Arsene Wenger, ever a fan of playing “the long game” rather than focusing on the right here and now, is taking exactly that approach with regards to the Arsenal players whose international sides made a deep run at EURO 2016.
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Aaron Ramsey‘s Wales and Mesut Ozil’s Germany advanced to the semifinals of EURO 2016, while Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and the rest of France advanced all the way to the final, where they suffered major disappointment at the hands of Portugal.
Even with Arsenal’s 2016-17 season-opening fixture, against Liverpool at home, set for Aug. 14, Wenger hasn’t balked at his personal belief that players who endured a full Premier League season, followed by another month and a half of international football, need a full four weeks to “regenerate” in order to come back fully fit for the next season — quotes from the Guardian:
“You consider the rest time because France had a long, long go and I believe that they need four weeks’ holiday because they need to recover from that.
“It takes you two or three weeks to regenerate … to recover completely, and they need to come back with hunger. That disappointment to lose a final, it takes some time to recover from that.
“I believe the club benefits from experiences at the top level, and the mental experiences as well that they have gone through with such a huge pressure. Of course, in the longer term you benefit from that.”
With Wenger expected to operate on the conservative end of the transfer market once again this summer, the legendary Frenchman should find himself operating with a shorthanded squad against the Reds on opening day. The Arsenal blogosphere will react to this in a measured, restrained manner, we’re sure.
The status of Alexis Sanchez, who suffered an ankle injury in Chile’s Copa America final victory over Argentina, remains unknown, but the Chilean would make five surefire starters unavailable for the season opener if he is not fully fit 30 days from now.