Arsenal could be without teenage star Alex Iwobi for the start of the 2016-17 season after the ...
Arsenal could be without teenage star Alex Iwobi for the start of the 2016-17 season after the midfielder revealed he is eager to play for Nigeria at this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The 19-year-old has broken into manager Arsene Wenger's first-team squad recently and been impressive, scoring in both of Arsenal's most recent Premier League games and putting in a very mature performance against Barcelona in the Champions League, per WhoScored.com.
Iwobi made his competitive debut for Nigeria last week in defeat to Egypt—up until which he was eligible to play for England—and he has now revealed his desire to play at the Olympics, per Goal's Shemmy Sholabomi:
I am looking forward to the forthcoming Olympics and if I am invited, I will do my best to make a meaningful contribution.
I believe that Nigeria has a crop of excellent players who are capable of doing great things at the Olympics. Coach Samson Siasia deserves a lot of praise for securing a place for the nation at the Olympics.
I do not have any regrets whatsoever in opting to play for Nigeria and will always do my best whenever I put on the green white green colours of Nigeria. I hope to be involved in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers too.
The men's football tournament at the Olympics is scheduled to begin on August 4, with the final set for August 20.
With the new Premier League season starting on August 13, Iwobi would undoubtedly miss a chunk of the start of the 2016-17 campaign should he take part in Brazil, as he would need time off to recover after the Olympics as well.
Arsenal are not obligated to release Iwobi to compete at the Olympics. However, they are surely unlikely to stop him from competing in such a major event, particularly as it would provide excellent experience for such a young player.
Though he has emerged as a potential star of the future in recent weeks, Arsenal are not yet reliant on him playing week-in, week-out but his return to the side after the opening few matches could then provide a boost in the autumn.