At this time last year, Arsenal hardly had any of our first team players back in time to prepare for pre-season because most of them were at the World Cup and were given later holidays than the rest. We all know we had a very makeshift side when we faced Liverpool in the opening game, – and we all know how that went!
This year there has been the Confederations Cup, which saw Germany beat Chile in the Final, and a few youth tournaments. Also there was the usual World Cup Qualifiers after the season ended but all-in-all we should have many more players back well before the season starts.
But there will be a few missing. Obviously Alexis Sanchez and Shkrodan Mustafi went to the Final, and Hector Bellerin played in the Final of the U21 Euros so are not yet returned from their holidays and won’t be going to Australia for the first pre-season matches. Rob Holding and Calum Chambers were also there with England and will be late returning.
Others who were on international duty like Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny will have their fitness assessed before a decision is made on their participation. And we can now add Alexandre Lacazette to that list…
Normally you would expect the players involved in transfer discussions to leave the club not to travel, and it has already been confirmed that by the Spanish football expert, Carlos Rosende, that Lucas Perez will also remain in London ahead of a possible move.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the full travelling party to see who else is missing from the plane. It could give us more ideas of who will be leaving….