MIKEL ARTETA fears the season is on a knife-edge due to Covid-19.
Five England stars have tested positive – as well as a spate of Premier League aces.
On Thursday, Paul Pogba and Tanguy Ndombele returned positive results for Covid-19.
Arsenal boss Arteta also had the virus in March.
Asked if the new season was already at risk, he said: “Yes, we are going to have many more cases.
“There are uncertainties we cannot control."
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It is understood at least seven Premier League clubs have seen at least one player test positive or have players in quarantine.
Any increased spikes could cast doubts over the scheduled September 12 return of the top-flight.
SunSport exclusively revealed Chelsea stars Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Fikayo Tomori are all in quarantine after meeting up on the Greek island of Mykonos.
Fellow Blues’ stars Ross Barkley, Jorginho, Michy Batshuayi and Emerson are now also following protocol and staying home as Chelsea battle a number of cases of the disease in the camp.
New defender Thiago Silva even opted to undergo his medical in Italy instead of France as he quit Paris Saint-Germain for Chelsea on a free transfer.
Having the checks there would mean an immediate move into self-isolation under anti-Covid rules.
Meanwhile, Arteta has defended Arsenal’s backroom cutbacks while offering massive new contracts to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian.
Some Gunners stars were unhappy with the decision to make 55 lowly-paid backroom staff redundant after they had taken a 5.7 per cent pay cut in April to protect jobs.
But boss Arteta insisted: “We had to make the decision to get our players to contribute to the pay cuts during the Covid period and they were happy to contribute.
“But that doesn’t mean that you are going to have a say in every decision made by the club. It doesn’t work like that.
“As players, this club’s been supporting us, in my case for many years, whether we were injured, sick, performing or not performing.
“So we have tried to do the right thing as human beings to help the club in this difficult financial position to maintain some of the jobs.”
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