So, here’s an interesting scenario: what if the Premier League added a new rule to their rule book, and that rule disallowed any transfers of any kind?
All players had to be homegrown. This would remove the problem of big spending clubs buying all the talent, and it would remove the Torture Window entirely!
Now, obviously this will never happen, but it’s a good question to ask in order to evaluate the quality of your squad’s current youth players. So how would Arsenal fare in this environment? Let’s take a look at Arsenal in four years’ time, with no ins or outs. Based on potential and our current players, I’d guess our starting line-up would look something like this:
Right away some people are probably asking where Mertesacker has gone. In four years Per will be 32. Many centre backs are able to play at least a few years into their 30s, however, Per isn’t the quickest or most mobile of players. I’d guess that in four years he’ll be too slow to be able to play effectively.
Others may ask where Santi is. In four years Santi will also be 32. In past years Arsenal haven’t made a habit of keeping players for very long over the age of 30. Arsenal are even offering Sagna, who is one of the best right backs in the world, only one more year on his contract because he is already 30. So I’m going to assume Santi will not still be around at 32, but it is entirely possible.
One final bit of confusion may be the position that I see Ox playing in in four years’ time. He is in the position Ramsey plays in our line-up currently. Ox played this position, and played it very well, on the final day of last season at Newcastle. Many think Ox will be groomed for the CAM position, but with the talent of Eisfeld, Olsson, and Zelalem coming up in that spot, I believe Wenger will groom Ox for a position slightly farther back in our formation, to allow these three youth players to take their spot in our squad.
I think the rest of the line-up is fairly obvious. Giroud will only be 30, but like Per, isn’t very mobile now and likely won’t become much more mobile at age 30. And following the over 30 rule, Gervinho and Poldi may not be there either. So I accounted for a team without those players, even though it’s possible they still will be part of the first team.
However, these 11 players alone are not a full squad. A full squad almost always has a full backup 11. So here’s what I imagine our backups will look like:
I will quickly address the blanks in the formation. The blanks are positions I feel that we don’t have any youth players for good enough to fill in the future; meaning we need to buy youth players in those positions to back up our current players. The was kind of proven by Aneke playing CB in our latest friendly, but to be fair, we have plenty of torture windows to fill these spots in the next four years.
The only questionable spot in this line-up (in my eyes) is Joel Campbell at striker. However, I’ve heard he’s better in a striker position than on the wing, and seeing that Akpom will still only be 21 at this time, I’m going to guess Campbell would take this spot.
Overall, I’m going to say that Arsenal would have a fairly strong squad if the Torture Windows were removed entirely, maybe a little light in defense but not bad. Of course it’s highly unlikely that Arsenal won’t have any ins or outs over the next four years (*insert joke about Arsenal’s lack of spending here*), but it’s nice to look at how bright the future is even without the likes of Higuain, Suarez, Fellaini, or anyone coming in.
For now I’ll leave you with some questions:
- What would your Starting-11 and Bench look like in 4 years with no transfers?
- Do you think Arsenal will reverse their policy on over 30 year olds not getting extended stays at the club?
- Do you think Zelalem will follow in Jack’s/Cesc’s footsteps? (Meaning making a few senior appearances this year, at age 16. Then taking a regular first team spot at 18 and becoming the center of our team around age 20.)
Thank you all for reading my maiden post. Especially thanks to 17HT, TA, and JB for encouraging me to write a post. And double thanks to TA for suggesting what I should write about (even if I changed it a little). 😀
I look forward to hearing feedback on my first post, so I can improve on my posts in the future. Cheers! 🙂
Written by: Dylan.