5 Arsenal players to watch during pre-season 

2 months ago 40

Next season is going to be crucial for everybody connected with Arsenal, not least Mikel Arteta, whose future could hinge on making a fast start to the campaign.

The 39-year-old started life at the Emirates well and ended his first season as a mager by winning the FA Cup. Victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield gave hope that the season could be fruitful but it did not take long for that to be proven to be a false dawn.

The Gunners woefully underperformed in a season that saw them fail to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years. They struggled against lower-rung teams and in attack, with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the biggest symbol of their woes.

The season could not end soon enough for the north London side and attention has now turned to how the club can make a success of the coming season.

Two signings have been made so far, with Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga both coming in. Meanwhile others like Matteo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanos have both been loaned out.

The club have already taken in two pre-season fixtures, losing 2-1 to Scottish side Hibernian and then drawing 2-2 with Rangers four days later.

Arsenal had initially planned to partake in the Florida Cup alongside Inter Milan, Everton and Millonairos but had to shelve the idea after a small contingent of the traveling party tested positive for COVID-19.

Pre-season friendlies have, however, been lined up against city rivals Tottenham and Chelsea before the resumption of Premier League duties.

A number of players could be fighting for their future at the club, while others with something to prove could also step up to the plate before the resumption of competitive football.

Here are five Arsenal players to watch out for during pre-season.

#5 Nuno Tavares

Nuno Tvares impressed against Arsenal before joining themNuno Tvares impressed against Arsenal before joining them

Nuno Tavares came through the famed Benfica youth academy and earned rave reviews upon his promotion to the first team.

The 21-year-old turned heads around Europe with his exploits down the left flank of defense and there was genuine interest in his services across the continent.

He ultimately joined Arsenal in July 2021 and will be looking to hit the ground running for his new club.

Kieran Tierney is the Gunners' first-choice left-back and the Scotland international does his duties effectively. Fitness issues have, however, limited his contribution and an able deputy is needed down the left of Arsenal's defense.

This is where Nuno Tavares comes in and he has already started positively by scoring against Rangers. Upcoming pre-season games against Premier League opposition could also give a first glimpse of his suitability.

#4 Albert Sambi Lokonga

Albert Sambi Lokonga is another new recruit who will be looking to hit the ground running at Arsenal.

New Arsenal signing Albert Sambi Lokonga is being backed to impress in the Premier League by Anderlecht sporting director Peter Verbeke...

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 21, 2021

The 21-year-old joined the Gunners from Anderlecht and is expected to provide cover in midfield for the defense, a position that has been a gray area for the club in recent years.

With Granit Xhaka rumored to be on his way out of the club, Albert Sambi Lokonga could be thrust into the fray immediately and pre-season offers him an opportunity to get in sync with his teammates.

Also See: Fabrizio Romano's Transfer Roundup: Arsenal's plans for midfield, Update on Barcelona's plans for Griezmann and more

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