lupoli, Bentley, Muamba, Quincy, Randall, Gilbert etc etc but it will not kill Wilshire or anyone who is good enought to really become important players on a title winning team.

  140. Won his first Scudetto aged 18 years I think?

  141. Word

    Yup, you’re right.

    Any excuse for a clip of Ingrid Bergman singing will do!

  142. Frank

    I agree that the rules are unneccesary but unworkable? No, they are emminently workable but whether the EPL or FA is able to enforce them is a whole different issue.

    Should they have been introduced? In part, yes. The part that should not is the squad sizes. It is artificial and takes no account of injuries incurred outside of the January window, weighting the league in favour to some extent to those who have a little luck in that department.

    There is no comparison to the fixtures in the ECL where there are 3 opportunities to change your squad – Qualifiers, Group Phase and Knockout – whilst the number of fixtures at the World Cup is insignificant compared to the league.

    The Observer published a report last year which deliberately mislead everyone, claiming that Liverpool had a first team squad of 62 players – Arsenal were in the 50s somewhere – but that included all players loaned to other clubs and reserves. The actual first teamers or genuine fringe players amounted to low 20s in number, something that was conveniently given a very low profile indeed.

    Uefa were asked to comment on the 62 and were unsurprisingly outraged as it indicated stockpiling of players.

    YW

  143. I disagree about the workable part, YW. An unenforcable rule is unworkable in my opinion. ‘Engineering’ of this sort is rarely useful and can quite easily have unforeseen consequences.

  144. Speaking of Joe Hart, I’m sure we all felt for Given on saturday, but I can’t be the only person taking some pleasure from the sight of the richest club in the world pleading for a special dispensation for an extra goalie, having made such a comprehensive c*ck up of their back up goalkeeping resources……..

  145. Maldlini, Baresi, Cannavaro…all made an impression at a young age. So did Rio Ferdinand. Give Havard and Kyle their space if AW thinks they are good enough. Johann Djourou is ready now. Maybe one addition at centre-back. Depends who stays.

  146. xavier cugat is a new one for me. thumbs up.

    reminds me a bit of mulatu astake for some reason

  147. Frank:

    I do not think either has shown anything which would suggest Maldini, Baresi or Cannavaro. Correct me if you know differently, but I doubt that Maldini went on loan and played spotty minutes at lower level clubs .

    Let Nordveit and Bartley go on loan to an EPL club next year and hopefully they will be good enough to play regularly and we will have a realistic idea where they are.

    Wilshire seems to have the precocious talent you describe. Maybe JET but both of them also need time to mature.

  148. Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts were both 19 when they made their debuts for Bayern abd Borussia Munchengladbach respectively.

    Fair to say that no-one knew how good they were going to be when they started.

  149. Nordveit went out on loan to the Bundesliga and helped Nurnberg stay up this season, Bill. It is hardly lower league stuff.

  150. Frank

    Whatever your misgivings, the rules are entirely enforceable and relatively simple to apply. Therefore any club which makes a cock-up deserves their punishment.

    Whether the rules are right is an entirely different matter.

    YW

  151. I have to say I totally disagree with you, YW, on all of those points. Except the last sentence.

  152. Sometime in the future the SUN headlines wil be surely be

    ‘The EPL squad it all wrong’

    you heard it hear first….

  153. The game needs to be simplified, not made more complicated. Constant scrutiny of squads down to player registration details, which will be required given that squads can be added to at already artificially defined points in the season and at any time due to injury, is a ridiculous burden to place on an organisation which already palpably just doesn’t work satisfactorily. It means that the FA will need to be more closely involved and some would say meddling in the composition of each squad in order to keep up with changes.

    The possiblities for completely accidental errors on the part of the clubs is huge. It is all very well saying fuck em dock the bastards ten points they should have known better, but do we really want the EPL to be decided that way?

  154. If Wenger, or whoever the manager is (in 10 years when Arsene is gone), thinks a young player, say Nordtveit is good enough & ready, I’d be very happy to see them in the side.

  155. I’m with Matty Boy – I think I understand the operation of the new rules, but I don’t understand the point of them.

    Was the mandatory 8 homegrown players rule originally meant to be a stealthy way of encouraging the use of home (as in indigenous) players – which then had to to be changed to “home-grown” in order not to fall foul of EU employment laws?

    Is the cap on the overall number in the squad, as YW suggests, an attempt to introduce a draft system by the back door?

