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Mesut Özil to be part of International Champions Cup

If it has to happen, I’m glad he’s there.

Atletico Madrid v Arsenal FC - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Second Leg

The World Cup is over, which means it’s time to turn our attention back to all things Arsenal, because soccer never stops, ends, or really even takes a break. Combine that with the fact that Arsenal’s preseason training is in full swing - starting with an 8-0 win over traditional first-friendly-of-the-season Boreham Wood on Saturday - the spigot of team news is slowly creaking open again for another season, soon to be a firehose.

Arsenal’s preseason this year is largely comprised of its participation in the International Champions Cup, a series of friendlies played all over the world that have been given artificial weighting by being called a cup, because nothing in sports is allowed to be trivial any more. They’re basically PR exercises, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just more wear and tear on player bodies that, in a lot of cases, haven’t gotten a ton of rest thanks to international commitments.

One player who got more rest than he wanted, though, was Mesut Özil. The German international, of course, exited the World Cup earlier than he desired this year, which means he actually did get a reasonable break to rest and recharge following the end of his Cup adventure.

Arsenal, it turns out, are beneficiaries of that early exit. Unai Emery announced today that Özil - as well as Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny - will be traveling with the club as they head to Singapore next week to kick off their participation in the ICC. They fly out Monday, and their first game against last year’s Europa League winner Atletico Madrid will on July 26. Two days later their second match, again in the Singapore National Stadium, is against Kylian Mbappe’s PSG, before they head back close to home to wrap up their ICC commitment on August 1 in Dublin against Chelsea.