In-depth analysis of Arsenal’s probable 25-man squad this season

A realistic analysis of Arsenal’s squad for 2015/16 NM

Arsenal have been linked to a number of new signings this summer from Benzema to Vidal (with Johnny Evans along the way), but is there really space in the squad for a score of new arrivals? Playing Football Manager and being a football manager are two completely different things; regular summer squad redesigns are an incredibly fun part of the game, but the upheaval they cause rarely bodes well in the real world- just ask Liverpool and Tottenham. Arsenal fans, and the media, have been crying out for new signings but let us not forget that despite a raft of injuries we have a team that came very close to challenging Chelsea for the league last season and a settled, connected squad can reap more benefits than a disjointed collection of individuals that require time to settle in and gel with each other. With that in mind, if we analyse the current squad it would seem unlikely that Arsenal will make more than one or two new signings, but that information isn’t particularly likely to sell many newspapers, earn new twitter followers or get extra website hits.

First off, it’s important to understand the squad regulations that apply to the Premier League and Champions’ League. Both permit a maximum of 25 players to be registered, 8 of which must be association trained (have spent 3 or more years from the age of 15 to 21 training at a club from the same association as us), and for our Champions’ League squad at least 4 of these players have to have specifically trained at Arsenal. Players aged 21 or younger on the 1st January 2016 do not have to be registered for the Premiership, but need to have been with the club for 2 or more years to be included on the Champions’ League “B-list”: a list of players that can be registered for the competition without taking up one of the 25 permitted births.

So what does this mean for Arsenal? Well, if we look at the players presently on our books it becomes clear that there isn’t particularly a great deal of space for new acquisitions. Some clues may be found in the recently announced Asia trophy squad, as the players missing here are conspicuous in their absence and it would suggest that they are likely to leave, either on loan or permanently. The first team players omitted (that weren’t involved in the Copa America or are presently injured) are; Carl Jenkinson, Isaac Hayden, Kristian Bielik, Yaya Sanogo, Wellington Silva and Joel Campbell, all of whom none of us would be particularly shocked to see leave in the next few weeks. But who’s left? Below is a list of the remaining players likely to make up the Arsenal squad for the upcoming season, numbered in accordance with the slightly more prohibitive regulations for the Champions’ League;

Goalkeepers; 1. Cech, 2. Szczesny (AFC), 3. Ospina, 4. Martinez (AFC)

Defenders; 5. Debuchy, 6. Koscielny, 7.Mertesacker, 8. Gabriel, 9. Chambers (ENG), 10. Gibbs (AFC), 11. Monreal, Bellerin (U21)

Midfielders; 12. Coquelin (AFC), 13. Cazorla, 14. Arteta, 15. Ramsey (AFC), 16. Wilshere (AFC), 17. Ozil, 18. Flamini, 19. Rosicky, Zelalem (U21), Crowley (U21)

Forwards; 20. Alexis, 21. Oxlade-Chamberlain (AFC), 22. Walcott (AFC), 23. Welbeck (ENG), 24. Giroud, 25. Reine-Adelaide, Gnabry (U21), Akpom (U21), Iwobi (U21), Wilcock (U21)

(AFC)- Home-grown Arsenal Player, (ENG)- Home-grown English Player, (U21)- Eligible for UCL B-list

In terms of meeting the “home grown quotas” there’s nothing to worry about, but all 25 spaces are currently occupied. In midfield Rosicky and Flamini would seem most in danger of losing their places, but Wenger has already discussed Rosicky’s fitness in relation to the upcoming season, and if he was going to release Flamini one might expect that he would already have done so when Diaby’s Arsenal career came to an end, indicating that both are probably in his mind for this season. Reine-Adelaide could be left out for the Champions’ League and still be eligible to play in the Premiership by virtue of him being only 17, but early indications are that he is part of Wenger’s plans. Four Goalkeepers, however, is an unnecessary luxury and Ospina is the most likely to depart, meaning that there will probably be one space freed up.

Looking at the balance of the current squad, and with only one space available, a move for a midfielder is highly unlikely. Cazorla, Coquelin, Wilshere and Ramsey are established first team players, Arteta has just signed a new deal, and Flamini and Rosicky will most likely remain for one final year, allowing the likes of Gnabry, Zelalem, Crowley and Bielik time and room to develop. Given Wenger’s tradition of developing young players he is unlikely to want to stunt their chances or disrupt the stability of the squad by signing someone like Vidal. The most probable addition would therefore appear to be a forward.

