Why are Arsenal loaning out players but can’t field a team against Spurs? Is it to save money?

I have made no secret that I believe Arsenal prioritise making money over what’s best for the first team.

Every January since 2019 the club refuse to spend any money no matter our League position with the order being to slash the wage bill.

It’s an accusation that Paul Merson has made this past weekend after the Gunners loaned out two players the same week, they claimed they were unable to field a team for the NLD.

Merson said on SkySports: ‘It should be played. That’s just the way it is.

‘Don’t get rid of the two players that go on loan who could play for Arsenal and have played for Arsenal. It’s not like they haven’t played a game.

‘In this day and age when we know there’s Covid about and a lot of football matches, why are you putting people on loan to nick yourself 10, 20, 30 grand?

‘Look after the club, don’t try and make money.’

Any club who signs African players knows when the AFCON is, a tournament every two years, plenty of time to prepare your squad.

The world is aware there is a Pandemic going on, and as recently as December that COVID was causing fixtures to be postponed.

Representatives even met up before Xmas to vote, instead of the sport being put on hold, that they rather fulfil contracts made to sponsors and networks and carry on playing.

The rules were stressed to them, games would only be called off if there was certain number of COVID cases. The threshold being if you had 14 fit players (one being a keeper) then you would be expected to roll up your sleeves and muddle through.

After all having a limited number of players is nothing compared to the sacrifices the rest of the world has had had to make.

Not going to a loved one’s funeral, losing jobs, being isolated on your own ….

What sticks in my mouth is that any other year we wouldn’t have been able to get the Derby cancelled because of injuries and AFCON would have been seen as not an excuse.

The Prem are letting clubs manipulate a rule that was put in place if you had the virus.

And again let’s stress, it was football’s choice to carry on playing.

In other words if there was one year where Arsenal shouldn’t worry about sending talent on loan, it was now. At the very least wait till the last possible moment of the winter window till you send people away.

Let me stress, Arsenal had every right to make an application to the Prem.

It’s up to that governing body to look at the facts and make a judgement.

If you were in full time work, you are still allowed to apply for benefits. If the government decide you qualify for support you’re not going to complain, are you?

Mikel Arteta, deep down knowing others had done the same thing, lost nothing by asking the question to the Prem and thankfully (for him) he got his way.

Where UEFA were strict with Spurs and stuck to the reason why this rule was introduced, the Prem have lacked clarity.

What I would love to hear is did they not ask Arsenal; if they were genuinely doing everything to make Sunday happen, why loan out two players?

Worse, having had the weekend off due to a lack of numbers, they still plan to go ahead with letting Mari leave for Italy.

Maitland Niles has played in a Europa League and FA Cup Final, it’s not like he couldn’t have done a job for the next two weeks.

If Eddie Nketiah can start for us surely so can Balogun?

If Roma and Middlesbrough didn’t want to wait till end of month, you end negotiations, because your first priority should be the team.

Equally having decided to freeze out Aubameyang and not start Pepe, why not have new faces arriving the first second of the new year?

Aston Villa have just purchased Coutinho and Digne, those two would walk into our first 11.

The answer according to Paul Merson is it meant more to the club to save a few quid.

The quicker Niles and Balogun left, the quicker the wage bill were slashed.

Let’s say their salaries combined makes up 60,000 a week, do Arsenal really need to save that at the expense of having to postpone fixtures? Ironically wasting Gooners money in the process.

Do you agree with Paul Merson?

Be Kind in The Comments


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  1. The league set a terrible precedent in allowing games to be postponed. All clubs have more than 25 players and they do have a complete u/19 team. Why, could they not field those players? Sending players out to loan, does not help the club really, as those players perform sometimes better under another voice. When a player, at the age of 22, does not fit, sell

  2. I really do agree with Paul Merson. To be kandit, although P. Merson thinks this has been going on since 2019, it was rampant in the Arsene Wenger era. The club will talk but never bring in new players. Even when they did, it was always players that had no value.

  3. I read earlier that we are not playing Mari because his appearances might trigger a clause to pay to Flamengo..?

    Not that though we’ve missed Mari at all after his displays earlier in the season..

