Thursday, July 7, 2022

Asano Olympic call-up confirmed, Iwobi staying home

Japan have confirmed that Arsenal new boy Takuma Asano will be part of their 23-man squad for the Rio Olympics.

Asano, who is set to sign for the Gunners from Sanfrecce Hiroshima once he’s undertaken his medical, will play his final game for his current club on 17 July before meeting up with his fellow Olympians two days later.

Japan are set to play friendlies against Brazilian domestic side Club Sportivo Sergipe on 27 July and Brazil’s under-23 side on 30 July before tackling Group B opponents Nigeria in their opening match of the Rio Games on 4 August.

Japan also play Colombia and Sweden on 7 and 10 August respectively. Asano will join up with Arsenal once his country’s campaign is over. It’s thought he could then be sent out on loan.

Elsewhere, it looks as though Alex Iwobi won’t be heading to Brazil.

Despite being selected in Nigeria’s 35-man provisional squad, coach Samson Siasia says the player and his father have recently stopped answering his calls.

“Alex Iwobi is not coming. I tried to call his father, but he wasn’t picking my calls. He used to call me frequently when he wanted his son to play for the country, but now that we need his son for the Olympics football tournament, he is not picking my calls,” Siasia was quoted as saying by the AfricanFootball website.

“But there is no problem, Alex remains my boy, I love him like my own son, but I am just disappointed that he and his father couldn’t keep the promises they made to me.”

There were rumours last month that Iwobi was worried about losing his place in the Arsenal team should he miss pre-season and the start of the new Premier League campaign.


Tip of the cap to @Ryo_Cleverfish for the heads up.

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To be honest it doesn’t sound like Awobis father is a very reliable person. Had our struggles with dads who acted as agents in the past. Hope this won’t be another case in this tradition.

#YOLO Toure

Help me Alex Iwobi…You’re my only hope.


Damn. Curving your national team manager takes balls.

Bould's Eyeliner

Just goes to show what a hot prospect Iwobi is, and what he can mean for his country. Otherwise, goodbye international career.

Dope. Can’t wait to see Iwobi when he’s tearing up the midfield when he’s 25+

John C

To be honest the whole way Iwobi and his family have dealt with his international allegiance has painted them in a pretty poor light in my opinion. He pledged to play for Nigeria despite playing for England at numerous age levels the moment he got in to the first team and talk of a new contract surfaced because it suited him and could possibly double his wage even though the ramifications with missing large parts of the club season where obvious. Then the moment Nigeria wish to call him up during part of the club season he doesn’t show up… Read more »


Sensible decision by Iwobi – he will get his chances this year. As a side, I’ve never understood why football, tennis etc are in the Olympics. For me it should be sports where your Olympic gold medal would be the crowning achievement of your career and under 23 football, half-arsed tennis and the like cheapen the spectacle compared to the sprinters, rowers etc


Tough one. Based on that definition, boxing wouldn’t be in there even though it’s one of the core staple Olympic sports.

Harish P

I can sort of see where you’re coming from in a way but it would cheapen the Olympics NOT having those popular sports in.


The way Olympic football is set up now with U23 teams is definitely a bit crappy. For me they need to either go all out and allow full national teams to play (which would definitely not be accepted by FIFA in fear of cheapening the World Cup) or by going completely the other direction and go amateur or something.


Well, it’s hard to judge Iwobi. He and his father must think not going is the best for the lad. As a Nigerian, I would have preferred he played at the Olympics because international tournaments have a way of adding character and exposure to a player.


Iwobi is a clever lad. Well done.

Little Mozart

Understandable from Iwobi though a bit disrespectful (if you believe the Nigeria coach). Iwobi will be most valuable to the club early season when covering for Alexis during the latyer’s delayed start. After that, I’m hoping someone like Draxler will be keeping Iwobi out of the side.


The First game of the season will be nearly 7 full weeks after the Copa America final, so I don’t really see Alexis missing any games early in the season, especially because well… it’s Alexis. Any of our players who make it to the final (so possibly Ramsey, Özil, Giroud, Koscielny) are more likely to miss a couple of weeks after being given extended breaks.

Parisian Weetabix

Honestly I’d rather Iwobi got so good he kept Draxler out of the side.


