Arsenal tour makes pre-season 'impossible' says Wenger
Gunners boss echoes complaint from Louis van Gaal during lucrative trip to New York
Arsenal and Manchester United may be on opposite sides of America but their managers are singing from the same hymn sheet.
Two days after Louis van Gaal made it clear that he would not countenance another pre-season like the one that has taken Manchester United to Los Angeles this summer, Arsene Wenger echoed those sentiments in New York.
He said that the demands of the Gunners' globehopping made it "impossible" to prepare for the new season.
"We've never been to the States before and I was very happy to come to New York, a city I love," said the Arsenal boss. "But for purely football reasons, the best thing to do is stay and not travel too much – because of the time you waste and the jet-lag you suffer."
His comments "echo similar complaints" made by Van Gaal during United's visit to Los Angeles, says The Guardian.
Arsenal's US tour has divided the squad, with several big names, including Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and, intriguingly, Yaya Sanogo left behind. French World Cup stars Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny are also absent. There is only one striker, Chuba Akpom, in the party and the defence is threadbare, although the midfield is almost at full strength.
The Guardian notes that Fifa's requirement that players have a four-week summer break means that Arsenal's German contingent of Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski "will almost certainly miss the Premier League opener against Crystal Palace so that they can have an extended rest period following their exertions in Brazil".
However, with soccer suddenly big business in the US after the World Cup made stars of the US squad and big names like Frank Lampard heading to MLS teams, English sides cannot afford to ignore an expanding market, says the Evening Standard.
Wenger "is aware his club need to crack America if they are to sustain their trophy challenges against football's petrol billionaires," says the paper. "And, so far, they are doing a good job of it."
A Q&A session with the squad attracted 5,000 people and Saturday's match against New York red Bulls and old-boy Thierry Henry is the first-ever sell out at the Red Bull Arena.