ENGLISH Premier League giants Arsenal are resigned to not having Super Eagles playmaker Alex Iwobi available for their US pre-season tour and possibly the start of the forthcoming 2019/20 season as a result of Nigeria’s success in the ongoing African Cup of Nations.
Yesterday, Nigeria qualified for the semi finals of the biennial tournament currently taking place in Egypt with a 2-1 victory over South Africa. Subsequently, the Eagles will play the winner of the Algeria vs Ivory Coast game in the semi finals on Wednesday July 14 and if they win that match will feature in the final on Friday July 19.
Arsenal’s squad flies to Los Angeles today ) to begin an American tour that will also see them play games in Denver, Charlotte and Washington. Head coach Unai Emery usually gives his players who participate in international tournaments a three week break when they return, meaning that Iwobi may not be available for when the Gunners play their opening fixture against Newcastle on August 11.
So far, Iwobi has been having an excellent tournament, scoring one goal and providing most of Nigeria’s creativity going forward, meaning he will need a proper rest after the Nations Cup. With six goals and nine assists to his name across all competitions last season, Iwobi is gradually becoming an important part of the Arsenal side , so the club will be looking forward to his services during the forthcoming campaign.
Iwobi was a regular during Emery’s first season at the club, often competing with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey for one of the attacking slots behind Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, like several other England-based players including Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi, Brighton’s Leon Balogun and Stoke City’s Oghene Etebo, Iwobi may miss the opening of the current season.