When the Premier League put it's new roster rules into effect this past summer, teams had to declare a 25 man roster at the close of both transfer windows. With the immenant signings of David Luiz and Fernando Torres, it seems like a good time to take a peek at what the 25 man roster may look like come tomorrow morning. Players who were under the age of 21 on at the start of the season do not count against the 25 man limit, so this discussion will be limited to players 21 or older.
The senior roster gets broken down into two categories, homegrown and developed abroad. A homegrown player is any player who has been under contract in England or Wales for three full years prior to the completion of the season in which he turns 21. We currently have 4 of those on the roster in John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ross Turnbull, and Ashley Cole. Teams are allowed a maximum of 17 players who were developed abroad, and may use an additional 8 spots if they have 8 homegrown players. As Chelsea only have 4 homegrown players, their maximum roster size (not including youth) for the spring will be 21 players.
Chelsea currently have exactly 17 players developed abroad who are under contract (counting Torres and Luiz). Petr Cech, Henrique Hilario, David Luiz, Alex, Branislav Ivanovic, Yuri Zhirkov, Jose Bosingwa, Yossi Benayoun, Ramires, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka, Paulo Ferreira, Salomon Kalou, and Fernando Torres will fill those 17 spots. If Chelsea were to pull a shock move for someone else, it would likely come at the expense of Hilario or Benayoun not being named to the roster. All 17 are currently under contract for next season (Ivanovic isn't finalized, but agreed upon), so if Chelsea want to add any foreign talent over the age of 21 it will require a corresponding roster move.
What this will also stress is the importance of the youngsters we have on loan (fingers crossed on Jeffrey Bruma). If we want to fill our roster with 25 players, w really need to start breaking youth into the first team. As we saw with Andy Carroll today and with Darren Bent last week, "homegrown" talent is going to cost a lot more than it's production will dictate. Filling those spots with guys from within will allow us not only to continue to move closer to UEFA compliance, but to have our pick from the best players on the transfer market regardless of where they were developed.