As one season draws to a close, so the planning for the next campaign begins.
Of course, between now and the 2016/17 Premier League kicking off on Saturday 13 August there’s a whole lot of football set to take place.
If you wanted a break from the ‘beautiful game’, you’re going to have to go out of your way to get one. Here’s what’s confirmed so far…
The Toulon Tournament
30 May – 7 June.
Copa America Centenario
10 June – 10 July
1 July – 1 September
2016 Olympic Football Tournament
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3 – 20 August
Arsenal vs MLS All Stars
Avaya Stadium, California,
Arsenal vs Chivas de Guadalajara
StubHub Center, California
So what does that mean for the current Arsenal first team squad?
We reckon everybody in the far right column(aside from Alex Iwobi if he’s called up to represent Nigeria in Rio) should be available when pre-season training gets going in the first week of July.
Who else could be involved?
Well, not Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky who’ll be leaving. We’re also taking it for granted that Mathieu Flamini will follow suit when his contract ends in July. There are also long-term doubts about Messrs Ospina, Walcott, Campbell, Sanogo and Gnabry.
As is often the case in pre-season, there’s a fair chance a few youngsters will be given the chance to shine with some senior players given an extended rest. Matt Macey, a regular on the bench, could provide back-up in goal, while the likes of Krystian Bielik, Gedion Zelalem and Jeff Reine-Adelaide will be chomping at the bit having already made their first team debuts. Jon Toral, voted Birmingham City’s player of the year while on loan, will hope to be part of the USA tour as he was last year, as will young Chris Willock, star of the under-21s this season. No doubt a few other Academy stars will be looking for a piece of the action too.
Your guess is as good as ours at the moment. The boss has spoken about his desire to add three players to the first team squad. Granit Xhaka’s arrival
should be confirmed in the coming days has been confirmed and we’re almost certainly on the lookout for a top striker to bolster an attack that will be without Danny Welbeck. Expect a couple of young prospects to arrive too; Celtic’s Kieran Tierney and Bolton’s Rob Holding have both been linked.
As soon as Arsenal confirm further pre-season friendlies we’ll let you know.