Arsenal chiefs have decreed that Gunners stars must stay at home despite finishing a 14-day isolation period after head coach Mikel Arteta’s positive test for the coronavirus.
In a message on the club’s official website to the worldwide family of Gooners, it was announced that players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Lacazette and Mesut Ozil are being told to stay away from the training HQ.
“Our men’s first-team players were scheduled to return to training on Tuesday (March 24) after completing 14-days isolation following Mikel Arteta’s positive diagnosis for the virus. As a result of the current situation, we are clear it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to ask players to come back at this time. Therefore, our men’s first team, women and academy players are all remaining at home.”
Arteta is on the mend and has lifted the lid on his time after testing positive. He told Spanish TV station La Sexta:
“I’m very well now, I feel that I have recovered. It took me three or four days to start feeling much better and with more energy, to leave the symptoms behind and now, the truth is that I feel very well.”
He added that the news of his positive test came about quite quickly, adding:
“Everything happened very fast. On Tuesday afternoon I was feeling so-so and I went to see the doctor but he wasn’t there. I got a call from the board of directors after training while I was in my car and they told me that the president of Olympiakos had tested positive and everyone that had been in contact was at risk.
“I went on to tell them that I wasn’t feeling well and that we had a situation because we had lots of players that had been in contact with Olympiakos. We had a game against Manchester City the next day and obviously we couldn’t put lots of people at risk without saying anything.
“I had the test done last Wednesday and I was diagnosed on Friday, when we had to communicate it to the Premier League that I had tested positive. Obviously all those that had been in contact with me had to go into quarantine, and consequently, games had to be suspended.”
Meanwhile, the Gunners’ hierarchy have been applauded by fans after revealing that they plan to pay workers who might miss out on wages because of the suspension of football and the closure of the Emirates Stadium in the wake of the Premier League currently being moth-balled as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to spread.
The statement continued:
“We will continue to pay matchday and non-matchday casual workers on our payroll up to April 30, 2020. This gesture reflects our gratitude to them and our desire to ease their financial concerns during this challenging period.
“This will be reviewed once the relevant authorities have made a further decision on when football can resume. All football is currently suspended until at least April 30.”
And Gunners managing director Vinai Venkatesham added that all at the club were
“truly grateful for the outstanding efforts of all our staff across the club every day”,
“We rely on their tireless service to provide a first-class experience for our fans, on matchdays and non-matchdays. These are challenging times for everyone, but in particular our casual workers. This gesture is intended to ease their financial uncertainty while football is currently suspended to April 30. We look forward to welcoming football back to Emirates Stadium as soon as possible.”