    Has anyone seen my cat?

  156. ‘home-grown’ (not your term I know, FG) is a term normally used for vegetables, it is hardly a suitable term for human beings.

  157. The rules are easy to understand it is just that if you use a quota system then you have to monitor it. The FA do not do anything remotely like this at the moment.

    Currently they just check a players registration and related details…once. Now each player has a one to many link with the squad so every time a new player is introduced you have to check the squad again…and you have to do that every game for every team. If more players are introduced it is that much more complicated.

    WC International teams have a limited squad number…but it is just a straight number and it only applies to a very limited number of teams for a very limited time. Now we are introducing a more complex quota system which applies to every team in every country in every game.

  158. Frank:

    Nordveit played some games at DM and according to the website played the last game at RB. Correct me if I am wrong but according to the website and Young Guns blog he got almost no time at CB. Not very encouraging. Anything is possible but asking him to contribute next year is a huge stretch and that type of pressure and expectation of a title race on someone like him will probably do more harm then good.

    Ole:

    I would be happy to have a 19 yo Cesc or Cannavero or Maldini in the squad and playing regularly but players like that at very rare.

  159. Most of his games have been at defensive midfield. He started in 15 games and came on as a sub in 5 games. Those games included Bayern, Schalke, Werder Bremen etc. If he can hold his own in those games …and he was only brought off in two of his starts then he can hold his own as a centre-half. How much more experience do you need a young player to have before you say you want him in the mix? You may want hi in the EPL on loan so that you can see him, Bill. But Arsenal staff are watching his every game in Germany. I just would not dismiss him as a first team player at this point….

  160. Most great centre-halfs would do well in midfield and it is not unusual with a playing style like Arsenals to have players who can play in a number of positions.

  161. The whole idea is to stop Arsene Wenger from succeeding in turning Arsenal into a French club.

    Somehow he’s succeeded in making Arsenal a mediocre foreign team. The EPL can’t sit down to see him complete his mission of using funds from English workers to develop French players.

    The man is one of the most ethnocentric ever, more than even Hitler.

    Good to be stopped like the way the English stopped the Nazis while the French looked on and capitulated.

  162. Hilarious, Barry. Muppet, you have a rival.

  163. I assumed it was Moopay. Is it not?

  164. …more like Captain Mainwaring perhaps

  165. Or Captain Blimp?

    ***

    @ Bill

    All 19-year-olds are unproven. Some will turn into a new Cesc Fabregas and others into a new David Bentley. It’s not possible to be certain in advance who will become which, so the manager (any manager) just has to trust his gut instinct and give chances to the ones who he believes will be world class.

  166. Bill,

    I prefer for Wenger to make the call, and everyone else to get behind the player and not moan

  167. I have read some crap on this blog in some of the comments but the comment from Barry (if not a joke) is the worst.

  168. Wenger is stubborn. The whole world knew we needed an experienced, tough, premiership winning centre back, and he signed Campbell. They knew we needed an international class winger in the region of 15m – 20m, so he signed Arshavin. Regular gooners knew he should get rid of the trouble maker Ade, and, guess what he did. Wenger was so stubborn in fact, that he insisted on finishing in the top 3, for the 11th time in 13 seasons. Oh…the ignominy.

  169. Ah thats the real Moopay. Excellent.

  170. Frank:

    We have taken this as far as it will go. I really hope Havard N. turns out to be the next Sol Campbell or N. Vidic. Time will tell.

    Fun gunner:

    Agree completely. In the last 5 years the boss has not had the resources he did in the early part of his tenure here. Cesc was that good and ready. He also started with TH14, Bobby P. Pat V. etc etc around him which is a huge advantage. Players like Diaby and Walcott probably were not ready for 1st team pressure when they started with us. If they had a little more time to develop before they hit the real pressure cooker from fans, media, themselves etc. it might help the players in the long run.

    The boss has been a great judge of the talent. I can not think any young player he let go that would be major contributor now. We all trust his judgement on this. Just hope he can make more of those judgements based on the player being ready rather then economics in the coming yrs.

    It suspect this will be a more eventful summer for Arsenal then the past several. Lots to blog about.l

  171. what a ridiculous comment by barry

  172. The guy is on a mission to do a favour for his country and not Arsenal. A tribal chief sort of; buying only French and useless foreign players. Can’t tell what he saw in Almunia, Denilson, Senderos and the rest of the crap French foreign legion.

