This morning it was confirmed that Arsenal had left both Sokratis and Mesut Ozil out of our squad for the group stages of the Europa League.
Following the closure of the international transfer window, the Gunners were required to submit A and B lists to Uefa but could only include 17 non-homegrown players. With 19 on the books that meant leaving out a couple of high-profile stars.
Obviously, it’s an awkward situation for Mikel Arteta who had hoped more senior stars, including Sokratis, would leave in the transfer window so that such a decision wouldn’t have to be made.
Technical Director Edu explains that they’ve faced the situation head on by being honest with those who’ve been left out.
In an interview with Arsenal.com, he said: “When we signed players here we have to manage that because we only allowed just 17 [foreign] players in our list.
“I talked to Mikel about the players who are probably going to be out of the list and how we can treat that challenging situation well.
“The way we did it is to sit with the players, be open with the players, I spoke to the agents, was open with the agents as well. The only way we can do that is be open, clear and face-to-face and to explain why Mikel has made that decision.”
Similar restrictions will be imposed by the Premier League in a couple of weeks time when they ask for players to be registered for domestic competitions.
Given Ozil and Sokratis are both out of contract at the end of the season, there’s a chance we may have seen the last of them in an Arsenal chance.
The big question is whether they are willing to sit tight for 12 months or whether they’d be open to an agreement with the club that sees them leave earlier.
As part of the same interview, Edu also touched on why he’s pleased with Arsenal’s transfer business during a difficult window. See here.