An in-depth look at squad rules as deadline day approaches


by Pétur Jónasson.


Transfer deadline day looms! In this festive period, as we stay glued to our computer screens, biting our nails while we wait for transfer news, we like to speculate about player departures and arrivals, but while most people are aware that there is such a thing as a 25-man limit to our squad few people seem to have much idea about the specifics of it. This article seeks to explain these rules and how they affect our transfer activity.


Every club participating in the Champion’s League must submit two lists of players to UEFA, List A and List B. List B is for young players and there is no limit to the number of players that can be submitted on that list. List A is for any player not eligible for List B. A maximum of 25 players can be submitted on List A, of which at least 8 must be “locally-trained”, and of those 8, 4 must be “club-trained”. The rules in full can be found here.

If the club doesn’t have enough players to fill the slots for locally-trained players it will have to leave those slots empty. If the club has more than eight such players, any surplus player will have to take up one of the 17 remaining slots, leaving fewer slots for players who are not home grown.


So, exactly how do we determine which players fall into which categories?

In order to be eligible for List B for next season, a player must be born 1991 or later and he must have already spent at least two full continuous seasons at the club. This means that if we buy a “wonderkid” we will have to register him on List A, even though he is young enough for List B. Loan spells at other clubs can also sometimes cause a player to not fulfill the second requirement, even though he arrived at Arsenal more than two years ago.

The composition of List A is as follows:

Slots 1-17: Any player can be put into these slots.
Slots 18-21: Only for locally-trained players (association-trained or club-trained)
Slots 22-25: Only for club-trained players

A club-trained player is a player who has spent a total of at least three full seasons with the club between the ages of 15 and 21. An association-trained player is a player who has spent a total of at least three full seasons with clubs affiliated with the same association as his current club between the ages of 15 and 21.


The Premier League also has some rules about squad lists. The main differences are as follows:

1. Instead of a List A and List B, there is only one list, equivalent to List A in the CL, with the same limit of 25 players. Instead of a List B, young players do not have to be submitted at all. The cut-off age is the same, but unlike the CL, the PL does not require such players to have been with the club for 2 seasons.

2. Instead of slots for association-trained and club-trained players, the PL squad lists have 8 slots for “home-grown” players. The definition for home-grown players corresponds to what UEFA calls association-trained players.
Essentially, the PL rules are slightly more relaxed than the CL rules, meaning we can ignore the PL rules and focus on the CL rules.


Let’s take a little look at one of our most exciting prospects, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He is born in 1993 and will turn 19 this summer. The two-year rule for List B mentioned earlier means that he will not be eligible for List B until after next season. In the meantime he has to be registered on List A as an association-trained (Southampton) player. In the 2013/14 season he will have spent two years at Arsenal and still be young enough to be eligible for List B. In the 2014/15 season and every season thereafter he will no longer be young enough for List B and will be registered on List A as a club-trained player (having spent three years with Arsenal).


While the 25-man squad limit does prevent clubs from assembling huge squads of established stars, meaning in theory more opportunities for young players, it does have a somewhat negative impact on the slightly older youngsters. When players reach a certain age they have to be included in the 25-man squad. This means that if a player has not proven himself worthy of a place in the squad by that time he is most likely going to be offloaded. From the club’s perspective, every summer a decision will have to be made on a few players who no longer are eligible for List B.

This summer for example, this applies to Wojciech Szczesny, Aaron Ramsey, Craig Eastmond, Gavin Hoyte and Rhys Murphy. Hoyte and Murphy have already been released, and I think we can safely assume room will be made in the squad for Szczesny and Ramsey, but what Eastmond? The player has shown some promise and featured for us occasionally, but he is in danger of being sacrificed (sold/loaned) to make room in the squad for a new signing.

Next season Francis Coquelin, Conor Henderson and Sanchez Watt will be in the same situation, and a large cull is likely in two years time, when decisions will have to be made on 10 players (Ryo Miyaichi, Joel Campbell, Samuel Galindo, Carl Jenkinson, Jack Wilshere, Emmanuel Frimpong, Daniel Boateng, Jernade Meade, Ignasi Miquel and Damian Martinez).


Let’s apply these rules to each of our current players:

Club-trained A-listers (8 players):
Wojciech Szczesny, Vito Mannone, Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Craig Eastmond, Nicklas Bendtner.

Association-trained A-listers (2 players):
Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Other A-listers (23):
Lukasz Fabianski, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Andre Santos, Sebastian Squillaci, Abou Diaby, Thomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Andrei Arshavin, Ju-Young Park, Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh, Martin Angha, Kyle Ebecilio, Jon Toral, Serge Gnabry, Hector Bellerin, Kristoffer Olsson, plus our new signings Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla.

