Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson are set to be given one final chance to stake their claim to remain at the club, after being included in the squad for the pre-season friendly against Boreham Wood. A Gunners XI will take on the National League outfit in the pair's annual summer fixture to help open the non-league side's new £1m pitch – but it could be an equally significant night for a handful of the North Londoners' squad.
The group led by Under-23 coach Steve Gatting includes a clutch of first-team players such as Gibbs, Jenkinson and Mathieu Debuchy. Chuba Akpom and Jeff Reine-Adelaide are also set to be involved, while Krytian Bielik and Eddie Nketiah – who went on the pre-season tour to Australia and China – could make an appearance.
Gibbs, Jenkinson and Debuchy had been thought to be surplus to requirements at Arsenal, having all been identified as players who could be offloaded to make room for new arrivals. The Daily Mail understood this month that the trio were among eight players that could be sold in order to finance moves for additional signings, including Monaco's Thomas Lemar – though a deal for the winger now appears to be dead in the water.
Between them, Gibbs, Jenkinson and Debuchy made just 13 Premier League appearances last season and the game at Meadow Park is expected to represent their last opportunity to force their way into the reckoning before the new campaign begins. Gibbs has been linked with moves to Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, while Jenkinson and Debuchy attempted to force through exits in January but to no avail.
The three players were left out of the Arsenal squad that played four matches in Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing – where they were beaten 3-0 by champions Chelsea. The first team take on Benfica and Sevilla in The Emirates Cup this weekend before facing on Antonio Conte's Blues for a second time in the Community Shield at Wembley.
While Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is still considered his options in the transfer market, Boreham Wood boss Luke Garrard is finalising his preparations for his team's new campaign, which begins against Flyde on 5 August.
"I am very excited, they are going to bring a competitive under-23s squad, with a number of first team players, the likes of of Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy will be here and that is very exciting," said Garrard.
"We are used to that year-on-year with the Arsenal XI coming here and I think that it is going to be a special occasion because it is the official opening of the pitch. It is massive to have Arsene Wenger here, and the FA Cup is coming as well, so it is going to be a chance for us to put on a showcase for them."