Compiling Arsenal’s 25-man squad this season will not present Arsene Wenger with too many problems, unlike some other managers in the Premier League this season. At first glance it might appear that Arsenal are fundamentally lacking home-grown players, of which eight are required, but Wenger’s policy of buying foreign players at a young age means many of them are considered home-grown, as they been at the club for three years prior to their 21st birthday; this then is not a particular problem. A Premier League club can supplement their 25-man squad with as many players under the age of 21 as they like, but in Arsenal’s current situation there is not enough players over the age of 21 to make up the 25 anyway.
Leaving older players out is not the issue it is at other clubs, including the imminent arrival of Sebastien Squillaci Arsenal currently have only 20 players who are over the age of 21, though Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott will both turn 22 in March next year. This gives Arsenal plenty of room to maneuver in the transfer market should they wish to, whilst other clubs might be constrained Wenger can still sign senior foreign players. Whether he will or not remains to be seen, though a goalkeeper must surely be brought in.
In the position of goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone are over the age of 21 and will be included in the squad. In this list Mannone is home-grown. 20 year old Wojciech Szczesny will also play if required. There is a possibility that another goalkeeper will be added to this, the most likely candidate being Mark Schwarzer. Until that transfer is made the position will remain a weak one for Arsenal this season.
In defence, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Gael Clichy and the versatile Emmanuel Eboue will definitely all be included, along with imminent arrival Sebastien Squillaci. Within this list Clichy and Djourou are considered home-grown players. Like the position of goalkeeper, there is a chance that another centre-back in addition to Squillaci will be brought in, but a keeper will be Wenger’s priority. After Koscielny’s impressive debut against Liverpool, and the experience Squillaci will provide, central defence is now looking much stronger than it did this time last year.
The midfield will look like this; Alex Song, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Cesc Fabregas, Denilson, Andrei Arshavin and Samir Nasri, with Fabregas and Song the home-grown players amongst them. Wenger is highly unlikely to add another midfielder but there is good reason for this, midfield is Arsenal’s strongest area and there is an abundance of talent within it.
In terms of forwards, Robin van Pesie, Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh are over the age of 21 and will be in the squad. Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott are both still 21 and they will also play a big role for Arsenal this season. There is variety and depth in this position and Arsenal are again looking stronger than they did last season in regards to strikers.
Talented youngsters Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey amongst many other under 21’s will also have their part to play this season. Overall the squad is looking strong, and has a good amount of depth, that is if Wenger brings in a new goalkeeper this summer.
Here is how the squad will look:
GK: Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone, (Possible new keeper)
DF: Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Gael Clichy, Johan Djourou, Emmanuel Eboue, Sebastien Squillaci
MF: Abou Diaby, Alex Song, Denilson, Tomas Rosicky, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Andrei Arshavin
FW: Robin van Persie, Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner
Under 21’s: Theo Walcott, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny, Armand Traore and others.