Arsenal have confirmed that manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.
The news comes not long after the Premier League confirmed their intention for all games to be played as normal this weekend.
Arteta’s diagnosis however is set to cause chaos with the Gunners admitting a number of their current fixtures are unlikely to go ahead as planned as the club goes into temporary lockdown.
“Our London Colney training centre has been closed after head coach Mikel Arteta received a positive COVID-19 result this evening,” an Arsenal club statement read.
“Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.
“We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days. In the meantime our Colney and Hale End training centres will undergo a deep clean and our other club sites are operating as normal.
“We will work with Public Health England on the next steps in regard to our facilities and staff, and with the Premier League, Football Association and relevant clubs around our forthcoming matches in the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup.
“It is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates. We will update supporters who have tickets for forthcoming games with more information as soon as possible.
“We are now working to trace any other people who have had recent close contact with Mikel. We will let them know what has happened and they should follow the NHS guidance which is likely to recommend self-isolation.”
It’s understood that Arteta had no contact with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has also tested positive for coronavirus, last month during the two club’s Europa League meeting.
Despite testing positive for coronavirus, Arteta remains fully focused on returning to managing Arsenal as soon as possible.
“This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly,” Arteta said. “I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”
The Gunners were scheduled to face Brighton on Saturday but that is now set to be postponed with the Premier League to hold an emergency meeting on Friday morning to work out how to proceed with this weekend’s games.
News of Arteta’s diagnosis follows on from reports that Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy is self-isolating after a relative of his found themselves at the centre of a coronavirus scare.