The Far-East has been the destination of all of Arsenal’s promotional pre-season tours. They have in visited Indonesia, Malaysia and China in the past, this year sees them add Japan to the list.
From the evidence of the last two tours and the schedule of the upcoming tour Arsenal head to Asia with a two pronged strategy. The first strategy is to head into a less developed football country. This is to establish Arsenal as the number one supported team in that country.
The first pre-season tour focused on this strategy only. The second strategy is for the team to travel to an already Premier League crazy country.
For example last season they travelled to China and this season they will be heading to Japan. The idea behind this is to claw back fans from other Premier League teams. The Asian market is one of the biggest markets and most European sides want to make their money here, so expect many more trips to the Far-East and possibly India in the future.
There are two other things which clubs need to become the most popular team in the Far-East, one being that the club needs to be successful on the pitch.
This being a major problem for Arsenal as they have not won anything for a while now. In this area other clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City have caught up a little. In terms of the Premier League, Manchester United are head and shoulders ahead of any team.
Obviously if Arsenal start to win trophies again they will naturally gain more followers. The other interesting thing that clubs have been doing is to have players in their team from these countries.
Once again Arsenal has failed with these plans. The past recruits Junichi Inamoto and Park Chu Young have been failures. The less said about these two players the better. It had been rumoured that Arsenal would be going on a pre-season tour to South Korea last season, but later changed these plans due to their unpopularity from not playing Park Chu Young.
The latest signing from the region is Ryo Miyachi, a player many Arsenal fans have high hopes for, the boy who had been unfairly dubbed the Japanese Cristiano Ronaldo. Fans of Feyenoord the club where he spent his first loan spell were left very impressed, enough even to give him a few standing ovations in his short time at the club. This was followed by two relatively mixed loan spells at Bolton and Wigan.
Miyachi raced Theo Walcott in pre-season last year and matched the English man stride for stride. He seems to have all the abilities needed to become a very good Premier League player but may need to build up a little bit of strength, having been unlucky with injury this campaign.
His poster boy looks will also help establish himself in the minds of the Japaneses public. If he can adapt and perform for Arsenal then they will take a very big step in their aim of maximising profits from the Far-East. Given all this he is probably the one player who Arsenal’s board would like to succeed.
image: © yoppy