Arsenal’s pre-season plans in chaos after US tour falls victim to Covid

Arsenal have reportedly cancelled their pre-season tour to the US after a small number of positive Covid-19 cases at the club.

They were set to travel this week to participate in the Florida Cup alongside Everton, Serie A champions Internazionale and the Colombian club Millonarios. The individuals who tested positive are asymptomatic and isolating at home.

A statement from tournament organisers said: “We are aware of the media reports this afternoon. We remain in discussions with all four clubs with the intent to deliver a safe and successful Florida Cup for both participants and fans.”

Arsenal were scheduled to take on Inter on Sunday and potentially face the winner of Everton’s game against Millonarios on 28 July.

“Following a small number of positive Covid tests among the planned party to travel to America tomorrow, we have sadly been forced to withdraw from the Florida Cup,” Arsenal said. “This difficult decision is based on ensuring the health and wellbeing of our players and staff.”

Mikel Arteta’s team started their pre-season preparations in Scotland and played two games, losing 2-1 to Hibernian and drawing 2-2 with Rangers. Arsenal’s training base was deep-cleaned on Monday evening, with the squad due to train on Tuesday in a controlled environment, and the PA news agency understands two behind-closed-doors friendlies will be hastily arranged.

Everton, meanwhile, said the midfielder Fabian Delph would not travel with the squad to Orlando “as a precautionary measure after coming into contact with someone who has since tested positive for Covid-19”.

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