Pre-season begins in earnest for determined trio

The bulk of Arsenal’s professional players are not due back at the club’s London Colney training base until July 9th, but for three promising youngsters preparations for the new campaign have already started, with Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson and Benik Afobe all putting in extra sessions prior to the main group’s arrival.

All three players spent large proportions of the 2011/12 season, in Wilshere’s case the entire campaign, on the sidelines and are determined to prove their fitness before the club’s pre-season preparations officially get underway. Wilshere and Jenkinson will be hopeful of featuring in Arsenal’s three-stop tour of Asia, which is preceded by a mini-tournament hosted at St Mary’s Stadium involving Southampton and Rangers.

Afobe, however, will see his club preparations somewhat disrupted by international commitments after the striker, who spent the last few months of last season with Reading, was named in the England under-19 squad for the European Championships at that level which will take place in Estonia from July 3 to July 15. Afobe will therefore miss the Southampton tournament and, as he is likely to be granted a period of rest after his excursions with the national side, may also miss out on the Asia Tour, although he will be available when the club travel to Nigeria for their penultimate pre-season fixture.

As things stand, in addition to Wilshere and Jenkinson, 17 further members* of the first-team squad, those who were not involved in the European Championships, are due to return to London Colney on July 9th, with this group including returning loanees Joel Campbell, Vito Mannone, Ryo Miyaichi and Carlos Vela. Furthermore, Wojciech Szczesny, Nicklas Bendtner, Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin, whose countries all exited the tournament at the group stage, should be ready to return on the same date, by which time they will have concluded their three week rest period.

Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski remain active in the competition and will return to Arsenal three weeks after their respective countries’ involvement in Poland and Ukraine is over.

In addition to those mentioned, Bacary Sagna should be available again by the Asia Tour comes around after suffering from a broken leg, although Lukasz Fabianski may spend a longer period out and Emmanuel Frimpong is not expected back until September or October following his injury.

For the Reserves, 26 players and a further 19 scholars are set to return in the next few weeks, but Zak Ansah will remain sidelined until at least August.

* Other players due back on July 9th- Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Song, Mikel Arteta, Gervinho, Vito Mannone, Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey, Marouane Chamakh, Andre Santos, Ju Young Park, Sebastien Squillaci, Francis Coquelin, Ryo, Johan Djourou, Joel Campbell. – Denilson may return slightly later as his loan spell with Sao Paulo is still ongoing.

9 comments

  1. Great Article Jorge, thanks for this update.

    Jorge, 2 questions: do you see Afobe having a shot at the first team this year or do you see another loan spell for him?

    Also, what are your thoughts on Aneke’s development? Loan or 1st team opportunity?

    I see a loan for both of them…

  2. With Afobe it depends on how many strikers we will have when the season starts but he could stay for the Capital One Cup and then go on loan after that. Aneke needs another loan as he wasn’t particularly impressive with Stevenage or Preston.

  3. Getting excited for pre-season. There could be three brand new strikers strutting their stuff – Podolski, Giroud and Joel Campbell.

    I’d like to see Aneke spend a bit of time with the first-team, his natural ability deserves little opportunities like that. He’s never going to play his best amidst cloggers in the lower leagues, he needs good players around him to shine with his pass and move play.

  4. we should keep afobe just to hang in and around the first team rather than send him on loan. Lets keep him as a sub use him regularly instead of sending on loan to that travesty of a league called the championship

  5. just throwing this out there

    with so many of our “unwanted” players seemingly unwanted elsewhere, you have to wonder will the club end up releasing some more or just stick with them even if they dont make the cut for the 25, as they can still play reserve and capital one cup. With the signing of Giroud all but confirmed as it stands there are now 30 players (Home Grown or Non-Home Grown) not including the u21s here is the current dilemma, who would be your 5 to miss out? obviously if we fail to sell there could be another mass loan out.

    GK – fabianski mannone szcesney
    D – squillaci sagna santos mertesacker koscielny vermaelen djourou gibbs botelho
    M – rosicky arteta diaby song denilson eastmond lansbury ramsey
    F – arshavin rvp podolski park chamakh giroud gervinho bendtner walcott vela

    lets not forget the u21s (37 professionals) who are looking pretty tasty

    GK – shea martinez charles-cook
    D – jenkinson bartley boateng miquel meade hajrovic bhimoutine angha monteiro hayden bellerin
    M – coquelin henderson wilshire frimpong galindo eisfeld yennaris aneke rees wynter ebicilio toral olsson
    F – watt campbell ryo wellington afobe oxlade-chamberlain neita roberts ansah gnabry

    1. How do you know they’re unwanted elsewhere, because we haven’t moved them all on by June? Sociedad want Vela, Sao Paulo want Denilson, Zenit want Arshavin, Bastia are after Squillaci, Bendtner will have no shortage of suitors after the Euros he’s had. Buying and selling players is a complicated business. Give it a chance.

  6. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkgox
    and now each time a comment is dded I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thank you!

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