Emi Martinez Among 4 Arsenal Players Late Back to Pre-Season Due to Isolation

Four Arsenal players have been self-isolating since returning from their summer holidays, delaying their start to pre-season. That number is thought to include goalkeeper Emi Martinez, who emerged as a hero in the closing stages of the 2019/20 campaign.

Anyone arriving in England from a country not named on the UK government’s list of safe ‘travel corridors’ must quarantine for 14 days before they are allowed to go out in public.

As the Community Shield approaches against Premier League champions Liverpool this weekend, Arsenal have had a depleted squad during pre-season because some players have not been able to link up with the whole group in order to observe the necessary isolation period.

The Gunners might have fancied their chances upsetting the odds at Wembley for a second time in a matter of weeks, having beaten favourites Chelsea in the FA Cup final at the start of this month. However, Liverpool have had more time off and also don't appear to have been particularly affected by an alleged positive coronavirus test during their pre-season trip to Austria.

According to The Sun, there are four players who had to start pre-season late, delaying their preparations for the new campaign and potentially putting them behind where they would otherwise hope to be in terms of fitness and sharpness.

The tabloid notes that Martinez needed to isolate for two weeks following his holiday in Portugal. He has completed that and so is okay to play in the Community, but it is suggested he could be at risk of losing his place to usual number one Bernd Leno due to a lack of training.

The 27-year-old Argentine has spent a decade at Arsenal and was loaned out six times before finally getting his chance in recent months. Losing his place now would be a major blow, although The Sun does acknowledge that the Gunners are ‘relaxed’ about his situation.

The other Arsenal players who have been isolating are not named, although new but not yet announced signing Gabriel Magalhaes has also been quarantining and it is not clear from the reports if he is one of the four.

The Brazilian is ready to be unveiled as an Arsenal player after a £22m switch from Lille was agreed earlier this month, but the need to isolate is the likely reason for the delayed announcement.

Chelsea have been hit harder as a result of six confirmed cases among the squad. It was reported earlier this week that Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic and Fikayo Tomori are among a number of players isolating. The Daily Telegraph has since added Jorginho, Emerson, Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley to that list, although it isn’t known which six have tested positive and which others are isolating as a precaution.

Elsewhere, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele have also recorded positive tests this week and have had to go into isolation, derailing their pre-season.

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Source : 90min