Pre-season tours are now seen as a perfect marketing opportunity for clubs given the worldwide appeal the Premier League has gained in the last decade. Whether clubs board for Singapore, Australia or USA the club wants all their marquee players upon arrival.
Manchester City has left on a private charter for their pre-season tour to the USA without four of their first-team regulars.
Aymeric Laporte, Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones and Phil Foden were not aboard the private charter to Houston ready for their opening game against Club America.
It is understood that Laporte has fitness concerns and is not ready for any action, while Gundogan and the two Englishman failed to meet the entry requirements set by U.S. authorities, likely to be related to the coronavirus vaccinations.
The United States require visitors to have undertaken two doses of the coronavirus vaccination before their arrival with the German international having only received one with the second advised against at the time following contracting the virus within the allotted time.
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Stones and Foden are likely to be the two players who have refused the 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 put down to contracting the virus.
The exclusions will instead head off to train with the Under-23s before linking back up with the first team squad in the week leading up to the Community Shield against Liverpool in the week before the start of the season.
That may lead them to a lack of match action before the game against West Ham on 7 August.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is included, however he is not expected to stay long after Arsenal’s bid of £30-35million has been accepted with the Ukrainian likely to join Arsenal’s pre-season tour in the States.
Although there is a goodbye to the versatile De Bruyne lookalike, City fans can celebrate as Nathan Ake and Bernardo Silva are anticipated to remain with City for the coming season.
There have been heavy links to Chelsea and Barcelona for the two players with Pep confirming his intentions for the two players to remain following a string of departures this window.
Thursday’s game with Club America may give us a chance to see if City are squad light come the start of the season and require some new additions barring the exclusion of the four previously mentioned.