The Athletic report that Lino Sousa has travelled to Switzerland with the Arsenal first-team squad ahead of their game away to FC Zurich.
The report adds that the situation may be similar to when Sousa travelled to Germany in pre-season, giving him matchday experience and an opportunity to feature in training, regardless of whether he ends up in the actual squad.
That seems likely, as it currently appears that Sousa is ineligible to play for Arsenal in the Europa League during the group stage.
The defender isn’t in the squad list on the UEFA website, either in the main squad list or List B (for u21 players) which was fully confirmed on Wednesday.
This is a frustrating situation, as there was space to name Sousa in the squad if Arsenal had wanted to.
Gabriel Martinelli was eligible for Arsenal’s List B, given he was born after 1st January 2001 and he’s been playing for the Gunners for longer than two years.
If Arsenal had named him on List B instead of the main squad, they would have had an extra space available for Sousa.
Arsenal couldn’t name Sousa on List B, as he’s been at the club for less than two years. So after they left him out of the main squad – which is now fixed until the end of the group stage – it was impossible to add him back in.
There’s hopefully some explanation for the decision, other than Arsenal simply making a mistake, but we haven’t been given one.
For now, it’s a bizarre situation where one of the club’s top youngsters is with the squad in training and flying to Zurich, but he seemingly can’t play the match.