Tuesday 24 May 2011

Changing times at Arsenal - an Asian tour?

Once the earthquake, tsunami and associated problems wrecked Arsene Wenger's 'plans' to take Arsenal to his former club, Nagoya Grampus, on tour, I thought that was it. No tour of Japan would mean we'll be in Austria again for this pre-season.

How wrong can you be? Although Japan is out of bounds for Arsenal right now, the rest of Asia isn't. Although that's welcome news for residents of Hangzhou, China and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Japan-based Arsenal fans will be very disappointed not to see the homecoming of Ryo Miyaichi. The youngster may well have a first team squad number this season, especially if Arsenal can secure him a work permit, which won't be easy as he hasn't played the pre-requisite number of games for his country to automatically qualify for one. However, Arsenal do have a chance of getting him a permit due to his exceptional talent.

The only thing is how do Arsenal convince UK Immigration? I mean, what do government officials know about football? I had the same problem trying to get them to issue a work permit to a Japanese national. They made my company jump through quite a few hoops before they would issue one and even then, they rejected the first application. They even started telling how much we should pay new staff and where we should advertise to recruit qualified people from the UK. They actually displayed an amazing amount of ignorance abt our business and were so against issuing a work visa initially that I was incredibly surprised that our member of staff eventually got a 5-year stamp in her passport.

So that experience makes me unsure we'll get Miyaichi a permit, this time around. UK Immigration seem to be awkward for the sake of being awkward, so I'm not at all optimistic.

I'm also not that optimistic about our chances of starting the season in good form after a trip to the Far East. Our players have been used to comparatively pre-season short trips with the club, but now they'll be whisked to the other side of the world. How will they react? We just don't know. It's a suck-it-and-see situation. But the decision was made by the money men, not Wenger. Let's hope they insist that Wenger uses the money earned from this lucrative trip to invest in the squad.

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