  173. What kind of person sits down and comes up with that to write on a blog. A lot of bullshit gets written on here, but like dups says that must be the worst. what rubbish

    I wonder how many people going to blackburn, not a great time and not a great day, lets hope reasonable support gets up there to cheer on the arsenal, a win is a must, not for anything but pride

  174. Barry can i recommend a site for you to go to- le-grove, theyll take you into their TRIBE over there okay, bye bye now you little dog

  175. There is a point perhaps that some people have overlooked in this business of squad composition, and it is that although the bigger clubs may be able to pilfer so called home grown players from the talent pool in the premiership, the future UEFA plan on limiting expenditure to turnover may restrict this somewhat. That’s of course if this ruling ever comes into effect.

  176. Lets face it a team that goes 2-0 up and doesnt win on TWO occasions doesnt deserve the title. Now cheering bloody idiots like diouf and birmingham for taking points off the top two are pointless, i would rather chacski win it now,,

  177. Barry, stop it, ooh my aching ribs! You should have your own show! You are priceless! LOL! ROFL!! Etc, etc.

    ***

    @ Bill

    Fun gunner:

    Agree completely.

    Eh? I couldn’t see the connection between what you went on to say and the comment I made, but hey…

  178. Fabianski
    Eboue Song Silvestre Cliche
    Eastmond Diaby Merida
    Walcott Bentdner Nasri

    i hope thats the team.

  179. It’s a shame that EPL Talk doesn’t have a “Most Insane Contributor” category in their annual blog awards.

    Howard would need to get his tux pressed for that one.

  180. FG:
    I agree that he has and always will make the decisions based on his gut and how he feels a 19 yo might ready after watching him in training etc. I suspect that he his gut has had to be a little more aggresive with the younger players since the stadium was built and the reality of the economics at AFC. Seems obliquely related to me.

  181. Barry – none of those players (Almunia, Denilson, Senderos) is French. Nor would anyone be so moronic as to compare Wenger to Hitler. Therefore I conclude that you are on a wind-up.

  182. Can I just chip in and point out that it was Wengers gut that made him bring Henry to Arsenal, I may be wrong in this but I believe he brought him from Monaco where he was the manager. Yes some times his faith in his players is misplaced but you can say that about any manager. But the difference is, and every player has said this at some point, when a manager has the faith in you that Wenger has in his players you play even better and are willing to give everything to prove him right.

  183. Is Barry Ryan Shawcross’s brother? just wondering….

  184. Hmm, could WorldCupTV.org POSSIBLY be one such?

  185. @ Bill

    You said you’d be happy to see a future Cannavaro or Maldini in the squad, but not (by implication) a young player who would be less good. My point is that when Cannovaro was 19, no-one knew for sure that it would be he, rather than the apparently equally promising, ooh, Bannovaro, who would turn into a world class defender. But someone had a hunch and took a gamble on Cannovaro.

    So it’s meaningless to say, “I don’t mind having 19-yr-olds as long as they are guaranteed to turn out world class.” No guarantees available, I’m afraid. It’s always a gamble, even for Wenger.

    ***

    @ crafty bison at 8:53pm
    ha ha ha!

  186. I like the sound of the Cannovaro / Bannovaro partnership!

  187. OOU & Word,

    Thanks for the earlier tracks, been listening to them over at work.

  188. Bannaravo’s been valued at 20M!

    He’d have to come in a special swap deal along with Balotelli.

  189. “No guarantees available, I’m afraid. It’s always a gamble, even for Wenger.”

    This is the fundamental truth that some people just will not get.

  190. Sieg Heil!

  191. It is always a risk. To little credit given for the good decisions and too much grief for the bad ones.

    I think Bannavavo/Cannavaro would not be “overpriced” at 25M. Unfortunately they still want Nordtviet and RVP in the deal. I say we tell them to go bugger themselves.

  192. We should sign Cannelloni to partner Vermicelli at centre back. Since we have Lasagne at right back, we just need a replacement for Clichy. I wonder if Mafaldine could be persuaded to come out of retirement. While we’re at it, how about signing Luca Rigatoni.

  193. Poliziano you are forgetting Ravioli, great DM and I believe he is on a free.

  194. so an easy 3rd place in the premier league is mediocre and wenger is hitler esque ethnocentric because he accepts every other nationality except (supposedly) the white englishman…

    sorry guys will need to go back to the drawing board. back later…

  195. Queen of Suburbia

    I for one won’t rest until we sign that great Brazilian Gnocci.

