Alex Iwobi has just confirmed his intention to represent Nigeria in the upcoming Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
The winger has rapidly rose to prominence in North-London, and is now an integral part of the first-team squad.
Iwobi will be expected to play a huge part in the Gunners bid to win next season’s Premier League title, but looks set to miss out on their entire pre-season, as well as the opening few matches also.
The tournament is set to run until August 20, with the PL starting the weekend before, and he will most likely be rested on his return as he adjusts to life back at the Emirates.
The Nigerian’s decision to play at Rio 2016 is likely to come as a blow for manager Arsene Wenger, but he can take solace in the fact that he will not have to feature in the African Cup of Nations at the start of 2017, after his side were eliminated in qualification in previous weeks.
Their failure to qualify is also likely to have played a part in his decision to play at the Olympics, although there is still a chance he will not be selected.
A player like Iwobi offering his services will of course mean that he is selected however, so we will just have to prepare to start the new campaign without him.
“I am looking forward to the forthcoming Olympics and if I am invited, I will do my best to make a meaningful contribution,” Iwobi said.
“I believe that Nigeria has a crop of excellent players who are capable of doing great things at the Olympics. Coach Samson Siasia deserves a lot of praise for securing a place for the nation at the Olympics.”
The youngster recently changed alliances, having played for England at various youth levels in the Under-16 to Under-18 categories, but has no regrets on his decision to play for the same country as his ever-famous uncle Jay-Jay Okocha.
Is it better to lose him for pre-season and the beginning of the year, or would have preferred to lose him at the same time as Mohamed Elneny to AFCON in January/February?