Krystian Bielik was a notable absentee from Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the USA, which departed earlier this week.
Immediately, the majority of Arsenal fans on social media lost their heads. There had been rumours – almost entirely from The S*n – that Bielik had made up his mind to leave, and this apparent ‘snub’ proved those claims were true.
The real reason for the defender’s absence is much more boring. Bielik played his final game of the season for Charlton on 26th May, before travelling to the u21 European Championships until 22nd June, when Poland were eliminated.
As a result, Bielik hadn’t had any time off, and footballers are required to take a minimum of three weeks – Arsenal usually give them four.
It hadn’t even been three weeks when the Gunners set off on tour, so Bielik was still on holiday, as he proved with his next Instagram post:
The same is true of Matteo Guendouzi, who is also missing out on the tour, but who doesn’t generate the same headlines surrounding a departure.
I know what you’re thinking: What about Reiss Nelson?
Nelson’s case is different. Whilst he did take part in the u21 Euros, just like Bielik and Guendouzi, he’d already had a break prior to the tournament. Nelson didn’t have any matches with Hoffenheim after 18th May, so he had over a week’s headstart on the other two.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Bielik isn’t still unsettled at Arsenal. David Ornstein (via Arseblog) recently relayed reports from Polish journalists that the player doesn’t feel encouraged about his future at the club and he wants to move on.
The suggestion is Bielik will hold talks with the club when he returns, and his future will be decided then. The only point I want to make here is that his absence from the tour means nothing, it’s just the rules.