Mikel Arteta insists EVERYONE in his 33-man pre-season squad will be given a chance to fight for their Arsenal future… with Gunners boss laying down challenge to fringe stars like Nicolas Pepe to seize opportunity
- Every player in Arsenal’s pre-season squad has a ‘clean slate’, says Mikel Arteta
- The Gunners boss is ready to give every player a chance to prove their worth
- Arteta has taken an oversized squad of 33 for the pre-season trip to Baltimore
Mikel Arteta insists everyone in his bloated Arsenal squad can have a future at the club.
The Arsenal boss ended last season with a hollowed-out group of around 17 after selling fringe players and shifting senior figures such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Several players – such as Hector Bellerin and Lucas Torreira – looked destined for the exit door having returned from loan spells this summer, while the likes of Bernd Leno are Nicolas Pepe are expected to leave.
Mikel Arteta is not willing to rule any player out as he casts an eye over his side this summer
But Arteta included them in his oversized, 33-man touring party for this pre-season trip to the United States and the manager said everyone will be given the chance to prove their worth.
‘The message is: this is a different season and everybody has a clean start,’ he said.
‘Show us what you can do on the pitch, how you’re going to behave with your team-mates, are you going to make the car faster – yes or no?
Nicolas Pepe looks set to leave but he will be one of 33 in the US making their case to play
‘If you do you have a chance to be here… for me to send a different message to the group was to be very, very inconsistent with what we demand.
‘So they’re in the group, or they’re not.
‘They’re part of us, they’re contracted to the club, we want the best out of them and at the moment they’re with us so we’re going to treat them like this.’
That is despite Arteta’s insistence that Arsenal still want to add new faces this summer.
Hector Bellerin has returned from a loan away and he will have a chance to prove his value
His squad already includes summer signings such as Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira, while Oleksandr Zinchenko is expected to join from Manchester City.
Having so many players on tour could pose a problem for the manager as he prepares for the upcoming Premier League season.
But Arteta insisted: ‘We have made it practical so far and at the same time we have really, really good people – they have given everything when they play, when they don’t play, and when we are not using them.’
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