Pre-season offers Arsenal's squad players the chance to stake a claim

With many of Arsenal's key players competing at the Euros or Copa América, there will be plenty of opportunities for those on the fringes to shine in pre-season.
Arsenal FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Aston Villa - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

As reported by James Benge of CBS Sports, six Arsenal players, who are not involved in international tournaments this summer, have joined Mikel Arteta for a pre, pre-season fitness camp.

Benjamin White, Jurriën Timber, Fábio Vieira, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah have all curtailed their holidays by joining Arteta in Marbella to work on fitness, three weeks before the squad are due to convene at London Colney for pre-season training. Club captain Martin Ødegaard is also due to arrive in the coming days, doing so later having featured for Norway in international friendlies against both Kosovo and Denmark earlier this month.

This'll be especially useful for Timber, who sat out almost the entirety of his debut campaign at the club due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear, his three appearances coming on 6 and 12 August and then on the final day against Everton, looking sharp during a 20-minutes cameo. Fábio Vieira too was hampered by persistent injuries, while Hale End trio Smith Rowe, Nelson and Nketiah could all depart this summer, having been used sparingly, seeing a miserly 475, 641 and 1,393 minutes of action last season respectively.

Brazil Training and Press Conference - CONMEBOL Copa America USA 2024
Brazil Training and Press Conference - CONMEBOL Copa America USA 2024 / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

In a busy day for Arsenal pre-season news, the club confirmed the Emirates Cup will return in August with two fixtures, taking on Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday 7 August, before facing Olympique Lyonnais four days later, both at Emirates Stadium. This doubles the number of pre-season fixtures in the Gunners' calendar, scheduled to take on Manchester United at SoFi Stadium in LA on 27 July and then Liverpool at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field on 31 July, with a rumoured third stateside game still yet to be announced.

That first game against Man United in Inglewood, California takes place just 13 days after the finals of both Copa América and the European Championships. The Gunners have 12 first-team players competing across these two competitions, with William Saliba, Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Jorginho, Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz playing prominent roles for teams who could go the distance.

So, with a youthful, depleted squad likely to be on tour stateside, those who struggled to get a look-in last season will get the chance to showcase their abilities. Karl Hein signed a new contract this week, which may not be big news, considering the Estonian has only made one senior appearances for the club, this in the EFL Cup. However, with David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale largely warming benches all across Germany for the time being, Hein may be the only senior goalkeeper available for the U.S. tour, so will be hoping to put in some impressive performances, before surely angling for a much-needed loan move.

The futures of Smith Rowe, Nelson, Nketiah and others may lie elsewhere, but Arteta will need these players during pre-season so who knows, a few impressive displays could change the manager's mind, or simply raise their values before an inevitable sale.