Pedro, Higuain, Benzema and Lacazette have all been mooted as possibilities, but my money would be on the latter as he would offer direct competition to Giroud and could also fill one of the wide positions if necessary. Pedro, meanwhile, is being courted by half of Europe, Napoli seemingly want a small fortune for Higuain, and there are as yet no indications that Real will be willing to let go of Benzema, who is one of president Perez’s favourites.

Alternatively, with Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck all able to play through the middle there’s a chance that rather than an out and out striker we may see a new wide player come in, particularly if you consider that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future may well lie in midfield. Lorenzo Insigne could therefore be considered as a possible alternative and outside bet. Importantly, and perhaps tellingly, Insigne appears to be pushing for a move and can play on either wing or centrally, but with two goals in 28 appearances last season compared to Lacazette’s 31 in 38 the Frenchman must surely be considered superior.

During a recent interview, however, Wenger stated his intent to get the current squad fit before looking to add one or two quality additions. At this stage then, and given all that has come before, would anyone really be surprised were no new signings to materialise? And more to the point, do we actually need any?


Tags Flamini lacazette Rosicky


  1. The Napoli president seems like a deluded man who’s hard to deal with,they managed to dupe PSG into over paying for Cavani and I don’t think Wenger is after any Napoli players whether it be Higuain,Callejon or Isigne

    1. #wenger-out!!!
      we have to snap up klopp now before he becomes next man-c manager
      we need to do everything possible to get the guy
      acc to trophyhungry gooner, he is the much awaited transfer of the season

      1. Most likely they are not in Wenger’s plan for next season – they will be loaned out I guess

      2. Apparently, silva is going on loan to an english club. He signed a new deal, both championship and premier league clubs were interested.

  2. I do love a new signing but unlike recent years we don’t desperately need one. I honestly think alternating between giroud and walcott for different opposition is sufficient and combined will be that 30 goal a year striker we’re all craving.

    Also, it frustrates me how oxlsde chamberlain is never included in people line ups, i genuinely think he’s one of our best players and he’ll cement his position in the team if there are no new RW additions that hinder his progress.

    1. How do you call yourself chimchimgiroud??? not surprised that you think that we don’t need another striker because our messi will bag them in for fun…there is something called form mate and when ones hits it, its not advisable to bench or alternate him so one will obviously warm the bench for a long time
      but your chamberlain point is point on….will become a beast soon

      1. Aha i made it ages ago, i should probably change it.
        It’s from this absolute tune…
        Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim giroud, who needs van persie when we have giroud!

    2. By considering wenger’s statement about not going for sterling because he’s a wide man, and we have ox sanc theo danny, one can conclude we will not be going for wingers, but striker. As he mention theo as a winger too.

    3. I can see the pattern of the summer 2 years ago.
      We missed out Gustavo (Bayern asked 17M), Cabaye (we offered 10M, Newcastle asked 20M) and we signed Flamini on the free. Wenger did want a good DM/CM that year but he does not want to take a big dent on his transfer budget so he can capture a top top player – Ozil.
      Bastian Schweinsteiger 275k/week wage, and Scheiderlein/Kondogbia 24-29M asking price is considered a luxury for Wenger who as usual trust his own player (Coquelin). I may not agree with him all the time – but I agree with him this one and at least more than half of the Gooners that Coquelin is a top class DM and we need someone to cover/compete with him rather than bench him.
      We are or will go all in for a big name player which will cost big in both transfer fee and wage. The remaining budget can go to a young, promising DM (the type of Calum Chambers deal)

    4. Totally agree, giroud gets a hard time but he missed 3 months last year, and finished 7th top scorer, of those above him, only sanchez and costa are not their clubs pen taker. I believe him having theo to rotate with will be ideal (although i think theo is the best option) i believe both can get at least 30 between them, if theo stays fit.

      1. Szziurp. i need all of it for myself.
        take one sip and u will think lewa, reus, suarez and mascherano will all join arsenal this summer. great feeling!

  3. Stay away from weed mate, not good for your health..and if you must do weed remove the seeds first.. Don’t get me wrong I also crave for this guy in an Arsenal shirt but he just signed a long contract a while ago.. If he was set on leaving he would not have opinion..

