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Arsenal forced to cancel pre-season tour of United States after Covid-19 outbreak at the club


Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal were due to take on Inter Milan this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal have reportedly cancelled their pre-season tour of the United States after several positive Covid-19 cases were recorded at the club.

The Gunners were scheduled to jet out for the seventh edition of the Florida Cup this week, a competition which this year also includes Inter Milan, Everton and Colombian outfit Millonarios.

According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, a ‘small number’ of positive cases – all asymptomatic – were recorded in Mikel Arteta’s travelling party, causing major disruption ahead of the new season.

The north London giants have been forced to look into alternative plans, with their opening match of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign away to newly-promoted Brentford on the horizon on August 13.

The Gunners’ preparations for the new season have been thrown into disarray (Picture: Getty)

Arteta’s men were due to take on Serie A champions Inter at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium this Sunday before facing the winner of Everton and Millonarios the following Wednesday.

There were already major concerns surrounding this summer’s Florida Cup after Inter informed the organisers they wished to withdraw due to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, according to Il Corriere dello Sport.

The Nerazzurri have been keen to avoid long trips overseas and reluctant to participate in crowded events.

Rafa Benitez’s Everton are still planning to fly out for the pre-season tournament as it stands.

It remains to be seen whether or not Inter Milan will take part in the Florida Cup (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal are yet to record a win in pre-season, suffering a 2-1 defeat in a tough opening match at Hibernian earlier this month.

The Gunners’ losing run looked set to continue away to Rangers at the weekend only for Eddie Nketiah to come on and rescue a 2-2 draw in the 83rd minute at Ibrox.

Arsenal will hope to be able to participate the Mind Series at the start of next month, with Arteta’s side preparing to entertain Champions League winners Chelsea at the Emirates on August 1.

Seven days later, Arsenal travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to take on bitter rivals Spurs, their final match of pre-season.

Arsenal have looked to the transfer market in the wake of an immensely disappointing campaign last term and Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares became their first signing of the summer on July 10.

Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga followed Tavares through the doors this week and it appears Arteta is intent on further strengthening before the transfer window closes.

Asked what type of player he intends to add to his squad after Arsenal’s draw with Rangers, the Spaniard told reporters: ‘We need some senior players, players with different types of leadership in the team, with different qualities, people that complement each other.

‘At the end of the day, it is about the cohesion of the team so we need a squad that is cohesive that can develop and adapt, that offers different qualities to change games, protect games when we need to and this is what we are trying to build.’


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