The first batch of Arsenal players, largely comprised of those who did not participate in international fixtures in June, returned to London Colney today for pre-season training, and, as ever, there was a strong contingent of young players involved in training with the main group.
There were nine first-team players who joined in full-training, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marouane Chamakh, Carl Jenkinson, Theo Walcott, Lukasz Fabianski, Ryo, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs all involved, whilst Jack Wilshere trained separately with the fitness coaches.
Emmanuel Frimpong did gym work indoors as he is still recovering from an injury sustained whilst on loan at Fulham, with Abou Diaby also currently sidelined. The next batch of players are due to return on Monday, with Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Gervinho all due to return in time for the club’s four-stop pre-season tour of Asia.
Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal, meanwhile, will be afforded several weeks off following their exploits with Spain at the Confederations Cup, whilst Yaya Sanogo is still participating in the U20 World Cup with France. Nicklas Bendtner is poised to depart the club, whilst a decision has yet to be made over Joel Campbell. Andre Santos’ loan deal with Gremio does not officially expire until the end of July, but Johan Djourou and Francis Coquelin have both already departed on loan for the forthcoming campaign to Hamburg and Freiburg respectively.
As far as the youngsters are concerned, Damian Martinez, Nico Yennaris, Thomas Eisfeld, Chuks Aneke, Serge Gnabry, Gedion Zelalem, Ignasi Miquel, Chuba Akpom and Kristoffer Olsson all trained with the first-team, with several members of that batch hoping to earn a seat on the plane for the trip to Asia.
The following young professionals were also present, but trained in a separate group, except for right-back Hector Bellerin, who is preparing for the U19 European Championships. The 18-year-old signed a new, long-term contract with Arsenal today.