Sead Kolasinac has become the second Arsenal player to test positive for coronavirus while away with his national team as the international break places a heavy burden on Premier League squads.
The Bosnian Football Federation confirmed in a statement today that Kolasinac, 27, would play no part in their Nations League game against Italy tonight after testing positive for COVID-19 early on Wednesday morning. Goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic had already withdrawn from the squad following a positive test.
Kolasinac’s diagnosis follows that of Arsenal team-mate Mohamed Elneny, who was on international duty with Egypt when he tested positive. He is quarantining in Cairo and will miss Sunday’s Premier League game against Leeds United.
There is also doubt over whether Brazilian forward Willian will be able to feature in that match. He is the subject of an internal investigation at the club after he flew to Dubai during the international break. The 32-year-old was pictured with chef Nusret Gokce, also known as ‘Salt Bae’, at his restaurant Nusr-Et. He will have to return a negative coronavirus test before he is able to train with his team-mates.
However Willian will also have to explain why he left England at a time when outbound travel is restricted “except in limited circumstances such as for work or for education.” It has since been suggested that the Brazil international was in Dubai for image rights commitments he has in Asia. Arsenal will work to ascertain whether that was indeed the case with Willian facing internal disciplinary action if it transpires he made an unnecessary journey.
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To add to Arsenal’s troubles, they will welcome back captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from what has proven to be a draining international break. He and his Gabon team-mates were forced to spend much of Monday night in an airport in Gambia after what were said to be issues with his national team-mates coronavirus testing.
Arsenal were already facing injury issues before the international break though they are hopeful that Thomas Partey will shake off his thigh injury in time for Sunday’s game. Defenders Calum Chambers (knee) and Pablo Mari (ankle) have been working on the London Colney training pitches as they step up their recovery from long-term injuries.