July 14, 2013

Some thoughts on our 25-man squad

When planning our squad and identifying targets in preparation for the forthcoming season, our management team must pay close consideration to the the 25-man squad rule. We are able to name a 25-man squad if eight of the players are “home grown”. We could name fewer than eight home grown players, but would need to also name fewer than 25 players in our squad – e.g. if we only have seven home grown players, we can name a 24-man squad, 6/23, 5/22, etc. A home grown player is defined as follows:

… one who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Welsh Football Association for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21).

We do not need to name players who are under 21 on the squad list; for the 2013/14 campaign under 21 players will have been born on or after 1st January 1992.

As it stands, our 25-man squad would probably consist of (* = home grown player):

Hugo Lloris
Brad Friedel
Heurelho Gomes

Kyle Walker*
Benoît Assou-Ekotto
Danny Rose*
Kyle Naughton* / Adam Smith*

Younes Kaboul
Jan Vertonghen
Michael Dawson*
Steven Caulker*

Sandro
Paulinho
Mousa Dembélé
Scott Parker*
Lewis Holtby
Tom Huddlestone*
Jake Livermore*

Gareth Bale*
Aaron Lennon*
Gylfi Sigurðsson*
Clint Dempsey
Andros Townsend*

Emmanuel Adebayor
Jermain Defoe*

That would mean that the following miss out:

Kyle Naughton* / Adam Smith*
Yago Falque
Ryan Mason*
Bongani Khumalo
Simon Dawkins*
Jonathan Obika*
Grant Hall* (on loan at Swindon)

We are then able to select any players who were born after January 1992 without needing to register them. This means that any of the following (plus the 1st and 2nd year Academy scholars) would be available for selection:

Tom Carroll
Zeki Fryers
Massimo Luongo (on loan at Swindon)
Ryan Fredericks
Cameron Lancaster
Cristian Ceballos
Jonathan Miles
Jordan Archer
Alex Pritchard (on loan at Swindon)
Harry Kane
Kevin Stewart
Lawrence Vigouroux
Giancarlo Gallifuoco
Kenneth McEvoy
Shaquille Coulthirst
Nabil Bentaleb
Grant Ward
Rueben Lameiras
Soulemayne Coulibaly
Tomislav Gomelt
Roman Michael-Percil
Alex McQueen
Darren McQueen
Laste Dombaxe
Dominic Ball
Milos Veljkovic

We have some flexibility with the goalkeeping situation; it is likely that Gomes will move on, and Archer (a “freebie”, so to speak) will be third choice. This frees up a further squad place, which does help somewhat.

Realistically we need to find buyers or loan clubs for those who will not make the cut, so as not to waste their time or wages. In addition, for any further over-21 signings we make, we will need to find a squad space for them. The likes of Huddlestone and Livermore could be moved on to accommodate new signings, but it does illustrate how little room for manoeuvre we have.

On the plus side, we have plenty of homegrown players (as it stands), and we also have the bonus of the likes of Carroll and Archer, who do not need to be named in the squad in order to be used.

Having just spent a club record fee on Paulinho, there is clearly an argument that we ought to sell before we buy – that spending money without recouping it makes poor financial sense. The 25-man squad limit also, I think, points to this being a prudent approach. Being stuck with high-profile players on big wages that do not make the squad (and therefore lose significant value over a 6 month period) would be far from ideal, and should be avoided if possible.

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  • S. Teef says:

    You have Dempsey listed as homegrown…great post though.

  • sheikh352 says:

    I am not sure how you arrive at Gylfi as a “home grown” player. He’s neither from the British Isles, nor has he been at the Club for three years – let alone for three years before his 21st birthday. Are you sure about Coulibaly? He’s only been with the Club for two seasons. I think I need to study the rule a little more.

  • Hairyroadmap says:

    Great work Windy, on your “Miss out” list only Naughton would get some game time. Falque might be used in cups/Europa league but thats about it I reckon. Also at least two or more of Parker,Thudd,Benny,Naughton,Smith,Gomes will be shipped out.

  • Andy C says:

    Great work, as always, Windy. It’s clear that we have to sell. funny how time seems so short to do all the necessary business, with the pre-season having already started. I know you really rate Veljkovic. Any chance of seeing him in an EL qualifier?

  • michael says:

    that makes no sense…if they have to have been in an english fa or welsh fa club for at least 3 seasons which in that sense bae has kabs has so has dempsey so which from what ive read before my understanding is they had to have been here 3 years prior to their birthday or for at least 3 years?

  • Blake says:

    *warning- this is a warning that this post is out there and pushing it.

    in- Christian Eriksson/ Christian Benteke/Nacer Chadli/ second striker

    OutHuddlestone/Naughton/ Dempsey/Ade/ Defoe/ maybe Lennon

    X11 Lloris

    Walker* Kaboul Vertonghen Bae

    Paulinho Ericksson Sandro

    Bale* Benteke Nacidir

    Squad: Friedel Smith* Caulker* Dawson* Rose* Siggy* Demebele
    Holtby Townsend*

    gives us depth power and a legit chance for champs league qualification and a trophy, all in Bale’s last year.

