Arsene Wenger has confirmed that new signing Alexis Sanchez is set to miss out on Arsenal's pre-season training camp in Austria due to visa issues.
Sanchez has yet to meet his new teammates after joining from Barcelona for a fee reported to be in the region of £35 million. After reaching the latter stages of the World Cup with Chile, Sanchez was given an extended break.
Having finally returned from his holidays, he is set to train in isolation until Thursday. That is because he is set to arrive just hours after the Arsenal team fly to Austria for a pre-season training camp.
The camp, executed at high altitude, is seen as a key part of Wenger's training plans. The intense sessions are supposed to provide the fitness base for a long season ahead.
With Arsenal's marquee signing missing out, it is not the ideal start to life for the 25-year-old. Wenger confirmed there is nothing wrong with Sanchez's fitness, but visa issues will prevent him from joining up with the squad.
Quoted in the Daily Mirror, Wenger said: “I don’t think Sanchez will come to Austria because he has to go to Paris to get a visa, so he will only go to London Colney on Tuesday and we come back on Thursday, so he will work in London.”
It leaves Sanchez fighting to be match fit before Arsenal's Community Shield game against Manchester City on August 10 and may even see him added to the absent list for the Premier League opener against Crystal Palace a week later.
Wenger has already confirmed that World Cup-winning trio Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker are set to miss both games due to their exploits in Brazil. Adding Sanchez to that list will be another significant blow.
However, while Tony Pulis's Eagles will represent somewhat of a mediocre challenge to the Gunners squad, the crucial game comes a week later where Arsenal travel to Goodison Park. Arsenal lost 3-0 in the same fixture last year and Wenger will be under pressure to guide Arsenal to a much better result.
Wenger admitted: “The real work starts now and then the Emirates Cup this weekend. The problem is our pre-season will be very short; these post World Cup years are a nightmare for us because we have no preparation.”
Although Arsenal may be without four key players for Manchester City and Crystal Palace, there are some players itching to get going again. One such player is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who failed to make an appearance at the World Cup with England thanks to succession of injury problems.
“I wanted Oxlade-Chamberlain to have a good basic work because he lacked that a little bit last season," Wenger said.
“We haven’t done a lot of training in the last two days so I wanted him to have a good basic work and stay with the fitness coaches.
“Sanogo didn’t come because he had a little thigh problem and we didn’t want to take a gamble.”