I'm not all that impressed with big, commercial pre-season tours into distant lands. Real preparation in the quiet backdrop of Austria seems a lot more beneficial. But Arsenal's latest tour of east Asia is particularly concerning considering the "light" squad that went abroad.
It's understandable with the recent Euros why Arsenal's new signings and important figures didn't travel to east Asia. An international tournament is always likely to come back and haunt a team, and there's very little blame that can be placed at the door of a club's management.
But Arsène Wenger's latest comments that Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, among others, are unlikely to figure early for Arsenal in the league is beyond ridiculous.
Barcelona suffered greatly last season because the team had to travel to America for a tour. Clubs are benefiting from the exposure and income that comes with a big pre-season tour. The ramifications, however, are felt on the pitch midway through the season.
Arsenal fans would have been hoping to avoid a repeat of last season's mess, and the club have made signings to steer clear of any similar embarrassment. But the club have failed to put together a good pre-season schedule in favour of a money-spinning tour. The squad was weakened, and Arsenal's important figures are yet to play a competitive pre-season game.
The club have also had trouble in recent weeks with regards to putting together a last-minute friendly, with little available on such short notice. The players who went away to the Euros will therefore have to be eased into the squad during the Premier League campaign.
Now, many supporters will be thrilled with the transfer business of the club so far. The club are strengthening in the right areas and the moves are ambitious. But where's the sense in potentially forfeiting a good handful of points before the season has begun?
I couldn't care less about fans in America, China or Mordor. Based off of last years figures, the income from Arsenal's tours is not that impressive. Do the club really need it? Sure, the benefits may come further down the line through an increase in merchandise and even sponsorships. But it seems like the team are taking the hit for a number of "clever" ideas to bring in extra revenue.
The main priority is the league season, and Arsène Wenger has done well to lead the club to a host of important signings. Half the job is done. But all of that transfer business will amount to little if the club are throwing in the towel, letting other clubs know that Arsenal are at a disadvantage in the race for a top four place.
A lucrative tour in the summer can be a good move for a club if properly prepared. But it seems that Arsenal have failed to take into account the recent international tournaments and the effects they would have on the squad.
With only one friendly left before the season starts, too many of Arsenal's key figures are in that area of uncertainty with regards to fitness.
Written by Thomas Hallett
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