Arsenal have cancelled their pre-season tour to the United States following a number of positive Covid-19 cases at the club.
While in the USA the Gunners were scheduled to compete in the Florida Cup, alongside Inter, Everton and Colombian side Millonarios FC.
However, those plans have now had to be scrapped. According to the Athletic, a small number of the travelling party have tested positive for the virus and the club have taken the decision to call off the trip.
The news is a significant blow to Arteta’s pre-season preparations. The Florida Cup would have seen them step up the intensity as they were set to play Serie A winners Inter on Sunday 25 July. Depending on the result, they then would have progressed to the final or third place match against one of Everton and Millonarios.
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It is not clear what Arteta intends to substitute the club’s US tour with. The Gunners pre-season is already well underway, though. They kicked off with a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Hibernian before playing out a 2-2 draw with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.
The potential delay in fixtures means that Arsenal fans will have to wait a little longer to witness new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga in action. The 21-year-old midfielder recently arrived from Anderlecht for around £15m plus add-ons and supporters are excited to see what he will bring to the fray.
Lokonga is unlikely to be the last new face through the door at the Emirates Stadium this summer. After seriously underwhelming last season, limping to an eighth placed Premier League finish, they are set to spend big in the summer transfer window.
They are particularly keen on recruiting younger English players with Leicester City’s James Maddison, Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale and Brighton’s Ben White among their top targets.