Everyone else, including Jack Wilshere, Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin.

The first thing you might notice is that we have ten locally-trained players, most of which are club-trained. This means that we could get rid of two of them without having to reduce the total number of players on the squad list. This is quite good. Not so good, however, is the fact that we have a total of 33 A-listers, which is 8 more than we are allowed, so we are going to have to cut that list down somehow.

Let’s start with some youngsters who are not eligible for List B because they haven’t been at the club long enough. We’re hardly going to make room in the squad for Angha, Ebecilio, Toral, Gnabry, Bellerin and Olsson, so now we’re down to 27. This means that if we are going to sign a player before the transfer deadline, we’ll have to get rid of three players first.

So, which players could leave? Squillaci, Arshavin, Park, Chamakh and Bendtner all seem surplus to requirements at the moment. At the end of last season they were all deemed likely to leave the club this summer, but we haven’t been able to move them on yet. Squillaci, Park and Bendtner have taken little or no part in pre-season and the beginning of the current season and will probably leave.

Arshavin and Chamakh might leave as well, but both have already featured to some level, so it is conceivable that they might stay. We also have Craig Eastmond, who might possibly be sacrificed if we’re having problems moving the other ones on, and while the club have announced that Theo Walcott is not for sale, it wouldn’t really surprise anyone if the contract rebel was sold.

Whatever business we do, since we have currently 27 players competing for 25 spots in the squad, we need to move on two more players than we sign. For example, if we get rid of Squillaci, Park and Bendtner then we can buy one player. If we were then going to bring in more, we would have to axe one of Arshavin, Chamakh, Walcott or Eastmond.

So, while many fans are desperate for news of new signings, I tend to pay a lot of attention to news of departures as well, because they really are a precondition of signing new players.

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What happens if we can’t offload those players but we don’t want them in the squad? Do they just remain players on the books that take no part in the seasons program?


Yes, they wont be on the official squad and hence cannot play. Although we can revise the list in January for addition/removal i think

Cygan's Left Foot

Those players not listed, can still take part in the cups competition but not EPL or CL.


Very nice article. Thanks for the in-depth analysis as well. Now i know why we run after 17-18 years olds and send them on loan.

1000 staples

You read all this shit..?

1000 staples

Let me rephrase….you had to read all this shit to help you understand the


Psst Arseblog, I hope the club managers of this world don’t read your blog, otherwise Arsenal might be forced to sell its dead wood at a reduced price…!

TH 14

August 30: Wenger pre-Liverpool

** Koscielny back in contention, Szczesny faces test

** Sagna and Wilshere assessed after internationals

** Wenger – Walcott will not leave this summer

** ‘We are active in the transfer window’

** Wenger – No transfer agreements in place

** ‘We want a draw that gives us a good chance’

** Wenger – The next month is crucial

** ‘I’m not putting pressure on strikers’

** Wenger – We always want to improve squad

Le Boss

We are active in the market. If we find something we will do it. Three for a pound? Buy one get one free? Not that kind of market.


You left out Eisfeld, who is another List-A player.

the only sam is nelson

holy fuck that’s complicated

although i think you forgot the UEFA rule about teams managed by Arsene Wenger having to be penalised for being managed by Arsene Wenger


I’m a lawyer (don’t hate, I help the little guy) and I parse boring confusing stuff all the time. I’m lost here. Arseblog you are a master of statutory construction. Perhaps a statutory construction and interpretation section would make a hugely popular addition to the Arsecast. If this isn’t a thumbs up idea, I don’t know what is.

Cygan's Left Foot

Rule 1 if you are a “lawyer” don’t ask for thumbs up, it just give others a giggle to thumb you down. You can never learn that wisdom in Law Schools!!!!.

Was going to thumbs up for this great advice but then I should know better :).


Isn’t there also the possibility we could leave players out of the squad, without selling them? In the sad case of Bendnter, should he not reach an agreement with another club, he could stay at Arsenal’s books but without having the opportunity to actually play games. Maybe Squillaci is a better example. Point is, we do not HAVE to sell players before buying new ones, though it would be in everyones interest not pay wages for someone who would not play.

Arsene's Nose

We get rid of the TGSTEL and we have 5 spots..His Ego must occupy like 4 of the spots

What's my name?

Very insightful article…thanks guys!


Great Article.

Hope we smash Liverpool on Sunday.

Come on The Arsenal.


You can leave someone out of the squad, and then not be able to play them. You’d still be paying the wages though, so best to get shot.


