Pre-season tours are now seen as the perfect marketing opportunity for clubs, given the global appeal the Premier League has acquired over the past decade. Whether the clubs embark for Singapore, Australia or the United States, the club want all their big name players when they arrive.
Manchester City went on a private charter for their pre-season tour of the United States without four of their first-team regulars.
Aymeric Laporte, Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones and Phil Foden were not on board the private charter for Houston ready for their opener against Club America.
It is understood Laporte has fitness issues and is unprepared for anything, while Gundogan and the two Englishmen have failed to meet entry requirements set by US authorities, which may be linked to vaccinations against the coronavirus.
The United States requires visitors to have undertaken two doses of coronavirus vaccinations before arrival, with the Germany international having only received one, the second being advised against the moment after contracting the virus within the given time frame.
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Stones and Foden are likely the two players who have been refused vaccination status, with their insistence on not being vaccinated coming at a cost, with Foden’s absence from June’s Nations League games against Hungary and Germany due to the contraction of the virus.
The outcasts will instead leave to train with the Under-23s before joining the squad’s first team in the week before the Community Shield against Liverpool in the week before the season begins.
This may lead to them missing out ahead of the game against West Ham on August 7.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is included but is unlikely to stay long after Arsenal’s offer of £30-35m is accepted, with the Ukrainian likely to join Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the States -United.
Although there is a farewell to the versatile De Bruyne lookalike, City fans can celebrate as Nathan Ake and Bernardo Silva are set to stay with City for the coming season.
There have been close links with Chelsea and Barcelona for both players, with Pep confirming his intention for both players to stay after a string of departures this window.
Thursday’s game with Club America may give us a chance to see if City are light at the start of the season and need any new additions, barring the exclusion of the previously mentioned four.