Arsenal fans fume at Arteta comments

Mikel Arteta sent the Arsenal fan base into a characteristic meltdown when speaking regarding the squad ahead of Crystal Palace.

When asked about the future of Willian, after reports suggested he may leave this summer, he responded with a very odd answer.

“First of all we signed a player with an incredible talent, a proven talent and performance level in this league, and this season has been difficult and I take full responsibility because I have to be the one getting the best out of him and we had moments but not to the level that he did before,” he said.

“This is an assessment that we will do individually with the players and with Edu, the board and the ownership to make the right decisions for the future.”

When pressed on whether or not the Brazilian would leave he simply said:

“Every player that is under contract is very likely to be here with us next season.”

Unsurprisingly this sparked quite a response on social platforms.

Didn’t he previously state “we need to be ruthless “. If we keep the same players then expect the same outcome. This is ridiculous 😡

— Dream Weaver (@TheUpsideDown84) May 18, 2021

The most worrying thing I’ve read today. So much for being ruthless it’s more toothless!

— Ben Hatt (@Hatty959) May 18, 2021

How can Arsenal be “ruthless” with players who haven’t made the grade and say they are all staying at the same time? Worrying statement.

— conor (@conorstapleton) May 18, 2021

What the fans are referring to was a statement by Arteta in which he said that it was time to be ‘ruthless.’

“We have to be ruthless,” Arteta said. “There is no time to waste and there is a lot to do.”

So therefore why did he say what he said just yesterday?

Homegrown quotas, impossibilities & bending the truth

In the politest way possible, Arteta’s use of ‘likely’ was a clever way of bending the truth.

This is not something people should be surprised about, annoyed or offended by. Coaches do this in press conferences and can often be seen to be referred to as ‘mind games’ when associated with some, most notably Jose Mourinho.

However, what Arteta has done is ensure that any clubs looking for a cheap deal cannot simply reference a quote in a press conference where the Spaniard admits he is looking to sell a player.

Furthermore, should a sale not be possible, it is likely not the best idea to have a high-earning player around the club of whom the manager has said they do not want. Mesut Ozil flashbacks anyone?

Arsenal’s homegrown quota explains why Arteta’s ‘very likely’ comments were far from the truth

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 30, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

For further assurance that Arsenal fans can rest easy in this. The Gunners squad, with everyone returning from loan, having their contracts expire and loans ending and therefore departing, is already at the non-homegrown capacity. The Premier League states that a squad can have no more than 17 non-homegrown players over the age of 21 registered in their 25-man squad.

Arsenal are at this 17-man maximum:

  • Gabriel Magalhaes
  • Pablo Mari
  • Sead Kolasinac
  • Lucas Torreira
  • Kieran Tierney
  • Thomas Partey
  • Granit Xhaka
  • Nicolas Pepe
  • Mohamed Elneny
  • Bernd Leno
  • Cedric
  • Willian
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Matteo Guendouzi
  • Konstantinos Mavropanos
  • Alexandre Lacazette
  • Alex Runarsson

There are then 7 players of whom count towards the ‘homegrown’ quota for next season. Defined either by an English player of whom is 21 year or older on the 1st January the year of the season’s start.

Or, a player who has spent three years between the ages of 16 and 21 with a team in the English football League system. Hence why the likes of Aaron Ramsey or Hector Bellerin counted towards the quota.

Arsenal have 7 currently:

  • Hector Bellerin
  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  • Joe Willock
  • Rob Holding
  • Calum Chambers
  • Eddie Nketiah
  • Reiss Nelson

There are a number of players who will eventually qualify such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe. Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba will also qualify after next season.

Arsenal’s homegrown quota explains why Arteta’s ‘very likely’ comments were far from the truth

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Bukayo Saka after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Brighton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Frank Augstein – Pool/Getty Images)

The point of this breakdown is that should Arsenal want to invest in players, for any non-homegrown talent to come in, some will have to leave. Not only that but a number of players are expected to move on.

Arteta’s comments shouldn’t spark concern, not yet anyway. The summer will be huge, if early business, both out and in, is not completed then the club will risk seeing the mistakes of the last summer window repeat themselves.

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