Arteta’s Over-21 Challenge for 10 Players: Who Stays and Who Goes (on loan)?

It seems like every time the summer comes around that we all like to go, ‘It’s going to be a big summer’ or in other words a lot of comings and goings in the squad and the term ‘deadwood’ is routinely used to describe players that are, we think, surplus to requirements. I personally don’t like the term deadwood but there ya go...

This summer Mikel Arteta will or might have as many as 17 or more players returning from loans, some will leave as their contracts will expire, some might be sold but there are others that Mikel must make a decision on, the 20th century boys.

See the source image



That is because we can only have 25 players who are over 21 in our squad, so for some of them and for Arteta it’s ‘make your mind up time’…

I took the following from a reputable website and brought it up to date to reflect the 2021/22 season, it goes;

‘An U21 player is defined as one who is under the age of 21 on 1st January in the year in which the season commences. For the 2021/22 campaign players will have to be born on or after 1st January 2000’.

I hope I’ve got that right, but that means that any Arsenal youngster who was born in the last century will have to be included in the senior 25 man squad to be registered to play for us next season and depending on the business we do in the summer that may mean decisions have to be made on who stays, who goes on loan again and who leaves the club for good.

Here are the 20th century boys:

Jordi Osei Tutu….. 1998
Ben Sheaf”……….. 1998
Tolaji Bola………… 1999
Daniel Ballard…… 1999
Deyan Iliev……….. 1995
Joseph Olowu….. 1999
Jonathon Dinzeyi. 1999
Reiss Nelson……. 1999
Eddie Nketiah….. 1999
Joe Willock…….. 1999


‘UEFA defines locally trained or homegrown players as those who, regardless of their nationality, have been trained by their club or by another club in the same national association for at least 3 years between the age 15/21’.

By Allezkev.

9 thoughts on “Arteta’s Over-21 Challenge for 10 Players: Who Stays and Who Goes (on loan)?

  • Cheers Kev

    That is quite a list of players and some difficult decisions to be made for Mikel and co.

    Here is my (limited) view:

    Jordi Osei Tutu….. 1998 – Don’t know him well enough.
    Ben Sheaf”……….. 1998 – Once met his parents in a hotel outside Sheffield. Time to continue his career elsewhere?
    Tolaji Bola………… 1999 – Should get some time in the first team hopefully. If not another loan spell/ let go off?
    Daniel Ballard…… 1999 – So determined, so let’s keep him for another season at least.
    Deyan Iliev……….. 1995 – Let go.
    Joseph Olowu….. 1999 – Don’t know him well enough.
    Jonathon Dinzeyi. 1999 – Don’t know him well enough.
    Reiss Nelson……. 1999 – It is not happening again this season… So talented though. Try again next season.
    Eddie Nketiah….. 1999 – Not sure. May be best to let him go this summer…?
    Joe Willock…….. 1999 – Same as Eddie, but maybe one more season under the wings of Arteta…?

  • Arteta on Reiss and Ainsley today…

    on Reiss Nelson not making the last two squads and if he expects that he’ll leave on loan before the deadline…
    That’s a conversation that we are having with the players that are not having a lot of time. Obviously we want to keep their development going and we will make decision in the next three days with some of them on what the best thing is to do. We try to be clear and transparent with what the plans are and their roles in the team and after that, we decide on the best thing for the players and the club.

    on whether Ainsley is concerned that he needs to be playing more football to keep his England place…
    Yes, it is a concern when there is international football involved as well and the chance to reach that opportunity. I understand that Ainsley wants more minutes and what he needs to do is fight, train and challenge his teammates and show us that he can be one of our starters.

  • Interesting article Kev, I don’t know most of the players you have listed. Of those that I know I would like to see us try to find loan placements for Nelson, Nketiah & Willock as they all have immense talent but lack game time and the maturity they could gain by playing regularly.

    Here are the FA squad rules.

    1. The team must name 25 players before September 1st.
    2. The team must contain at least 8 home grown players.
    3. If the team names less than 8 home grown players then the total squad is reduced by the amount of players lesser than the eight.
    4. The team can only have a maximum of 17 over 21 year old players.
    5. The team can have an unlimited number of under 21 year old players.

  • GN5 I think that number 4 should read a maximum of 17 over 21 ‘foreign’ players…
    Just saying…

    Thanks Total, I think that most of them will go out on loan again.

  • I have a feeling that they will only keep Daniel Ballard and Tolaji Bola and let the rest leave.

    Speaking of which, the future of Balogun is still up in the air. Anyone knows about his latest news?

  • Nobody can top Kev for this type of post. I always learn so much. I really haven’t seen most of these kids play, so I’ll just say that I hope they’re managed well enough in the club’s and their interest.

  • Thanks J glad you enjoyed it.

    Nelson, Nketiah and Willock are all established and if they can develop up towards the level that Saka and Smith Rowe are operating at then that’s exactly what we want. But if they can’t then we shouldn’t shy away from moving them on and letting the next generation take their chance.

    I think it was Raul, who wanted to change the mindset of the Arsenal academy and get it to move towards a model more aligned with how Chelsea operate, where they see their academy as an important revenue stream, as well as providing the very best for their 1st team squad.

    Our youngsters are some of the best around, everybody from the EFL, La Liga and the Bundesliga want our young players, we just need to ensure that we earn some money out of them.

    Of the 10 above and excluding the three I mentioned I can only see Ballard possibly working his way into the Arsenal senior squad the others will move on over the next 18 months and have good careers.

    I wonder how close Miguel Azeez is to his senior debut, he looks as if he has the talent to play in the 1st team and look comfortable at that level. If Willock and AMN go on loan that’ll open up the opportunity for Miguel to maybe get on the bench just as would be the case if Eddie went on loan regarding Balogun.
    Managers have dozens of egos to juggle, egos that have family, friends and agents in their ear asking why they aren’t playing and unsettling them. It’s why with a year left on his contract this summer that Arteta needs to resolve the Eddie question and may explain why Balogun has been sidelined, after all Arteta doesn’t want two restless young strikers on his hands.

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