Arsenal’s Wenger heading ‘home’ to Japan

TOKYO (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is preparing for a homecoming of sorts when he brings his English Premier League team to Japan for a friendly against Nagoya Grampus, club officials said.

The match will take place at the Toyota stadium in Nagoya, central Japan, on July 22 and will be the first time an Arsenal first team has played a match in Japan in more than four decades.

Gunners boss Wenger, who coached Nagoya for 18 months in the mid-1990s, helped guide Nagoya to the runners-up spot in the J-League and won the Emperor’s Cup during his time in Japan.

“Nagoya is a special place for me,” said Wenger in a statement issued by Nagoya in Japanese. “I have so many sweet memories of my life in Japan, sharing our successes with the Grampus.”

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“I cannot believe that we can play against Nagoya Grampus, which I coached for two years. I’m really happy about it. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again.”

Nagoya coach Dragan Stojkovic, who played for Grampus under Wenger, said: “I’ll be very glad to see him again. It’s a great honour to play Arsenal, one of the best clubs in the world.”

The trip to Japan is part of Arsenal’s pre-season Asia tour, which also includes a visit to Jakarta.

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