Arsene Wenger has revealed how summer signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud will not be fit enough to start the new Premier League season for Arsenal.
The attacking duo, who arrived at the Emirates Stadium for a combined £24million fee, both returned to pre-season training late after the European Championships, and so missed the Gunners' tour of Asia.
Having now reported back for training in north London, Wenger has warned the club's fans that they may have to wait a while before seeing Arsenal's newest recruits in action.
"Podolski and Giroud may take longer than expected," explained the Frenchman. "I cannot play them in pre-season so I will ease them into the Premier League."
Asked to shed light on the fitness and futures of a number of his first-team players, Wenger revealed his intentions to sell the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Ju Young Park, and Sebastien Squillaci, but indicated that Andrey Arshavin may still have a future at Arsenal.
"Bendtner, Squillaci and Park will be on their way to go somewhere. Arshavin, it depends, we have to sit together and talk. He could still have a future at the club."
He added: "[Bacary] Sagna will be short for the start of the season and [Tomas] Rosicky will not be back until September, in my opinion. Rosicky did fantastically well for us at the end of the season so it is a big blow. The injury he has got comes from the European Championships.
"Theo Walcott and Gervinho are both ready, they are sharp physically. Defensively we have work to do as we were not stable in any of the games. That is where we have work to do. A lot of work. Apart from that, we should have scored more goals from the chances we had but that will come from physical sharpness."
One player that has been a major plus point for the club is 19-year-old midfielder Thomas Eisfeld. The former Borussia Dortmund starlet arrived at Arsenal in a £420,000 deal in January, and so impressive have his performances been this pre-season, that he could be knocking on the first-team door come the start of the Premier League campaign.
"Eisfeld is composed, intelligent, mobile, he makes the game come alive," said Wenger. "I think every time he came on you could see something straight away. He has an impact on the game.
"He makes himself available and his passing is intelligent and he is good in the box. You cannot teach a player that. He earns maximum points on this trip."
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