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Arsenal are set to kick-start their new campaign this week after losing out on a top four finish last season for the first time in two decades. Arsene Wenger has extended his contract for a couple of years more, amidst fan outrage and is determined to restore their place in the Champions League before departing the Emirates.
Despite the uncertainty regarding the future of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal have been ruthless so far in the transfer market and have already brought in a couple of new faces in the form of former Schalke 04 left-back Sead Kolasinac on a Bosman transfer, and French hitman Alexandre Lacazette who completed his long-awaited move from Ligue1 giants Olympic Lyon.
The Gunners have already announced the 25 man squad for their pre-season trip to Australia where they will encounter two of A-League heavyweights Sydney FC and Sydney Wanderers. After that, the squad will fly to China, in order to take part in International Champions Cup competition – a tournament consisting top European outfits who participate in high-profile friendlies abroad. Arsenal are set to encounter Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on 19th July, prior to their fixture against London rivals Chelsea at Beijing on July 22nd.
Wenger, the veteran Frenchman, has omitted five of his stars from the Gunners’ travelling squad. Wojciech Szczęsny, the Polish custodian who spent the last couple of seasons on loan with Serie A outfit AS Roma, has not been included. Also, the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs did not travel with the squad.
Jack Wilshere and Gabriel are set to miss the pre-season following their long-standing injuries whereas attacker Joel Campbell is currently engaged in the on-going 2017 Gold Cup with Costa Rica. Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez have been handed an extended holiday due to their participation in Confederations Cup. Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin – the young defensive trio are yet to join the squad following the European U21 Championship. The likes of Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Chuba Akpom and Jon Toral have been left at home, suggesting they are very much not in Wenger’s plan for the forthcoming season.
Here is Arsenal’s 25-man squad for their pre-season trip:
Petr Cech, Emi Martinez, David Ospina, Krystian Bielik, Cohen Bramall, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Olivier Giroud, Alex Iwobi, Sead Kolasinac, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Donyell Malen, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Joe Willock, Granit Xhaka.
Although the youngsters are expected to start in Australia, Arsene Wenger will hand an opportunity to his first team regulars as well, including the new arrivals, against Bayern Munich in their International Champions Cup fixture.