The first wave of Arsenal stars have returned to London Colney for pre-season as Unai Emery’s reign kicks off in earnest.
While the World Cup has occupied nine players, many of the squad have been on holiday since the tail-end of May.
Aaron Ramsey is one of those who returned to the training ground today. The Wales international posted a “Back at it” message on his Instagram story. He’s obviously excited at the prospect of star jumps and lunges.
It was also reported at the weekend that loanees like Lucas Perez will also join up with the squad while their futures are decided. Expect
Obviously, there has been a raft of changes in the weeks since Arsene Wenger said his farewell.
While Steve Bould leads the names of those who’ve been retained by Emery, there are new, predominantly Spanish, faces in the coaching set-up and familiar faces, Freddie in charge of the under-23s and Per Mertesacker heading up the Academy, embarking on new roles. Those two held a meeting with all the club’s young stars yesterday to outline their vision for the future.
Today I met every Arsenal Academy player and their families. We have big things planned for this Academy and I can't wait for the new season! #ArsenalAcademy #wearethearsenal pic.twitter.com/TUZGRk9kcj
— Per Mertesacker (@mertesacker) July 1, 2018
There are also some new signings to play with. Stephan Lichtsteiner is still in Russia with Switzerland, but Bernd Leno will be brought up to speed by Petr Cech and Sokratis is expected to be confirmed later today.
It’ll be another ten days or so before the majority of the squad are together again. Then the friendly matches come thick and fast. An Arsenal XI take on Boreham Wood on 14 July, the day before the World Cup final, and then we embark on a short visit to Singapore for matches with Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint Germain.
There’s no Emirates Cup this year, instead, we take on Chelsea in Dublin and Sevilla in Stockholm. Before you know it, Manchester City will be visiting the Emirates for the first game of the season.
The excitement is brewing…