English Premier League football club Arsenal is making Japan part of the club’s pre-season Asian Tour, where they will play a friendly match against J-League side Nagoya Grampus. The club’s first team has not played in Japan since May 1968 when they played four matches against different Japanese teams.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is no stranger to Japan and to their opponents, having managed Nagoya Grampus for 18 months between 1995-1996, before moving on to become Arsenal’s manager, going on 17 years now. He said that Japan and Nagoya are very special to him and that he is looking forward to see old friends again during their summer visit. “Japanese people are extremely knowledgeable about football and have a big passion for the sport, and I know that the English Premier League and Arsenal have many supporters in Japan,” Wenger added. He also said that the current squad is excited to finally meet their Japanese supporters. They will be playing at the 45,000 capacity Toyota Stadium in Nagoya on July 22.
Earlier this year, Wenger said that he is looking to Japan to discover new talents for his club. He has a knack for signing unknown talents and developing them into strong players. He has signed a few Japanese players for Arsenal, but they haven’t been as successful as expected. Junichi Inamoto only made a few appearances for the club before moving to Fulham while winger Ryo Miyaichi is currently on loan to Wigan and hampered by various injuries.
[ via Arsenal.com ]