Arsenal players are set to return for pre-season training on August 22, just seven days before the Community Shield brings the curtain up on the 2020/21 season with Mikel Arteta’s side facing Liverpool.
It will mean the Gunners have had just 21 days of celebration and relaxation between their FA Cup win over Chelsea and their return to training ahead of what will be another gruelling season in which they compete for silverware on multiple fronts.
Indeed some of Mikel Arteta’s squad will gather before next Saturday for initial fitness tests and sessions with some of those whose seasons ended earlier because they were out on loan due to report at London Colney this Friday (August 14).
The club have also provided sessions for those like William Saliba whose domestic seasons were cut short due to the coronavirus. Arsenal’s youth teams have already returned to training.
Arsenal also intend to organise behind closed doors friendlies though these may come in the two week gap between the Wembley showpiece and the start of the Premier League season.
It will be a far cry from the pre-season Arsenal had initially planned, one which would have seen them play fixtures on America’s east coast.
However it may come with its advantages for Mikel Arteta, whose squad will be able to spend more time on the training pitch and less on in the commercial obligations and travel that increasingly dominate top clubs’ agendas before the new campaign.
Of course Arsenal’s players will not get as lengthy a break as they might have hoped for, although equally many of Arteta’s first team would have been involved in the European Championships or Copa America but for the global pandemic.
Their holiday period also fulfils Arsenal’s minimum obligation to their squads. Standard Premier League contracts state that clubs should not “unreasonably refuse” players from taking three days of annual leave consecutively though there is an acceptance across the game that further extended breaks will prove to be impossible after COVID-19 forced the domestic season to run until August 1.