  196. Damn. I should have said Colonel Blimp earlier. Cah!

    V exciting rumour! Farfalle and Fusilli, the Argentinian twins, will be filling our CB positions next season. And Arrabiata and Margherita will be joining our ladies squad. Margherita has become disgruntled at her present club because she has had to form an unhappy midfield partnership with pineapple chunks.

    You heard it here first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  197. According to Lee Dixon, who upon being introduced to Arsene Wenger instantaneously lost 3lbs of weight from his hips and arse, our manager is strictly anti-pasti.

    The best we can hope for then is that undercooked new striker from Parma… Prushooto I think his name is. Struck up a prolific partnership in Serie A this year with the arguably more rounded Canta Loop, who was himself tipped by several top coaches as a future winner of the Melon D’Or.

    Also rumoured to be a target for the picky frenchman is Brede Sticks; the lanky, overpriced centrehalf from H.A.R Rods Food Hall. Although he is notoriously injury-prone and may shun the Emirates for fear of being broken in half.

  198. The robust goalkeeper Ragu needs a second lick. And let’s not forget speedy little Sicilian maestro Pesto. I’m a great fan of the young Frenchman Aioli though. I think he could become a staple.

  199. I do believe we have started something that will just go on and on and on and on….and by we I mean Poliziano 🙂 Hey now we have something to do when The Arsenal are not playing and we can only watch The WC!!

  200. Media reports are linking us with Lasagne Diarra

  201. I just can’t stop myself but is there any truth to Sagnarelli leaving in the summer?

  202. Do you think Barca would sell us Mezzi Bombardoni?

  203. Nice one YW!! I hear we are also trying to sign Luca “riga”-Toni

  204. Hey Yogi if you are up this early you must be about ready to post anew

  205. Yogi is there any truth in Arsene trying to sign Remy? after all he can play both on the wing and up front as an out-and-out striker, just what we need really and he’s French!!

  206. Am I the only one who likes the sound of Funghi, as a potential back-up? And what about Pomidoro as a squad player, probably the most versatile in the world? You guys are crazy.

  207. Sounds good ZimPaul…what about some Tuffoli for the midfield, add some strength where it is needed!!

  208. This just in….the Spuds have just bought Fagottini… I’ll get my coat!!

  209. I did suggest Luca Rigatoni earlier, but now I’m beginning to suspect he’s pasta it.

  210. All this transfer speculation is getting pasta joke.

  211. Yes its really getting on my Hors d’oeuvres.

    ……I’ll get my coat

  212. Don’t be such a bolognesayer, Pz.

  213. Limpar,

    I keep saying that football is coddling the managers that instil and rely on thuggishness from their players. No I’m not surprised to see that happen again in a Toney Pulis team.

  214. I guess you have to expect fisticuffs when you’re led by Tony Pugilist.

  215. I suspect you mean antipasta William, but clearly you are a Francophile like Wenger and his mates trying to turn our decent bangers and mash with bubble ‘n squeak (produces chubby-cheeked keepers you see) into some kind of quiche for sissies a la twinkle toes PSG types. Get get real man! Eat Yorkshire pudding and black sausage. Try jugged hare hung and rotted and boil your damn vegetables if you want to win anything. This is ENGLAND. Tikka masala anyone?

    Look ACLF, bunch of French-Afro groupies, you don’t have to to make a meal of it!

    Remember the Alamo! Rorke’s Drift! The charge of the light brigade! Waterloo!

  216. damn gonna need an early lunch today…

  217. I think Arsenal needs to appoint Arsene Wenger as manager and build a team for the future from some of the brightest young stars in world football.

  218. On a side note, my sister has just given birth to twins this very hour.

  219. I do wonder what the EAT in Hull.

  220. Twins! Double the joy …

  221. With all this talk of new signings, we forget about the players we already have. How, for example, is Francis Coq au vin getting on at the moment?

  222. Having being overlooked by Neil Banfield for the final Reserve team squad of the season, he has been left to stew in his own juices.

  223. talking about stewing in our own juices… wheres the new post?! work is boring

    congrats limpar

  224. Time spent on the back burner can sometimes work wonders.

  225. out of interest how many hits do you get a day yogi??

  226. LA’s link to Neanderthals was not a surprise to me. At Chelsea Ballack is a fine example of a Neanderthal with a prominent brow ridge.

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