Latest Arsenal news takes a closer look at what the Premier League squad registration rules could mean for six youngsters as Mikel Arteta finalises his plans for the 2023/24 season

Arsenal’s priority after signing Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice very early in the summer transfer window is offloading players so that the first-team squad is balanced.

Following the departures of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka coupled with several members of last season’s loan army failing to earn permanent transfers, the Gunners’ senior squad, as things currently stand, contains 35 players – a number that is far too high when taking Premier League and Champions League rulings into consideration.

Therefore, plenty of exits are expected between now and transfer deadline day on September 1. However, there are six non-first-team players on the books at the Emirates Stadium whose futures must also be decided within the next four weeks otherwise their developments next season will almost certainly stall.

Now, whilst James Hillson, Omar Rekik, Ryan Alebiosu, Ben Cottrell, Tim Akinola and Tyreece John-Jules have just one competitive senior appearance for Arsenal between them, they will be affected by the Premier League rule change that comes into effect when Mikel Arteta is permitted to name a 25-man squad after the summer transfer window slams shut.

Just like Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba, they’re are born after January 1, 2002 and this means they can no longer be classed as U21s players – alongside Karl Hein and Marquinhos – so therefore can’t be part of the separate list and eligible throughout the campaign.

Rekik aside, the aforementioned quintet do meet the Premier League’s home-grown criteria but with 12 senior players ahead of them at the moment it’s difficult to see how they figure into Arteta’s plans for next season especially as John-Jules, who has five loan spells under his belt, has gone on record stating he wants his future decided one way or another.

“I’ve got one year left on my contract at Arsenal,” he said on The Beautiful Game podcast back in May. “I’ve had five loans now and each one feels like you’re getting further from the first team. Talks will have to happen at some point – whether I stay, go out on loan or leave on a permanent.

“I just want to settle somewhere, whether that’s signing a new contract with Arsenal or going somewhere else on a permanent. I think it’s time to settle down and just focus and chill instead of hopping from loan to loan. It’s difficult and it’s draining travelling to all these places.

“Settling and focusing on one team would be ideal, whether that’s Arsenal or somewhere else. I’m all ears. I want to hear every side and I will pick the best option for me.”

Meanwhile, Cottrell has also been tipped for an exit by Arsenal’s U21s manager Mehmet Ali nonetheless and as for Rekik, the chances of him being named as one of 17 overseas players in the 25-man Premier League squad look very slim with fellow defenders Saliba and summer signing Timber set to be included.

An arrival from Hertha Berlin in January 2021, the defender spent last season on loan at Sparta Rotterdam before moving to Wigan Athletic and he really needs to be playing regularly if he’s to make the Tunisia squad for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament that takes place in January 2024.

So with Arteta already set to add six new names to Arsenal’s Premier League squad, if there are no plans to include any of the aforementioned youngsters then it effectively ‘confirms’ they will be loaned out or sold permanently before deadline day otherwise they will spend the first half of the season, at the very least, playing in the U21s.

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