Arsene Wenger has lavished praise on the Asia Tour 2013 after a successful preseason tour that put both the youth and senior members of the squad in a good position ahead of the new season.
The Gunners beat both an Indonesia and Vietnam international side before facing two Japanese clubs, and after positive results in all the fixtures Wenger feels the trip has been more than justified.
The promotional aspect of the tour handed fans from Asia the opportunity to see their stars in the flesh, but it was not all about events and signings for the players who were made to work hard in the intense training sessions through the humid conditions that will bode well for their preseason preparations.
The Frenchman told Arsenal Player:
Everyone played well, and the youngsters who came with us did very well. We created plenty of chances in every single game, and that is very positive.
With our combination play you can see that the players are used to playing together and it is just now a case of going back and recovering well.
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[Off the pitch] it has been unbelievable. When you think of Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan and how popular football – and Arsenal – is around the world, it is a great experience for the players to realise that. The fans are always enthusiastic and in a very positive way. It is a massive surprise to us.
The targets were [two-fold]: one to have good preparation and two to give a great image of the club. I got congratulations from all the people I know here for the behaviour of the staff and the players. It is a great compliment.
The Gunners are returning to London to participate in the upcoming Emirates Cup tournament this weekend and will look to push on with their preparations.
While Wenger maintains the tour has been a success, I can’t help but wonder whether it has hindered our chances at securing a top signing. The Gunners failed to bring in Higuain with Napoli forking out the extra £2-3m for his signature recently, meanwhile two bids have tested the waters with Suarez however no talks have yet taken place and we are nowhere near signing anyone. The Frenchman likes to be heavily involved in the transfer process however while he’s gallivanting around Asia the Gunners are failing to bring in any top talent.
But for the time being focus must be on the squad at hand, and with the Emirates Cup this weekend it will be a good chance for players young and old to step up against some strong opposition.