With the end of the transfer window now approaching, let’s look at how Arsenal’s current squad fits in with the Premier League’s homegrown rules.
As Arsenal aren’t in European competition this season, that simplifies the homegrown issue a bit. The Premier League and UEFA have different homegrown regulations, but Arsenal only need to ensure they abide by the league’s rules this season.
For a start, that means they can only have a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players born before 1st January, 2000.
Any players born after that date are no problem, as there are no Premier League limits on young players, homegrown or otherwise. This includes new signing Nuno Tavares, who is just about young enough.
As things stand, following the signing of Martin Odegaard, Arsenal have exactly 17 non-homegrown players, excluding those on loan. Here’s the full list:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Elneny, Sead Kolasinac, Alexandre Lacazette, Bernd Leno, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Gabriel Magalhaes, Pablo Mari, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Runar Alex Runarsson, Cedric Soares, Kieran Tierney, Lucas Torreira, Willian, and Granit Xhaka.
This means that any further non-homegrown signings would leave Arsenal over capacity, and a player would need to be excluded from the squad. But there are quite a few on the above list linked with departures anyway, including Kolasinac, Runarsson, Torreira, and Willian.
Now let’s look at the homegrown players. Technically, you’re allowed as many homegrown players as you want in the over-21 squad of 25, but given Arsenal have 17 non-homegrown players, that leaves eight homegrown spots remaining.
With the arrival of Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United, Arsenal will have nine overage homegrown players, putting them one over capacity. But one of those players is Jonathan Dinzeyi, who is still with the u23s and up for a loan move. Here’s the full list:
Hector Bellerín, Calum Chambers, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Aaron Ramsdale, and Ben White.
So if the transfer window closed today, Arsenal would need to leave out one player, likely Dinzeyi. But the rest of the squad would be fine. Realistically, you’d expect at least a few of the two lists above to leave.
As a reminder, any non-homegrown players that leave would make room for either non-homegrown or homegrown players, so if Arsenal sold Torreira they could include Dinzeyi, for example.
It just doesn’t work the other way around, they have to sell or exclude a current non-homegrown player to include a new one.
To sum up, we’re not currently facing a situation where a player has to be excluded for a year, like last season. Barring an unusual turn of events where Arsenal make further signings and sell no one, we should be fine.
No minimum target to hit
Just for one final clarification, there’s no minimum target for Arsenal to hit with either the non-homegrown or homegrown players. You can have zero homegrown players or zero non-homegrown players if you wanted to.
Obviously, having zero homegrown players makes it difficult to fill a squad, as you’ll only have a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players at any one time. But you could always fill the remainder of the squad with u21 players, if you wanted to.
There’s always a lot of confusion about the rules, with fans often asking things like “can’t we just register Balogun as a homegrown player?” and so on.
The answer is that Arsenal don’t need to. There’s no minimum homegrown requirement. Balogun and the rest of the u21s are perfectly fine to sit on the unlimited u21 list without creating any issues.