Anytime an English club buys a player from the Far East straight away people jump up and claim that it is only so they can make a shed load of money from shirt sales and other ventures from that player. I think it is a real shame that the players’ ability gets totally over looked and that all people see is the money. Look at Ji-Sung Park at Manchester United. For years he has been a great player for them, and more times than not, picked for the big games. Now I am not foolish and am not going to say that United haven’t reaped the benefits from the merchandise that is bought in South Korea as he is a huge star over there, so much so that apparently he is the one who gets the most amount of fan mail at United.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was waiting for people to bemoan the signing of Kagawa as a money making transfer, even thought his stats for last season were better than Eden Hazard’s and in a harder league.
I remember when Arsenal signed Junichi Inamoto with everybody saying this was just to increase sales and spread the brand, and some of that may have been true back then, and I only say that as he didn’t make an appearance but did still have a career in England for sometime after and did make over 80 appearances for Japan so he wasn’t a bad player, just not good enough for Arsenal.
Two of my good friends are currently on their honeymoon in Japan and one of them sent me this tweet along with this picture
@f00tballmatters Look what I found in a football shop in Tokyo!
Ryo Miyaichi, who spent some of last season on loan at Bolton, has a lot is exception surrounding him both from Arsenal and in Japan. He has bags of talent, when on loan at Feyenoord he did so well that they wanted him again the following season, but Wenger decided to keep him with the intention of trying him in the first team, but when he didn’t he sent him on loan to Bolton hoping that he would have the same success as Jack Wilshere did when he went on loan there.
Undoubtedly sales in Japan will have increased thanks to Ryo but I truly believe that Wenger bought Miyaichi solely based on his football ability, something I know many Arsenal fans want to see some of next season. If he lives up to his potential he could be one of the best Oriental footballers to have played in the Premier League, or he may be another Inamoto time will tell on that.