30 July 2012 17:07
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits that Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud will not be ready for the start of the Premier League campaign.
Arsenal’s preparation for the new season has not gone as planned, with the club completing a tour of Asia with a 2-2 draw against Hong Kong champions Kitchee on Sunday, but a friendly in Nigeria planned for the weekend was cancelled, leaving just one match left against Cologne.
Wenger had last week revealed Jack Wilshere would not return until October, and explained that many of his players may not be ready to start the new season, having stayed home during the tour.
“The players who were out here will have had enough games but some players will have only one game,” he said.
“Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud may take longer than expected. I cannot play them in pre-season, so I will ease them in the Premier League.
“Bacary Sagna will be short for the start of the season and Tomas Rosicky will not be back until September, in my opinion.
“Rosicky did fantastically well for us at the end of the season, so it is a big blow. The injury he has got comes from the European Championships.”
Meanwhile, Wenger said he would hold talks with mercurial winger Andrey Arshavin to decide if the Russian has any future at the north London club.
The 31-year-old forward spent the second half of last season on-loan at former club Zenit St Petersburg, having been heavily criticised by a section of Gunners supporters.
Additionally, the Russia captain had been expected to leave the club this summer, to create funds for further arrivals after the signings of Podolski and Giroud.
Nevertheless, Wenger has not ruled out keeping Arshavin, a 15-million-pound signing in January 2009, at the club, despite him not being included on the club’s tour of the Far East.
“Arshavin, it depends. We have to sit together and have talks. He could still have a future at the club,” Wenger said.
However, other bit-part players have been deemed surplus to requirements, most notably French defender Sebastien Squillaci and South Korean forward Chu-Young Park, both of whom have failed to impress since arriving from Sevilla and Monaco respectively, while Danish international striker Nicklas Bendtner, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, is also available for transfer.
“Bendtner, Squillaci and Park will be on their way to go somewhere,” added Wenger.