And so the conjecture continues. No, no, not speculative tittle-tattle focused on which new wunderkind recruits are coming to the Arsenal in the January transfer window, I am talking about where we will tour next summer. Granted, it is still supposition but anything to turn our attentions from the endless stories linking us with the world and his wife (as well as those poor unfortunates heading for the Emirates exit).
So, out in Greece I met a couple of well-informed bods who are convinced we are off to Japan. People within the club have, apparently, told them it is the Land of the Rising Sun come July and, as we know, the Arsenal gals have just toured there (particularly enjoyed the highlights of the 5-0 triumph over Musashigaoka College…) and one could argue their little jaunt is a pre-cursor to the chaps travelling to Tokyo and beyond.
With the Olympics taking centre stage throughout the summer, Arsenal have cancelled the Emirates Cup next year which does free up more time to tour I suppose (the Euros will mean key players swerving any jet-setting one would imagine but if it is Japan expect Ryo Miyaichi to be on the plane).
But, wait, if you’ve got any horses please do hold them. Because yet another fellow travelling Gooner in Greece – again, one who has a pal within the club – reckons we’re off across the pond to the good ol’ US of A. I supposed hitting both destinations before next season is out of the question, although the Champions League losers the Mancs (the poorer of the two Europa League attendees) and the Pensioners from west London have done both America and the Far East in the past if my memory serves me.
Both theories have merit. Arsene speaks fluent Japanese having managed there and Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s majority owner, would surely like nothing more than to see us play under the stars and stripes.
Personally, I’d prefer the States simply because I was lucky enough to have toured Japan pretty comprehensively at the World Cup 2002 (spent endless hours in conversation with obsessed locals discussing the merits of Junichi Inamoto). One thing is for sure, the marketing machine which saw us tour Malaysia and China last time of asking will again send our heroes to enhance the global brand. The days when you could rock up in a quaint hamlet in Austria to take in the Alpine air and, indeed, on occasion, something a little stronger are long gone.
Anyway, Everton at home tomorrow and we are promised much pre-match hullabaloo to mark our 125th anniversary. We’ll be able to see the statues erected at the Emirates – Herbert Chapman, Tel and TA6 – and reflect that if the club decide to honour more Arsenal luminaries in similar fashion then tributes to Rocky and DB10 might be apposite.