Hector Bellerin’s inclusion in Spain’s Euro 2016 squad is undoubtedly a major positive for the player himself, but it is set to leave Arsenal rather short of right-back options for the early stages of pre-season.
Arsenal players are usually given a month off from the date they exit a major tournament, and, with Belllerin’s Spain one of the favourites to reign supreme in France, there is a possibility that the 21-year-old won’t be back in England until August.
The Gunners’ right-back situation is complicated further still by the fact that Mathieu Debuchy suffered an injury whilst on loan at Bordeaux that scuppered his chances of making the France squad. Even if he is fully fit for pre-season, it is questionable whether Debuchy will play any part in proceedings as he has been strongly linked with a move away from the club.
Calum Chambers is another first-team option at right-back, but he has only just finished representing England at the Toulon Tournament, where he was named in the team of the tournament as Gareth Southgate’s side ran out winners. Chambers has been linked with a loan move away from the club, whilst there is a possibility that if he is available for pre-season, the prospect may be used at centre-back or as a defensive-midfielder.
Carl Jenkinson, meanwhile, is back at Arsenal following his loan spell at West Ham United, but suffered a serious injury during his time with the Hammers that is likely to keep him out of action well into the season.
When all of the above is taken into account, it is clear to see that Arsenal are likely to be light in the right-back department in pre-season, which could present some talented youngsters with a chance to impress.
Julio Pleguezuelo finished the season at right-back, but the Spaniard is far more suited to playing in the heart of the defence, so Arsene Wenger may turn to one or both of Tafari Moore and Chiori Johnson.
At the ages of 19 and 18 respectively, both players have much time on their side to make the breakthrough and neither has yet been exposed to first-team action in any capacity.
Both have, however, trained with the senior squad, and would relish the opportunity to feature this summer, perhaps during the fixtures in America.
Moore, an England youth international who is also capable of playing at left-back if required, is a good reader of the game and is also adept technically.
Johnson spent much of last season on the sidelines but returned to deliver some hugely encouraging displays in the latter stages of the campaign and was rewarded with a new contract recently; a surefire sign that he is making strides in the right direction.
There is now a strong chance that he and Moore could take a step closer to making the breakthrough very soon.