Gunna be a nervous deadline day…
Juventus went from wanting vanpersie to Llorente to berbatov and now finallly bendtner ! 😀


Well now that Berbatov’s mugged Fiorentina off, surely they’re nailed on for Super Nik.

Pétur Jónasson

To kdguha: Yes, thank you, I forgot about Eisfeld. He is in the same category as Gnabry & co and will probably not be included in the squad list. I also left out Lansbury as one of the youngsters who have reached the age limit, but he has now been sold. To ds_helder: Yes, and clubs have done exactly that occasionally. You sometimes read about a player being left out of some club’s Champion’s League squad list. We do not HAVE to sell the players before buying new ones, but we do HAVE to remove them from the squad list… Read more »


just to clarify something, the champs league squad list rules apply to purely the squad list of players that we submit to play in that competition, that year?

so we can have others players stuck on our books that we cant shift, like squillacci for example, and just not submit them for the champs league squad?


Ok, er, *looks at watch* getting a bit worried again.


i am guessing park,eastmond/ebecilio squillachi,TGSTEL will go. if chamakh is also going it means we are in for a striker. i can easily see us getting a defender. but the big signing is somewhere in the midfield/wings/upfront as second striker. and i have a strong feeling we are in for dempsey. unless liverpool offload caroll they are not going to sign it’s arsenal in the PL for dempsey. he lives in london+might take a pay cut,we’ll get him for cheap and we offer him CL football.i would put my money on him.typical last day signing. plus he has score… Read more »

Pétur Jónasson

To Bee: Yes, but the Premier League has squad lists as well. However, Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain do not have to be submitted, so we have two extra places there if we want to use them in the way you suggest.


ah, when i got to the bit where you said we could ignore the PL rules and just concentrate on the CL rules, thats what i did, i just ignored the PL rules 🙂

the the league and FA cup etc?

we seem to have a lot of players like “Martin Angha, Kyle Ebecilio, Jon Toral, Hector Bellerin, Kristoffer Olsson,” who are very unlikely to play in the PL unless we get wiped out by injuries

Pétur Jónasson

Actually, the Premier League squad rules do NOT apply to the fa cup and the league cup (or whatever the hell it’s called now).

Merlin's Panini

dur, my head hurts now. thanks.


Signing someone new and keeping players that cant play would essentially double the wages for the new player. So it seems unlikely. Unless it is worth keeping bendtner for his inflence in training..

the only sam is nelson

driving instruction, how to order a pizza, conduct becoming a gentleman arsenal footballer on a saturday night out – there’s a long list of things TGSTEL could help out with at the Arsenal as a tutor.


You forgot whoring yourself to advertisers.


Great article dude. But what if we are trying to move a player on but because of his ego or pants issues( you all know who am talking about right?) or because his head looks like chicken’s (shisha smoker) and then make a special plea to UEFA or the PL for being a bad image of our club, don’t you think we will be considered for an automatic four empty slots?


Complicated enough..
I wish we’ll get into easier group on CL..


Fantastic piece. Was hoping to find a very clear and simple piece about this squad limit rule. Finally found something that doesn’t tangle my brains. It would be super-awesome if we could get a piece like this about the other clubs so we could tell who it was they were likely to sell, and as a result, it would tell us who it was that was likely to be on the market, for us to choose from. I was reading the transfer news and thinking we could do with some wingers. There are so many I’ve read about. Nathan Dyer’s… Read more »

Pétur Jónasson

Thank you very much. I do apologize for the probably rather broken English.

You’re probably not going to see a piece like this about other clubs. It takes a lot of research and I really can’t see anyone taking the time to do that unless he’s a fan of said club.

Pétur Jónasson

Although, come to think of it, SwissRambler does way more extensive research for articles on lots of different football clubs, so who knows?


Your English is outstanding and so is your spelling. You’ve nothing to worry about.


I must say many an hour I have stressed over squad size on Football Manager. I know the pain it is Arsene, I really do!


Fantastic Article.
I had no idea the system was this complicated. But this has furthered my view on Arsene Wenger, I see him as even more of a legend then before now.
It will be very interesting in 2 years time when we have to review 10 players, and I really hope Wellington Silva and Miyaichi get to stay.


Even if we don’t get rid of all the dead-wood it is possible to recruit new players and withdraw some of the less important players from our CL squad, but they would still be available for our domestic games. If we take into account that Park and Squillaci will most likely not feature again for our club, we do have two slots available for domestic games.. so lesser players like TGSTEL could play in the league cup if he won’t do the chicken dance! Club-trained A-listers (8 players): Wojciech Szczesny, Vito Mannone, Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott,… Read more »

Pétur Jónasson

Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain are A-listers. They’re young enough to be B-listers but since they have been at the club for less than two years they have to be put on the A list if they are to play in the Champion’s League.


