Arsenal lining up £15m Japanese tour
Published 23:00 22/02/11 By John Cross - EXCLUSIVE
Arsene Wenger is set for a pre-season tour of Japan after finally being persuaded to go on a money-spinning trip.
Arsenal boss Wenger has always refused long-haul overseas pre-season trips, claiming a low-key spell in Austria is better preparation for his players.
However, Wenger has come under increasing pressure to go further afield to promote Arsenal and the club are now exploring an offer to make a week-long trip to Japan at the end of July.
Arsenal have also had big-money offers to go to the United States but the Far East is the preferred option, having watched Chelsea try and fail to crack America in the past few summers.
Japan is the favoured destination and they are far down the line in negotiations as they believe it would provide great marketing opportunities - there is huge interest in Arsenal and they recently signed Japanese teenager Ryo Miyachi.
Wenger also managed in Japan before replacing Bruce Rioch as Arsenal boss in 1996.
Arsenal have set aside dates for the trip on a schedule that still has the Emirates Cup booked in at the start of August.
Arsenal's American-influenced hierarchy - major shareholder Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis - see a high-profile foreign trip as a great marketing opportunity and the club believe the Far Eastern trip could net them an astonishing £15million.
Meanwhile, Arsenal could be facing a fixture nightmare as they try to chase an unlikely quadruple.
If Arsenal beat Leyton Orient in their FA Cup fifth round replay, then draw at Manchester United in the quarter-finals, the replay at the Emirates has been penciled in for the weekend of March 19-20.
That would mean postponing the Gunners' Premier League trip to West Brom and creating another headache and backlog as Arsenal pursue the title.