Sead Kolasinac has become the latest casualty of the international break
Arsenal full-back Sead Kolasinac has become the latest Premier League player to test positive for coronavirus during the international break.
Kolasinac will now be unavailable for Arsenal’s meeting with Leeds United this weekend after he was withdrawn from the Bosnia and Herzegovina squad to face Italy on Wednesday night.
The 27-year-old is far from the first Arsenal player to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic during the international fixtures.
Mikel Arteta will also be without Mohamed Elneny this weekend after the midfielder tested positive while on duty with Egypt.
And winger Willian will have to return a negative test before he is allowed to train again after he travelled to Dubai during the break.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was also caught up in coronavirus-related complications after he and his Gabon team-mates were forced to sleep on an airport floor in Gambia due to reported issues with the squad’s Covid-19 testing.
The loss of Kolasinac is unlikely to have a significant impact on Arteta’s team selection for the trip to Elland Road as he has only started one Premier League game so far this season.
But he has been a regular in the Europa League team and may now be absent for the club’s trip to face Molde in Norway next week.
Meanwhile, Arteta has said his players “need” the return of fans to the Emirates Stadium, adding that the absence of crowds is making it harder for his squad to be engaged and motivated.
"It is definitely affecting the players," Arteta told the club website. "Now, for example with the lockdown: you win at Old Trafford, you feel excited, your adrenaline is really high, you go home and you want to celebrate, you want to do something, but you just go home, by yourself – some of the players live by themselves – and you go home, sit on the sofa, and that’s it.
“Without creating that chemistry between players and fans, for them to believe, for them to see live what we are trying to do, it is complicated. We need that. The players have to feel, ‘Wow, these guys are really behind us, they are really pushing, they are liking what we are trying to do… I feel more motivated, more engaged, I want to participate’ – and we are lacking that.”