Since there's nought much to talk about regarding arrivals and departures I thought this 25-player rule thing for the EPL could generate some discussion. New rules state that out of 25 players, 8 must be homegrown (before the age of 21, the player must have played 3 years in the UK).
Because of the rules, Manchester City have got problems with their squad size (btw, if it is true they're looking to ship out some players I would look at Shaun Wright-Phillips without question). SAF himself has wondered whether Anderson and Hargo should be included in the list. This is only until January though, so they can be added after then if I'm not wrong. Anyway, read on to refresh your memory on position battles.
I assume these guys here have their places locked due to seniority and experience. 3 goalies, 7 defenders, 7 midfielders, 3 forwards totalling 20 players. (H) denotes home-grown players. We fulfill that rule easily.
Edwin van der Sar, Tomasz Kuszczak, Ben Amos
Gary Neville (H), Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand (H), Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown (H), Jonny Evans (H), John O'Shea (H)
Paul Scholes (H), Darren Fletcher (H), Michael Carrick (H), Park Ji-Sung, Antonio Valencia, Nani, Ryan Giggs (H)
Wayne Rooney (H), Javier Hernandez (yes I know he isn't senior or experienced but c'mon), Dimitar Berbatov
I'm guessing the rest comes down to "training camp" battles if you will. The da Silva twins have to stake their claim against Chris Smalling and Ritchie de Laet (who I figure goes on loan this season anyway). I reckon they both get a spot but Smalling comes into the fore in January. 22 players down.
Anderson and Hargreaves. Hmm. Wait, what about Gibson. Let's say we want one midfielder bringing the total to 23 players then the easy way out is to drop Ando and Hargo simply because Gibson is fit and can play. 23 players.
Is there a case though for adding Ando though? His return date is known which is September. Let's drop Hargo from contention because his return date is up in the air. Should we pack 5 center midfielders given that Giggs can also play there? I think we won't.
Finally, SAF chooses between Macheda, Diouf, Owen, Welbeck and Obertan. How many strikers should be on the team? Basically it comes down to this. If you want the 4-5-1, carry 4 strikers and bring on Anderson. We'll need that extra center midfielder. If you want the 4-4-2, drop Ando and carry another striker. But this is United. We switch formations depending on the opponent.
So this is just my opinion: Drop Ando for now and carry Welbeck and Owen. 25 players. In this situation Obertan, Macheda and Diouf miss out. I like Welbeck and think he's doing well in preseason. I reckon this is his big year. Owen is..., well I've just got a gut feeling. No reason though I do value his experience over Diouf and Obertan.
I reckon Macheda will get a loan deal while Diouf and Obertan hang around playing Reserve football. I wouldn't be surprised if Gibson and another striker gets tossed out for the Champions League squad and Diouf and Ando go in. This 25 player rule makes me think no one else is going to be bought this summer. The cheque book is closed.
P.S. I picked both da Silva twins and carrying 9 defenders seems a lot. But they are the players whom I reckon can help out in the wings if we get too many injuries there. However, we can easily add Diouf (or anyone else) if Fabio isn't picked. It's a tough job being SAF.
Anyway, what do you guys/gals think? Humour me. Could O'Shea get cut? Hernandez needs more time? Does Possebon come from nowhere to steal a spot (sigh....)?
Edit: Seriously didn't know this. As you can see, sweet science says that all players under 21 do not count against the player limit.
In my initial projections, only Amos qualifies a young player. So 6 spots are left for Owen, Ando, Hargo, Diouf, Obertan and Gibson. This leaves me to wonder why soccernet had a piece on why Ando and Hargo could be left out in the first place. (Unless I missed out on someone).
Also, de Laet (21) and Smalling (21 in Jan) are both homegrown. Basically this whole article is moot. But it helps with getting your bearing around the rulings and whether or not it affects United. (Digging deep into the barrel of reasons to keep this post).