Olsson and Zelalem amongst seven youngsters included on Arsenal’s Asia Tour

Promising midfielders Kristoffer Olsson and Gedion Zelalem have been included in Arsenal’s travelling party for the Asia Tour along with five other players from outside the first-team squad.

Ignasi Miquel, Chuks Aneke, Serge Gnabry, Chuba Akpom and Thomas Eisfeld will also make the trip, but there is no place in the squad for Damian Martinez and Nico Yennaris, who have both been left at home and will instead feature for the U21s away to Sutton United on Friday.

Zelalem has only just become a first-year scholar but, such is the high esteem in which he is held by Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff, the Germany U16 international, who has featured just four times for the U21s, has been included. Olsson, meanwhile, travels off the back of a highly-impressive 2012/13 campaign, during which he established himself as a regular for the second-string. The Swedish midfielder featured for the first-team during a pre-season tournament at Southampton last summer, but is yet to make a competitive appearance.

Miquel’s inclusion was a near-certainty after Thomas Vermaelen’s injury left just Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as the first-team’s only available centre-backs, whilst Aneke, Gnabry and Eisfeld have all featured competitively for the senior side in the past. Akpom’s inclusion was also expected after the striker enjoyed a phenomenal campaign last season, establishing himself as the first-choice striker for the U21s during his first full year in the Academy.

Martinez’s omission is something of a surprise given that the Argentinian was expected to provide back-up to senior shot-stoppers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski, whilst Yennaris will be especially disappointed not to have been included as he enters the final year of his contract at the club. Hector Bellerin would also have been included had he not been on international duty with Spain U19s. Isaac Hayden, meanwhile, trained with the first-team today but didn’t make the final cut.

Wellington and Samuel Galindo will stay at home and could potentially feature for the U21s during pre-season, whilst Benik Afobe, Jon Toral and Zak Ansah are all currently injured. The majority of the first-team squad are making the trip, with the exceptions of Emmanuel Frimpong and Abou Diaby (injured), Yaya Sanogo (international duty), Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal (rested) and Ju-Young Park, Nicklas Bendtner and Joel Campbell, whose respective futures are as yet unresolved. It is not currently clear whether Marouane Chamakh will travel or be left at home.

Arsenal will play four fixtures in Asia, against an Indonesian Dream Team, Vietnam, Nagoya Grampus Eight and Urawa Red Diamonds.

Arsenal squad for Asia Tour:

Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Lukas Podolski, Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Lukasz Fabianski, Gervinho, Ryo, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Chuba Akpom, Kristoffer Olsson, Ignasi Miquel, Serge Gnabry, Chuks Aneke, Thomas Eisfeld, Gedion Zelalem (+ potentially Marouane Chamakh).

* Please note that this is a provisional list and is subject to change.



  1. I am happy for Olsson! I hope he can further develop and make a positive impression during the tour. He is a unique player, from what I have seen.

  2. yennaris left out….does dat mean v r gonna bring in a dm…??thought he’ll b in as coq has bn send out on loan….our midfield is too congested….olsn,chucks nd esfld….hu among des vil make it….??zelalem is being really fastracked……!!!

  3. Im glad the club are really noticing the fire in olssons destiny. I thought the club was just letting him plod along. He is the real deal. He could be as good as pirlo or iniesta depending on the positions he is deployed in. Arsenal and sweedish players.

  4. Even more excited for the Asia Tour now. Will be just as interesting to me to see the youngsters as it would to see new signings on this tour. Can’t wait to see Gnabry, Zelalem especially. But congrats to Olsson, he deserves it, and good luck to the others as well.

  5. i have always liked Olsson, he playing style reminds me of Luka Modric. Hope he does well in pre-season.

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone knows what has happened to Jamie Sanderson, he has nearly gone to obscurity in last one year? anyone?

  6. I wish to see Serge Gnabry, Thomas Eisfield, Chuba Akpon, Ryo Miyachi, Chuks Aneke and Hector Bellerin promoted to d first team.

  7. Szczesny, Fabianski
    Kos, Mertesacker, Miquel
    Sagna, Jenkinson
    Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Olsson
    Rosicky, Eisfeld, Aneke, Zelalem
    Gervinho, Ryo
    Walcott, Chamberlain, Gnabry
    Giroud, Podolski, Akpom *Potentially Chamakh

    Yennaris should go as cover for full-back and Hayden as the fourth choice centre-back.

  8. If this list is used, it means (1) we’re signing Julio Ceaser
    (2) Zelalem is ‘the future’
    (3)Olsson has tremendously improved
    (4)Yennaris has to look elsewhere
    (5)Miquel has to make it or break it this season
    (6)Aneke and Eisfeld have to make a really good impression
    (7)Akpom is just being rewarded for a job welldone.

    1. I’m sick of these Julio Cesar stories, even Arsenal fans are simply accepting it without really thinking about what the team needs or what kind of keeper Wenger likes. Wenger likes keepers who are commanding in the box and can come out for corners and crosses. A quick browse at the height our goalkeepers proves this: Seaman and Lehman 6’3, Almunia 6’4, Szczęsny 6’5, Fabianski 6’3. Julio Cesar is 6’1 and an athletic shot-stopper hardly the type that Wenger goes for. Besides, whenever people and pundits criticize our keeper situation they say the same thing: we haven’t had a commanding keeper since Lehman, once again Cesar does not fit this mold!

    2. I also quite disagree that this is a make or break season for Miquel. He hasn’t even experienced a loan spell yet, most players usually go out on loan at around 18/19 and have at least two before theyre 21. Well Miquel is 21 and has yet to do so, this tells me that Wenger and co. have wanted to keep him around the first team for cover, meaning that they preferred the bit-part experiences he would get playing first team games to a loan spell. What will most likely happen is that we’ll sign a center half, Miquel will play a part in the capital one cup as he has in the past two seasons, and then perhaps go out on loan in the second half of the season. If not, and I hope and think this will happen, he’ll be promoted to the first team full time. If he isn’t promoted to the first team next season, then we’ll be talking about a make or break and most likely he’ll experience the entire season on loan.

  9. Cannot see Miquel going out on loan whilst Vermarlen is injured, Nobody else left to cover.
    Djourou, Squillaci have gone

  10. Think Yennaris MUST now get himself fit and out on loan. Missing the tour has closed the door on him having any chance of breaking into the first team squad so he must now get out on loan and play football.
    Prove to everyone that he is good enough. Clock is ticking, If he does not go out on loan he will be another player on the scrap heap. harsh but true.

  11. I am very surprised by the omission of both Martinez and Yennaris , Zelalem I saw him play with the u21 2-3 times and he didn’t catch my attention , yes he is comfortable with the ball at his feet but do nothing else….I am very surprised that he is so highly quoted by the coaches

  12. Final list :
    Wojciech Szczesny
    Lukasz Fabianski
    Damian Martinez

    Bacary Sagna
    Kieran Gibbs
    Carl Jenkinson
    Laurent Koscielny
    Per Mertesacker
    Ignasi Miquel

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Mikel Arteta
    Aaron Ramsey
    Tomas Rosicky
    Jack Wilshere
    Serge Gnabry
    Kris Olsson
    Thomas Eisfeld
    Chuks Aneke
    Gedion Zelalem

    Olivier Giroud
    Lukas Podolski
    Theo Walcott
    Chuba Akpom

    Got a feel sorry for Yennaris and Ansah being left behind

  13. Yennaris should have made the trip instead of Gedion Zelalem who may be very talented but has yet to shown anything for the club he will have his chnaces in coming years wereas Yennaris has been one of the top youth players imo hard working good attitdue etc

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