    Read also that Chelsea bid only £33 million for Frenkie de Jong..?! That can’t be true? What I mean is, are Barcelona really valueing him that low or where does that figure come from? That’s an insulting fee unless it really is close to what they want for him..

  4. FIFA rules states that a game should be played if a team has 7 players or more. I agree with Harold this its a terrible president that has been set by the league. Teams have used this as and excuse to avoid playing games with weaker squads and not a single team is free of guilt. Burnley have cancelled 5 games, but why has it only become a problem since Arsenal did it.

    Arsenal were the only squad that has played with a forced weakened squad due to COVID-19, injuries, illness and protecting players after summer tournaments by giving them extended leave (which had to be cut short). The league have set the rules and they have to continue till the end of the season now.

    If we have to play Liverpool with our team being made up of players who have to play out of position and loaded with U-23’s. How is that fair when Liverpool postponed this very fixture because of 5 false positives which medically is impossible to have 5 false positives. We’ve already been set back 9pts at the start of the season when the more deadly Delta variant was about. Why should we have to lose out again because messures Caralrager, Neville, Souness and Co don’t like Arsenal using the same rules that every other club has.

    1. Arsenal, so far, only club to get game postponed with 1 Co vid case. The problem is the loaning out of players with 1st team exp. whilst claiming they cannot field a team. Kinda makes the club look like chancers especially whilst the heirachy bemoaned other clubs trying the same thing.

  5. Sending AMN on Loan does not make any sense at all, while we are in the middle of a mid field crises..Arsenal can finish two transfer in two days as far as they are out going, but bringing in players is always a tug of War. The deals for Vlahovic, Wignaldum and even Arthur Melo is making no head way at all. They are all deceiving the Fans I think. Playing Liverpool the next two days with no senior mid fielder is a forgone conclusion…

  6. It all goes back to the fact that player recruitment 2015/2020 and the granting of long term contracts and huge salaries has left us with a large pool of deadwood which is painstakingly difficult to unload. AMN Nelson Nketiah Chambers Holding Elneny Mari are actually cheap squaddies and in the case of the first four part of the HG quota system. But they are not regula starter material. We still have Bellerin Mavro Torreira all on loan because Areta does not rate them but we can’t sell them. Guendouzie is a midfielder we could with right now but Arteta does not like his attitude and Saliba is regarded as being immature. Willock was considered not good enough and sold to bring in funds. Yet we retain Cedric and Kolasinac who is paid more than AMN Nelson and Mari combined. Kolasinac could have been loaned instead of AMN and save tripple the money. Xhaka could have been sold but at Artetas behest was retained. If we wanna save money we would loan Auba and Laca and sell Pepe but know one will pay a third of Pepe’s fee we paid. Untill the dead wood is replaced we will always struggle around Xmas + New year but throw in Covid and the AFCONS and the 14 starters which got us to 4th is reduced to 7-9 at best. And no going to the market is not the answer but they will. COYG

  7. I agree that the rules were wrong. They daren’t change them now before season’s end or the risk disadvantaging some teams over others. What I will say is that they erred on the side of caution because of cocerns for player welfare – for a league accused of putting money and tv revenue before everything this at least is laudable. The EPL is run by the clubs, so the rules were agreed by them not by tv. To blame Arsenal specifically for obeying the rules set by them is hypocrytical in the extreme. If anything it’s the appallingly low and potentially dangerous FIFA limits that smack of greed, not the EPL rules.
    Read the reasons given for the NLD postponement – it highlights the risks to players returning too early AFTER covid, not just during it, of possible serious injury through inability to train, of risks to young players physically not able to compete safely in games. These are surely laudible considerations, rather than to play just to satisfy our’s and tv’s demands?
    Two points about playing kids – this would hugely disadvantage clubs with big youth teams over teams with small or no youth squads. There is a reason why they are youth players – the usually are not physically developed enough. And in case it’s gone unnoticed, we already have the youngest first team in the EPL.
    Clubs have to cover evry base – fans would be the first to complain if we still had all the deadwood in a years time due to holding on “in case” we had an injury crisis. If the rules permit loans or transfers out during Covid then so be it. I don’t imagine we are the only club doing this, but we are the only one vilified, because we are Arsenal.
    Change the rules then. Merson has always been a buffoon and Dan Smith loves nothing more than criticising his own club and twisting the circumstances to do so. He is the first to cry “financial incompetance” if the books don’t balance, but now condemns us for thinking about the future cost of keeping players past the winter window that we really won’t need.
    I for one can survive postponed games – it’s about player health and lowering the chances of semi-permanent injury to players who are also people we have a responsibilty towards. It’s a long term gain and makes total sense to me.

