Mikel Arteta has fielded questions about the fitness of Arsenal star Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s potential switch to Chelsea at his Friday press conference.
Arsenal are back in action on Saturday as they host Leicester City in the Premier League. And Arteta has several things to think about when it comes to selecting his starting eleven.
This includes a possible debut for summer signing Fabio Vieira, the fitness of Takehiro Tomiyasu and whether Emile Smith Rowe should start.
During his pre-match press conference, Arteta was asked about the trio. He replied (via football.london): “They’ve been reintegrated into training this week all of them. Some of them will be in the squad tomorrow.”
The coach was then asked about Scotland full-back Tierney. He came off the bench in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace amid his recovery from a knee injury.
And it seems Tierney is in line to start this weekend, with Arteta saying: “He played 15/20 mins last week and did really well. He looks in perfect condition now and ready to go.”
Tierney’s return will be a big boost for Arsenal as he provides them with width and can also put in some deadly crosses from the left flank.
However, the Gunners will not be able to field Reiss Nelson. On the winger, Arteta said: “He felt something in training and the doctor came with bad news. Hopefully he will be back soon.”
Mikel Arteta verdict on Aubameyang joining Chelsea
Attention then turned to former Arsenal skipper Aubameyang. Arteta got club chiefs to sell the striker in January following several disciplinary issues.
Aubameyang could now return to the Premier League with Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea. The Blues are in talks over his signing, and Thomas Tuchel admits to having a ‘close bond’ with the goalscorer.
When asked about Aubameyang’s exit, which has appeared in the new All or Nothing documentary, Arteta said: “It’s a long time since that happened. I cannot go back each time there is a series. I have made my comments on that.
“What has been done has to defend the club and put it in the best possible position.”
He continued: “Auba is an exceptional player. He did so much for us.
“I hope he gets a good reception (if he goes to Chelsea) because I think he deserves that.”
Arteta then spoke about centre-back William Saliba. Reports claim he is in line for a new contract after forcing his way into Arteta’s plans.
“We will address all these issues,” Arteta revealed. “Edu and the board will be addressing all the issues that you can possibly face. We want players who will be happy here.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal may have to rush through the capture of Youri Tielemans amid claims he is growing impatient while waiting for them to make a move.