There were eyebrows raised when Arsenal confirmed their US tour party would include several fringe members of the first team squad at the expense of up-and-coming talents from the Academy.
While the likes of Charlie Patino, Salah-Eddine and Marcelo Flores might feel disappointed to miss out, Mikel Arteta has made it clear that the policy is to treat all those with first team contracts in exactly the same way.
That means the likes of Bernd Leno and Lucas Torreira, both close to departing, have been training in Baltimore and Florida and returning loanees like Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Pablo Mari and Hector Bellerin have been given minutes on the pitch.
“Every player that is contracted by the club is treated the same way,” Arteta told Hayters ahead of the Gunners’ friendly with Orlando City.
“Everybody has said from day one, they have a clean sheet to start to build what they want to build at this football club.
“Then we have to make decisions in relation to their needs and the level that they’ve shown.”
As things stand, the Gunners have 32 senior players on the books and will soon add Oleksandr Zinchenko, the Ukraine international, from Manchester City.
“We’re certainly going to need a bigger squad than the one we had last season and whether it is the right number right now, that’s the question,” said the boss.
In the past, he’s spoken of a desire to trim down to 22 outfield players and three keepers but he wouldn’t be drawn on a specific number this time around.
“I cannot tell you,” he replied when asked about his ideal squad size. “I’m going to focus on the players that we have so far.”
He also wouldn’t be drawn on whether Zinchenko will be wearing Arsenal colours this season.
“There is no update with anybody and when there are updates with anybody, we will let you know.
He added: “We’re looking at different options in different positions and we’ll give you an update when we have one.”