Arsenal are planning to tour Scotland and Ireland in late August to early September as part of their pre-season plans for the next campaign.
Arsenal Fixture News report that the club are looking into a pre-season tour of Scotland and Ireland, in their preparations for the next campaign.
The club already know they’ll have August off, after a potential FA Cup final on the 1st. The rest of the month will involve Champions League and Europa League knockout matches, which Arsenal eliminated themselves from back in February.
The one upside of that situation is they can start planning for pre-season now. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to co-ordinate with other clubs around Europe right now. Almost every top league is in a different situation to the others.
The Bundesliga are closing in on the conclusion of their season, with one match left before the campaign ends this month. Meanwhile, Ligue 1 already called their season off, crowning PSG champions after 27 games.
Both of those countries will begin their summer holiday significantly earlier than the UK, and probably return to action before Arsenal’s pre-season even begins.
Spanish football clubs are training again, with La Liga kicking off a few weeks ago. Italy only just restarted their season this week, so they’re lagging behind. Trying to find multiple top clubs on the same schedule as Arsenal willing to face them in pre-season won’t be easy.
International Champions Cup is off
Last summer, the Gunners played in the International Champions Cup over in America. They faced Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Real Madrid, as well as playing a friendly against Colorado Rapids. Then they returned to Europe to play Lyon, Angers and Barcelona.
There’s no chance of another ICC this summer, as the competition organisers confirmed back in April. The lack of clarity over social distancing and travel restrictions at the time, along with the timetable clashes mentioned above, made it an impossible task.
Instead, Arsenal are on their own to organise opponents, so they’re looking a little closer to home.
Is a tour of Scotland and Ireland the solution?
It’s not as if Arsenal playing in Scotland and Ireland comes without its problems. First and foremost, the Scottish Premiership followed Ligue 1’s lead in cancelling their season early. As things stand, they’re planning to return to action for 2020/21 in August.
So by the time Arsenal reach pre-season, the top clubs in Scotland will be unavailable.
Perhaps the Gunners can just face English teams in Scotland, similar to when they took on Chelsea in Ireland in 2018. Alternatively, maybe the Scottish teams can squeeze in a friendly between their competitive matches.
In Ireland, the League of Ireland Premier Division works on a calendar year basis. So when football does return, they’ll get right back into their current competitive season. Once again, it’s hard to see how you fit in friendlies with Arsenal.
It’s one for the Arsenal organisers to puzzle over for the next couple of months.