    1. I agree with many of your points. However, I wonder about your view that the rules are wrong. In this I have a feeling that you have bowed to popular opinion. In your discourse you have given cogent reasons for the league’s approach and your concluding comments about players health and welfare are quite apt.
      Pundits and fans want many things all at once which is often unrealistic especially in the current circumstances facing us all.

  8. Sometimes I find difficult to believe Merson was a professional footballer.there are reasons for sending players out on loans.some need playing time others have outgrown their categories and needing men football.as for players like AMN,MA recently explained that he had several chats with him in which AMN pleaded his case pretty well and agreed with him.only this week Benitez,Ranieri..spoke about players who didn’t want to be at their clubs and agreed that it is best to let them go even if it means being short.Dan Smith keeps going on about bad management from MA part I disagree,a good example of bad management is Tuchel,the man had 2 very strong XI,had he rotated and given minutes to other players when they were easily winning ,he wouldn’t be in this mess and the level of his team wouldn’t have dropped(unlike for us).also like us they sent several players out on loans but didn’t include clauses now they can’t recall those players,now that’s what I call bad management and we’re talking about a team with 25 internationals unlike us,we all knew that once we’re past 11/13 players we’d get into troubles.i know that for some the solution would be to bring new players,but if we can’t get the players we want,I would rather not bringing anyone,that would just be a waste of money,anyway we might get some players back early from Afcon.

  9. some good points Dan, as there’s nothing anyone can logically say that would justify the loaning out of players, on the one hand, while simultaneously asking for a postponement due to a lack of available players…I think it was likewise important that you made note of the fact that the League acquiesced, which they certainly didn’t have to do…it would be very interesting to know exactly what was said between these two parties during this process

  10. I applaud DANS article and find nothing much to disagree about(save of course the incorrectly used semi colon, but let that pedantic nitpick pass ).
    I do not blame our club either for gaming the system . The rotten to its core system itself and the Prem league are the REAL problem, as Dan says!

  11. The club has shifted over £300k a week off its wage bill in the last week, by shipping out 4 squad players who have started around 10 matches this season. There is a maximum of just 20 matches left to play across 4 months, this is great business. They have opened up 4 spaces for non-homegrown players and 3 for homegrown players. They have also recalled 7 of the 10 academy players just in case they are needed to fill the few minutes that those 4 outgoing players may have played during those last 19/20 matches. If everyone is fit this will be our team for the rest of the season
    Tomiyasu white Gabriel Tierney
    Xhaka Partey
    Saka odegaard Martinelli

    Cedric chambers holding Tavares
    Elneny sambi
    Pepe ESR Aubameyang

    3rd keeper: Okonkwo

    When required we can call up
    Swanson Monlouis Ogungbo
    Alebiosou Azeez Patino Lopez
    Hutchinson Miller Biereith

    Eddine, Akinola, Kido-Hart

    But expect some new signings over the next few days and may be one or two more deartures.

  12. The problem is you cannot justify a player shortage as a reason for postponement if you are loaning players out whilst bringing no one in. Only the most biased fan would think what the club has done is right. Imagine the outcry here if Spurs or anyone else did the same? At Arsenals expense? As per case a couple of weeks ago when Liverpool got a pass on the first leg when, arguably having more Co vid cases.

  13. We all know Paul Merson is a Chelsea fan. Would he have the same opinion concerning them if they did the same? Probably!

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