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.