Arsenal down to bare bones? Another defender departs on loan
Arsenal see North London derby postponed
There was outrage across social media as Arsenal saw their north London derby away to Tottenham postponed at the Gunners request, due to Mikel Arteta’s side not having enough players.
However, with only one covid case in the squad at the time (there has since been another), many felt as though they should have played and used their youth players, although the club themselves were well within their rights to ask for a postponement.
Tottenham themselves were outraged too. In a statement, they claimed:
We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved.
We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of COVID cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and our application to move our Leicester fixture was not approved – only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied.
The original intention of the guidance – here – was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that, when taken together with injuries, would result in the club being unable to field a team.
We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID.
We may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule.
It is important to have clarity and consistency on the application of the rule.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 15, 2022
And now, they could be further frustrated.
Mari set to leave on loan
This comes as Arsenal are set to let a third first team player leave the club on loan, in the form of Spaniard Pablo Mari.
The defender is set to join Udinese, and in the process follow Folarin Balogun and Ainsley Maitland-Niles out of the Emirates exit door this window, further depleting their squad in the process.
Udinese have completed the agreement with Arsenal to sign Pablo Marí on loan until June. Deal set to be signed. 🤝🇪🇸 #AFC
Pablo Marí will join Udinese on straight loan – no buy option included. @DiMarzio
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 17, 2022
Mari had not played since the second game of the season, and had dropped well down the pecking order in Arteta’s mind. However, with it only being a loan, a decision will have to be taken in the summer.