  4. If man u sign Cavani or Lewandowski and chelsea get Pe dro Wenger will say they have signed top top top top top quality players!

  5. Not really a squad that can strike fear. Ideally….Walcott and Oxlade must step up and be fit also for nearly the entire campaign, a ST/CF to replace Giroud in the first team, sign a quality DM or and loan Gnabry.
    I think Wenger knee-jerked last year into buying Welbeck…maybe could have forgot about signing a forward until this year and saved 16M. But I beleve I will eat my words with Welbeck if I said we shouldn’t take a chance on him or sell him on. He has more potential than Giroud to improve and heck Giroud has had 3 seasons to prove himself and he still hasn’t even matched Adebayor’s best for Arsenal.
    Still I don’t see any striker coming in because a few of the ones we have have to be moved.
    If I was the manager I would try to do a swap deal; cash + Giroud for one of the top strikers like Cavani or Lewandowski (but I doubt any of the top 10 clubs want Giroud because he wouldn’t make their first teams). Alternatively, we can get a goalscoring winger like Reus and deploy Walcott or Welbeck up front….anyhow something needs to change. Our forward line needs a remake next season if we are to have a substantiated chance of challenging for the EPL.
    I don’t see any top deals being done if I’ll be honest. Wenger will probably go and buy a position we don’t need like a left back. I have been hearing Ghoulam. Get ready to be frustrated again this window.
    I mean Arteta’s contract was extended, Flamini is still here…so no DM is coming in.
    The only consolation is that Wenger probably has only 2 more years. So maybe I can manage another two more years of not winning the EPL or CL. I will apathetically watch as we capitulate again in the major competitions this coming season. Hopefully, I am proven wrong and this window turns out to be Arsenal’s best transfer window in the last decade.

  6. Renewing contracts have nothing to do with blocking transfers nowadays. Sometimes its used to raise the price of a player.

  7. After reading the analysis above i dont see any difficulty in adding quality into our team, they are tons of deadwood and average players up in there. For me its simple, get rid of Flamini and bring in Krychowiak or Wanyama. Move Welbeck to the left wing to play as a sub for Sanchez and bring in Benzema, Cavani or Lacazette, its as simple as that and we are set to make a sustained challenge for the EPL. I can still make hectares of space in that team by trimming down on old players and sending many on loan to gain experience but i chose the above two positions because they are positions we need to desperately strengthen.

  8. This is the same “episode” and the same record playing every season, or at least at the beginning before it gets messy and usually pathetic and predictable…
    Chamberlain, Wilshere, Gibbs are just squad players…

    They are not game changers and never will be. Those players will never reach any other level that the one they are playing now… None of them will be world class or even great players. As a matter of fact, the only player who has seriously improve is Walcott. He is actually the only one we were missing the most. OX and Wilshere absences were not felt at all.

    As a matter of fact, Wilshere injury was a “blessing” as that deluded manager of ours put in his mind that he was to become our new “chef d’orchestre” when he clearly does not have the quality and the skills (15 games as a number 10 and we won only 5… This is where we lost the league if we were supposed to win it. Wenger “genius” at his best…!).

    Yesterday, Wenger said he was quite impressed by Man United recruitment so far. I don’t know if he was sarcastic or really praising them. I won’t be surprised if he was because he has no pride… If he had we would have won the league again long time ago. He does not mind (and some of the deluded fans) being wiped and surpassed by younger and hungrier managers (who basically showed us that he was way passed his best, if any).

    Man City got Sterling and they are about to bring Kevin De Bruyne.
    Fans were hestatic after we sign Cech (why, he was Chelsea number 2!!!), but I hope it is not the end. I just hope Wenger does not come up with another “Welbeck” type of signing (joke!!). The worse player at Man United and we paid £16millions for a “want to be ” striker… 4 goals in 3 months, what a f*cking return, great job Wenger!!!
    Luckily The highly criticise Giroud came back and made his prints because Wenger clearly signed another liability…

    We won the EPL and went to the CL finale by having a 25-30 goals “machine”, a destructive midfield (not the “ladies” we have right now) and a powerful defensive structure (apart from Koscielny, no one is world class at the back).

    If Wenger thinks the way to success has changed, he is clearly delusional… I don’t think he is, I truly believe the EPL or the CL are not our main objectives (well they are for the fans, I hope).

