Arsenal’s first-team squad are due back later this month for the start of pre-season training, although not every player will be involved on the first day.
With World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in addition to UEFA Nations League and friendly matches that have taken place over the past fortnight only reaching their conclusion this week, it means there will be a lack of senior members present for the Gunners at London Colney on June 27.
This would explain the likely absences of first-team players such as Aaron Ramsdale, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli, Nuno Tavares and Emile Smith Rowe as they will all need extra time off following their international commitments.
READ MORE:Five Arsenal stars Mikel Arteta could sell this summer to raise millions for squad rebuild
Furthermore, if Arsenal were to complete the signings of Gabriel Jesus and Youri Tielemans, for example, they too would need extra time off after representing Brazil and Belgium so therefore it unlikely that either player would be present for the first day of pre-season training if they do join.
Of course, Mikel Arteta can call up a number of academy players to boost the numbers in training. On social media, wonderkid Charlie Patino has been putting in the hard yards ahead of his return, whilst Miguel Azeez, Brooke Norton-Cuffy and Omari Hutchinson could all be involved – as long as they’ve not been loaned out by June 27.
In terms of first-team players that are likely to be present for the first day of pre-season training, it will be those who weren’t called up for international duty. At the time of writing, this will include Bernd Leno as he will have needed to have completed a move to Fulham to not be available.
Arthur Okonkwo, Rob Holding, Cedric Soares, Benjamin White, Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Eddie Nketiah are the other senior players who have been on holiday since the final game of last season. Meanwhile, Kieran Tierney has revealed he is on course to be available after being sidelined since April with a knee injury.
“It’s tough working full days in the gym on your own,” he revealed. “But you’ve got to keep on pushing yourself. There’s no point feeling sorry for yourself. I don’t look for or expect sympathy from anyone. At the end of the day, I’m lucky to be a footballer – and I never take anything for granted. I’m a nightmare for the physios. I’m always on at them to get me back quicker.
“And I’m a terrible spectator. Not being able to do anything to help the team. I hate it. My target is to be back for the end of June and the start of pre-season at Arsenal. I’m on course for that. My rehab’s going well. “
Along with Tierney, a number of recalled loanees could also be present. Similar to Leno, this will include Ainsley Maitland-Niles as long as he’s not joined Nottingham Forest by the time he’s due to report back to London Colney after spending the second half of last season at AS Roma.
Alex Runarsson, Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari and Reiss Nelson haven’t earned permanent moves away as of yet following their loan spells last season, so could all be involved on June 27. But that’s unlikely to be the case for Lucas Torreira and Folarin Balogun as they have represented Uruguay and England U21’s over the past fortnight.
Arsenal will travel out to Germany for a pre-season training camp as their first trip abroad with a friendly against FC Nurnberg on July 8 at the Max-Morlock Stadion pencilled in. They then return to London before traveling out to America for their second international tour of pre-season on July 13 where they will face Everton and Chelsea.