Arsenal’s Dubai training camp: Transfers, squad plans & who is going

Sharjah,UAE - February 10: The view of Sharjah Skyline at Sunset on february 10, 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Rustam Azmi/Getty Images)
Sharjah,UAE - February 10: The view of Sharjah Skyline at Sunset on february 10, 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Rustam Azmi/Getty Images) /

The break from Premier League action comes at a welcome time for Arsenal who need to step back and take stock of their current situation after a January to forget.

Going the entire month without a victory, including elimination from two cup competitions and a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Burnley, came as a reality check after strong late December showing.

A week long warm weather training camp in Dubai will allow key players to build their fitness back up with Mikel Arteta’s squad heavily depleted by a combination of injuries, Covid absences, suspensions and players away on international duty.

As per Charles Watts, some players have already flown out with their families for some down time ahead of the first training session on Thursday, while even injured members of the squad, including Takehiro Tomiyasu, have also linked up with the 30-strong contingent for more than just training.

What are Arsenal doing in Dubai? Transfer strategy, training regimes, who is involved and what the plans are when they return to London

Team bonding sessions have also been arranged, as well as the occasional sponsorship event, in what is aimed to bring the squad together ahead of the final 17 matches of the Premier League season.

There will be no matches played over in Dubai and instead the plan is to organise a behind-closed-doors match as London Colney after they return on February 2.

This is a group that appears to be unified already, but for some, like Tomiyasu, they missed out on pre-season and this period away can be almost viewed as a mini version of that.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not join the travelling party as his future continues to be subject of intense speculation, with a permanent or loan move being worked on ahead of January’s transfer deadline. Meanwhile, Charlie Patino, for example, will be in the group.

The hope is, come Monday, that new arrivals will be able to link up with their new teammates in Dubai, which is why technical director Edu and director of football operations Richard Garlick have remained at London Colney to continue pushing for vital new additions.

Arsenal want to sign a goalkeeper, a midfielder and a striker, with the deal closest to completion being New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner. The American is being eyed as the new backup stopper for Bernd Leno, who is subject of interest from Newcastle this month.

Contrary to some reports, Arteta did not fly out to Denver to meet with Stan Kroenke to discuss a contract extension, and instead the meeting centered around what budget he has to spend this summer to land his much-desired new centre-forward. The two primary candidates, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alexander Isak, will both cost upwards of £60m each.

Next. Another one bits the dust. dark

Given the evident fitness struggles of a large number of the squad, this downtime, extended due to Arsenal crashing out of the FA Cup, will be vital to get everyone up to speed as they make their final push for a top four place in the Premier League.