    Maybe a bit far fetched but i think it would be fantastic! It’s not totally unrealistic with the money we’ve saved up over the past recent transfer period, along with unloading of some deadwood and the anticipated sale of Bale. Would show intent and if we get lucky could be a special year. Don’t be too harsh and coys!

    • WindyCOYS says:

      I think Eriksen’s Liverpool bound, sadly. Benteke I can see staying at Villa, as they want too much money. Chadli at this point sounds like a back-up option.

    • Edwin says:

      I don’t see the point in playing Kaboul who’s from a season long injury and leave Daws who had a fantastic second round less injuries.no need to get Eric cos we have Holtby who can do the job neat and perfectly with Carroll in the mix too.

      • WindyCOYS says:

        Kaboul, for me, is our best defender.

      • bonse says:

        I do worry a litle though about how much faith people seem to be putting into the Kaboul/Vertonghen partnership, they played together in the last preseason and everyone who saw it knew why one was always on the bench at the start of the season when both were available. They seem to want to occupy the same space all the time and both seemed better when paired with dawson and gallas. Now this time last year that wasnt a problem as they had a whole season to get it together, unfortunately that didnt happen and we have another season for them to get it together. I can see one or other playing next to dawson for the first half of the season at least.

      • Andy C says:

        I have two concerns about Kaboul. He apparently has a bone-on-bone condition that prompted us to consider bringing in a young CB. Sadly, he may not have a long career and will need to be nursed. No way can he play every game.

        Secondly, for however superb a defender he is, he lacks positional discipline. Pair him with a CB who also likes to run forward and you have potential for some soft goal giveaways, even if we have 2 or 3 CMs with strong defensive capabilities.

        I also see a lot of game time for Michael Dawson

  • Hen Spoddle says:

    Interesting article. Whether or not we have ‘room to manoeuvre’, depends on what level you think we want to achieve next year. For example if we want <4 place, you could argue that Gomes, Rose, Naughton, Assou-Ekotto, Parker, Huddlestone, Livermore, Sigurðsson, Dempsey and possibly Townsend, are all candidates for making space for better players. And in case we sell them too hastily, and find ourselves lean through injuries the likes of Carroll, Ceballos, Veljkovic, Coulthirst and McEvoy would provide probable premier-league-level cover in some areas. Exciting times.

    • WindyCOYS says:

      We’d certainly struggle to shift all of those anyway – question would be whether we could afford for them to be in U21 squad for 6 months (you’re allowed overage players) with their value diminishing… not something I think Levy would be comfortable with.

  • DAVSPURS says:

    Windy you watched football like me quite a few years. So you must see llike i do that space is limited to run with the ball. This was why UTD won the league bringing Carrick back. This pressing game is supplemented by extra energy before and during half time and we will struggle with no passer in the squad i no 100 percent.Why are we letting Huddlestone go to a club who could beat us with is help baffling.

    • sheikh352 says:

      Huddlestone fails to deliver on a consistent level and has suffered so many injuries that selling him, now, seems a good option. He’s not much of a goalscorer, either (though, when he DOES score – as he last did, in 2011 – it is, invariably, spectacular). Towards the end of last season, his short passing held up well – but his longer balls and almost 100% of his free kicks and corners, were hugely disappointing, leading to turnover after turnover. It’s a pity. A couple of weeks ago, we were linked to Miralem Pjanic, a playmaker of high quality – and someone who would be an excellent role model for the continued development of Tom Carroll, the natural home grown successor for that position. Should we secure the services of Benteke and no other striker, our striking options will be: Benteke, Bale and Defoe – which is still not a bad outcome – especially if we secure a playmaker. Unlike many, I don’t see a midfield triumvirate of Sandro, Dembele and Paulinho all on the pitch for 90 minutes per game, more than a handful of times across the season. There are many similarities and not enough points of differentiation between them. They are all big, strong and pacy players, which is a good thing…but occasionally, we need the guile of a play-maker. This means many minutes off the bench for Tom Carroll, or a central position for Pjanic or Badelj or whoever we buy to fill the role and give balance to the team/squad. As for Huddlestone going to “a club that could beat us” – if Sunderland should finish above us, then it is more likely we would be fighting relegation, rather than for a spot in the top four. Not going to happen!

    • WindyCOYS says:

      I definitely think we’ll miss his passing ability if we sell him.

  • Edwin says:

    Great article Windy.i would love to see Holtby nail a starting place just behind the striker.he is one person who gives his all in games though he fades late on.paulinho,sandro and Dembs partnership has no creativity.lets also give coulibaly a chance this time round.

  • AJD23 says:

    When you look at this it makes you realise how much ‘dead wood’ there is in the squad. Surely Gomes, Dempsey, Parker, Huddlestone (unfortunately) and Adebayor (some would say unfortunately!) can go added the release of Jenas and Bentley that is some serios wages saved… I am by no means Benteke’s biggest fan and think he is a gamble but why not just pay the £25m, he won’t command silly wages and with the saving above and a proper pre-season with us really could go a long way to pushing our team on!

    Another thought though. Bale’s role model is Ronaldo – will Bale ‘demand’ to play no.9 this year with Lenno/Townsend and say Chadli in the wide areas…

  • […] fortnight ago I wrote this on our 25-man squad. Since then we’ve had a busy time! Chadli and Soldado in, Caulker and now Dempsey out. This […]

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