Yeah, but I think the poster’s point is that the CL is only 6 or 8 or 10 games a season. We could just submit a 23- or 24-person A-list and be fine, especially since we have talent on the B-list too.

I think the number you really have to follow is the 25-man squad list for the EPL, where we play 38 games.


Bendy, Park and AA23 to an extent seem to have one foot out the door. I think we’ll have to resort to releasing a few players, we did it with Almunia. I highly doubt anyone wants Squillaci on 50k p/w


To make it simple we have the right numbers for the premier league as it stands but for the champions league we have a problem as the ox and jenkinson will not count as b list players until next season as they only joined last season. If we sell bendtner and eastmond whilst that would allow 2 signings for premier league they would both have to be homegrown whilst for champions league they would be a-listers. therefore it is more important that we sell the likes of park squillaci chamakh and arshavin most certainly the first 2.


Good informative point, but I think it makes a few logical gaffes: 1) Since we only play 6 CL games before the next transfer window (and probably 8 or 10 games each season) and we could easily survive with a 22- or 23-man A-list (especially with some of the talent we have on the B-list), I REALLY doubt that the club decides its transfer policy on the CL squad list. We should be analyzing the EPL squad list if we want to predict what’s possible and not in the transfer market. 2) If you take away the seven youngsters unlikely… Read more »


And even more specifically, in order to determine open slots on the team, we need to focus on the number of non-homegrown players in our EPL squad that are in Arsene’s plans (i.e. that have taken part in pre-season and first-team training) for the season. There is a strict limit of 17 non-homegrown players over the age of 21 on EPL squads. We have currently have exactly 17: Lukasz Fabianski, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Andre Santos, Sebastian Squillaci, Abou Diaby, Thomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Andrei Arshavin, Ju-Young Park, Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh, Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and… Read more »

Pétur Jónasson

No, we don’t need to focus on the non-homegrown players. You forget that we have 10 homegrown players, but only 8 slots for them. That means two of them need to take up one of those 17 slots for non-homegrown players. What we do need to focus on is the 25-man limit, while making sure the number of homegrown players does not drop below 8, because that would then reduce the total number of players we can put on the list.

Pétur Jónasson

1) It’s true that we play fewer CL games and theoretically we could pay a couple of players wages for only domestic games, but it’s very rare that clubs do that. I seems to remember Chelsea and Real Madrid having done that, but never Arsenal. 2) According to the article the youngsters are six, not seven. That’s because I forgot Thomas Eisfeld. However, that becomes seven from 34 then instead of six rom 33, so the CL squad list is still at 27, so it stands that we need to get rid of three to bring in one. 3) First,… Read more »


I’ve tried to express all of this as clearly as possible, but if you want a one-sentence takeaway:

By my analysis, if Arsenal is willing to eat the contracts of Squillaci and Park, that means we currently have room to sign two (2) new non-homegrown players, which could increase to three or four if Chamakh and/or Arshavin are loaned / sold.

Pétur Jónasson

Nope. Even if we’re willing to eat those two contracts, we still haven’t got room for more signings, unless we get rid of someone.

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Martin Angha, Kyle Ebecilio, Jon Toral, Serge Gnabry, Hector Bellerin, Kristoffer Olsson, Its fair to say these player won’t play big part in arsenal CL pursuit. If there’s injury crisis i am sure UEFA allows some leniency. That’s 6 players out of 23 A listers hence the list becomes 17 players.

Out of which arsenal can choose to unregeister Fabianski. Squillaci and Park from the squad list. Hence we can bring at least 3 players of any origin. I doubt arsenal will buy anymore than 3 players.

Pétur Jónasson

You’re making the same mistake as Witoldo, forgetting about the fact that we have 10 homegrown players and only 8 spots reserved for those. Two are left out and each must take one of the 17 non-homegrown players slots. If we unregister Fabianski, Squillaci and Park (unlikely) then we can only bring in one.


Although one capital one striker is required. V have only two strikers in giroo and poldi. Unless arsene is planning to play 4-6-0

Pétur Jónasson

Bendtner gone. Still need two more departures if we’re going to sign a new player.

Pétur Jónasson

Park gone as well. We’re breaking even at the moment.


Unless I’m missing something, didn’t Martin Angha sign on in summer of 2010? Isn’t he eligible for List B?