As the season is drawing to close and another trophyless one for the good guys again thoughts are beginning to turn to who we should buy and how much we will spend in the summer.
Some fans are beginning the clamour for new experienced signings already, sure that it is the only way we can ensure success going forward. They are also demanding the release of a number of surplus to requirement players.
“We must reduce our wage bill, to free up cash for the big names”
I caught an interview with Karen Brady recently (she was promoting some poorly titled book) and she was quizzed about the situation at West Ham. She told of how this season the owners have been required to put a large chunk of their own money in to sustain the club, blaming in the main players wages. She was asked why they paid the money they did, her response was quite simple.
“if we want to sign a youngster from United on a £30k a week contract with three years left to run, we have to pay him the same otherwise he will stay where he is”
She also went on to say that it is very difficult being at a Professional Club and dealing with expectations.
She gave an example of two 18 year olds working for West Ham. One was a youngster just signing his first pro contract the other was new in the ticket office.
“on one hand the ticket office girl earns £15k a year and struggles to make ends meet, whilst the footballer earns that in a week and can’t understand why anyone would get out of bed for less”.
How crazy is that? West Ham a championship or lower table Premier League Club pay their young pros £15k a week. Yet some Arsenal fans think what we pay our youngsters is too much.
Anyway that’s a side issue I just found it interesting. So let’s look at our squad going into next season and ask two important questions:
- 1) Do we need additional players?
- 2) Can we accommodate them?
The first question is ultimately only answerable by Arsene, but for me looking at our current squad I’d say there is perhaps potential for improvement in one area, that of support striker. This assumes Robin stays. If Robin decides he wants to ply his trade elsewhere the desire to improve will become a necessity to replace.
The second question is the most difficult to answer, it requires careful planning by Arsene and is the part of his job that must be the hardest. Some of you will remember in January that I wrote a post saying how Thierry would be our only business as our 25 man PL squad was at its limit of overseas players, eventually Manuel Almunia had to make way for a short term space for Thierry.
Additionally we now have players that were not required to be named in the PL squad but over the next two years they will be.
So let’s take a look at where we are with our current squad going into next season and where we will need to cut to make new signings. The assumption is most new signings will be non homegrown, thankfully our youth policy allows us to fill up the squad with players deemed to be homegrown.
Potential 2012-13 Squad – Players Over 21 on 1 January 2012 (in bold are homegrown):
For this purpose I have assumed Arshavin has returned as he has stated his wish to do so and also Mannone will return into the squad also
Centre Forwards: 3
Robin van Persie
Ju Young Park
In 2012-13 Arsene will have a squad of 21 players requiring to be named, 14 non homegrown, therefore we have space for 4 players, 3 of which can be non homegrown. There is also the potential of Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson and Carlos Vela returning although this seems unlikely. Henri Lansbury and Kyle Bartley will also be returning (Bartley is not required to be named but Lansbury will be).
You will also notice that Jack Wishere, Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, and Carl Jenkinson who have all had first team appearances are excluded, this group of players are currently 20 so do not require inclusion until 2013-14 season.Then we have another batch of youngsters including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Benik Afobe, Ignasi Miquel who are still under 20, but will soon be requiring naming in the squad.
Its not like we have five or six players in the current squad coming to end of their contracts anytime soon.The long and short of it is this isn’t Championship Manager, not only does Arsene have to assemble a squad that can achieve success on the pitch today, but also he needs to think about the players coming through the ranks and how to include them in the future.
It is not as simple as buy this player and sell that one, would you really want to be the person who bought a player that led to Frimpong, Miquel or Coquelin not getting into the squad in the future?
Written by Gooner in Exile