    We need to qualify for the CL and make sure we don’t get away from the top four. Anything else is a bonus (FA Cup for example).

    If we were to go for the EPL and the CL (like Barca), we do not have the elements (squad, attitude, even financial power as a matter of fact) and clearly not the manager. We need someone of top quality who will worried about the team and nothing else. Wenger is a suit and part of the club furniture. He is, I guess, doing his best with what he got (skills and football knowledge), but it is clearly not enough.

  9. OT:
    From Wenger via Sky Sports
    “I don’t close the door,” he said. “IF we can find any player who can strengthen the squad then we will. We have strengthened the squad already and I believe part of the success of the team is down to the level of cohesion.”

    Wenger has gotten away with many statements by using the word ‘IF’.

  10. According to we have 33 players plus silva who i dont know why is not on the list

    out of these 34, 7 are u21 ie. born on or after jan 1, 1994. So 27 players

    in these 27 players 10 are home grown. To make it 25 i think some of these players are going

    sanogo, jenkinson, ospina/szczesny, campbell, flamini, rosicsky

    in the above list only jenko and shez are hg. So if everyone from the above list goes(ospina stays and shez goes) we will have 21 players with 8 hg players, too much space to add on to

    1. finally someone talks sense.

      as it looks:
      jenks to west-ham
      sanogo to ajax
      – down to 25.

      i think silva will go on loan at least
      campbell will move on.
      gnabry might go on loan too.

      – down to 22 or 25, depending if they do leave.

      rosicky might move on, maybe even flamini.
      so, we can relax i think, space can be made, if AW finds someone

  11. Nick, Arsenal doesn’t need to sign Higuain from Napoli but they might need to sign Faouzi Ghoulam from there to neutralize the opponents’ aerial threats for which Monreal and Gibbs are short. Any kind of disadvantage in the team’s back line must be removed before the season opens. Walcott, Welbeck alongside Giroud are poised than ever to alternately charged centrally. And combinely procure 60 goals through the center next season. Therefore, let the Boss jettison the ideal of signing a lone striker, 20 goal Benzima at the cost of losing 60 goals through my proposed alternate 3 strikers in the above. Despite his versatility, Oxlade best position should be to play through the wide to the right side behind the striker. He should be the understudy to Sanchez next season. Has Gnabry come top quality? Not yet I suppose. A specialist at Arsenal right wing position is unavoidably needed next season. How do I know all these? I know them because my spirit told me so. The Boss should not overlook my words.

  12. Been an ardent reader of JustArsenal for over 1 and half years now tho! Just registered. I’m don’t like the cavani link to us. I don’t think he will make it in the premier league. Wenger will be more interested in the Lacazette kinda player, who can play anywhere in the attack instead of an all out attacker like cavani/giroud mold.

  13. Little Experiment:

    Who has the best defence in the Epl?
    Besst middlefield in the Epl?
    Best attacking force?
    Who has the most effective tacits in the leuage.
    Who is the best manager in the Epl?

    How does Epl best team compare to the best out of the best outside the leauge?

  14. GK
    Cech, Szcz, Martinez
    Debuchy, Per, Kos, Chambers, Monreal, Gibbs, Gab, Bellerin
    Coquelin, Carzola, Ramsey, Wilshire, Arteta, Rosicky, Ozil, Sanchez, Ox,
    Welbeck, Giroud, Theo

    Most likely sold/loaned: Flamini, Ospina, Wellington Silva, Joel Campbell
    That leaves up to 4 places available (Hector and Chambers are U21…so the 23 spots less 2 = 21).

    I don’t think we have any problem in terms of player registrations.

  15. Would love:
    1. Lacazette, Cavani, Benzema or Lewandowski (lol)
    2. Vidal, Carvalho, Bender, Krychowiak or Gustavo
    3. Ghoulam, Baba Rahman, Amavi or Alaba

    If Wenger wants winger: Greizmann, Reus, Pedro or Draxler

    Without top striker and another top DM we will definitely at least finish 4th as Liverpool, Spuds, Southampton, Everton won’t be good enough. 3rd place will be TOUGH, as United are getting awesome players and City improvement. 1st IMPOSSIBLE

    If we get two players (top striker and DM) we can fight for 1st and CL

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