With the men’s Olympic football event set to kick-off next week, several Premier League stars are set to feature.
The 16 teams have each selected 22-man squads for the event, which will begin with Mexico versus France on July 22nd and close with the gold medal match at the International Stadium Yokohama on August 7th.
The participation of players at the Games could give several managers headaches ahead of the upcoming domestic campaign.
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Newly promoted Brentford host Arsenal on August 13th in the 2021/22 Premier League’s maiden game, just five days after the gold medal match in Tokyo.
Last month Liverpool refused to release Mo Salah for Olympic duty, batting away the requests of the Egyptian Football Association.
The club reportedly cited concerns over Salah’s long-term fitness, highlighting his likely participation at the delayed African Cup of Nations in January as a reason for burnout concerns.
With pre-season preparations well underway for most, here is every player set for a late return to their clubs, ordered by league finish last year.
Manchester United – Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo
Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be without the Ivorian duo of Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo as he prepares his side for the upcoming campaign.
Centre-back Bailly was forced to watch from the sidelines for much of last season, starting just 12 league games through a mix of injury and the strong partnership fostered between Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf.
Amad Diallo is set for a delayed start to his first full season at Old Trafford, having signed from Atalanta in January.
The young winger’s absence is unlikely to give Solskjær too many sleepless nights though, given the reportedly imminent arrival of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
West Ham – Winston Reid
Having helped London rivals Brentford secure promotion last season, Winston Reid is set to return to the Hammers next season after he returns from Olympic duty with Australia.
Reid has not featured for David Moyes’ side since 2018, but will be looking to break into the side as they venture into the Europa League next season.
Arsenal – Gabriel Martinelli
There will be little rest for Arsenal’s young Brazilian this summer. Having missed a large chunk of the Gunners poor campaign last season, Martinelli will line up for his country in Tokyo this summer.
Given the five day gap between the end of the event and the trip to Brentford, Mikel Arteta is unlikely to have the Brazilian available for selection.
If the 2-1 pre-season defeat to Hibernian yesterday is anything to go by, Arteta will be counting the days to his return.
Everton – Richarlison
Everton will be hoping that Martinelli’s compatriot, Richarlison, will avoid picking up any injuries when he turns out for Brazil at the games.
The club were reportedly reluctant to release one of their key men for the Olympics, especially given Richarlison’s participation at the Copa America.
The forward will be hoping for more success in his second tournament of the summer, after starting in Brazil’s 1-0 defeat to Argentina in the final.
Aston Villa – Douglas Luiz
Rounding out the three Brazilians registered for the Olympics is Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz.
The 23-year-old has been ever-present in the centre of the Villa Park side since his arrival in 2019, making 69 league starts across two campaigns.
Crystal Palace - Jay Rich-Baghuelou
Still yet to start a first-team match for the Eagles, Jay Rich-Baghuelou will nonetheless be travelling to Tokyo as part of the Australia squad.
The 21-year-old will be hoping to impress newly appointed boss Patrick Vieira in order to put himself in contention for Palace’s opening-day visit to European Champions Chelsea.
Southampton – Caleb Watts
19-year-old Australian Caleb Watts will join Rich-Baghuelou in representing the Aussies in Tokyo.
Watts made his debut for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side against Arsenal in January.
Brighton - Alexis Mac Allister and Tudor Băluță
In Alexis Mac Allister and Tudor Băluță, Graham Potter will have two players in Tokyo this summer.
Mac Allister, who made 21 appearances for the Seagulls last year, scored a fine goal from distance in Argentina’s warm-up match with South Korea on Tuesday.
22-year-old Băluță has only featured once for Brighton but is part of the Romania squad for Tokyo.
Burnley – Chris Wood
Sean Dyche will be keeping a watchful eye on the condition of Chris Wood when he turns out for New Zealand in Tokyo.
The striker has been ever-present for the Clarets under Dyche and a crucial cog in their top-flight survival, scoring at least ten in all four of his Premier League campaigns with Burnley.
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