I get the allure of the national team but clearly what’s better in the long term for his career is further establishing himself in the Arsenal set up. A chance at an Olympic won’t do nearly as much for his career. Tough move for him to make but I would say the right one

The Only Olivier is Giroud

Nigeria’s coach being like “Hey I just picked you, your runs are mazy, it’s the Olympics, so call me maybe?”

I accept the “this comment has been hidden due to low rating” status of this comment with the appropriate amount of shame. *hangs head*

Gunner From Another Mother

Well done.


Proud of Iwobi for picking us over them. He’ll have plenty of chances to shine for them in the future but the best place to ensure that is at Arsenal.


I’m pretty sure he didn’t abandon his country in favour of Arsenal. He’s just missing one meaningless tournament in order to improve his first team chances. And if he did turn his back on his country for us, why would we be proud of that?


It is the right decision no doubt about that, but conveying that decision by not answering your damn phone is not the right way.
Welcome to pre-season


maybe Siasia is like that boyfriend who just won’t take no for an answer and keeps calling and calling and calling …


Good career move for Iwobi in my opinion. I’m not African or Nigerian so I wouldn’t know, but I would assume that AFCON (not the next AFCON for obvious reasons though) and the World Cup are top priorities for the national team, not the Olympics. In the long term, Iwobi will become a better player if he can take his first team chance and that will ultimately benefit Nigeria. And in any case he’s already committed to them because he’s played competitively. Good choice and let’s hope he takes his chance. I think wenger would have signed mkhitaryan if he… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Unlike the World Cup, african teams like Nigeria really compete for the olympic title. Nigeria has won it in the past. It must be an important competition for Nigeria.


It is an important tournament for us. And if what Siasia is saying is true, I will be disappointed that Iwobi chose us (AFC) over us (Nigeria).
With him and Iheanacho, I have high hopes for the Olympics.


Maybe he’s got the wrong phone number 😉

Hopefully will get to see some of the Olympic matches that Japan plays to see the new guy in action.

Alex Iwobi

‘I wonder when Arsene will give me back my phone? He said it was just a quick call when he borrowed it’


I hope this doesn’t have more repercussions for Iwobis international career. I’m personally happy he’s not going as it makes is that much stronger at the start of the season but it feels a bit scummy to threaten a young players chance at first team football so he doesn’t go off to represent his country (even though he isn’t obligated to do so by FIFA). I mean what if Alex had gone and had an amazing showing at the tournament?

Saucey Nigerian

’18-man squad’ blogs, not 23.

Saucey Nigerian

The Olympics register 18 players not 23


If by chance you watched the Toulon competition, he was the star player for the Japan team, but will get a better view of him Takuma at the olympics


“Mr Iwobi, I want your son to play in the Olympics”



I would like to think this is the start of players understanding that going on pointless international junkets like pre/post season u21 and Olympic tournaments is a waste of time and frankly insulting to the poor b*ggers who pay their wages.
Wilshere might have been better off doing the same. How can training with the likes of Dier and Henderson make you a better player?

Bould's Eyeliner

I think it’s fair to say that it’s not pointless. International honors are important, to the player, and especially more so to countries that are not used to claiming glory or being a top seed at international tournaments, Nigeria being one of them. As a Korean-American, I definitely can understand the sentiment as both national teams I support are underdogs. While the ‘training’ so to speak may not be better than Arsenal’s regimen, a chance to play with different squads, under different circumstances is never a bad thing. Neither is going through a full knockout tournament, and giving a young… Read more »


Ha ha!! This!!
This my be his only chance for international soccer in 3-4 years so I really agree with you.

By the way, you should expect such a comment from someone whose country apparently never plays at the Olympics.


I don’t blame you, people that say international matches are pointless are people that their national team is completely wack!!! Clockendrider are you there? English you.


Good for the old work permit thing aside from football.

Scott P

That’s a good question actually… Does this U23 side count as a call up for the national team in work permit terms?


Poor Wobes. I don’t answer the phone to Nigerian numbers either.


No Nigerian number even calls you man, who are you again? The president?


I like how you called him “man” but refused to capitalize it. Take that, man!

David C

Iwobi might be nervous about the zika virus. Rory McIlroy and tons of NBA players have backed out of the Olympics because of it.

Sad for Nigeria, but great for Arsenal’s season. Iwobi will likely play in Sanchez’s position until that ankle shrinks a few sizes.


First thing I thought. This is not a trivial matter, and may make refusing a call up justifiable. Nevertheless, respect would merit a call.


I appreciate his eagerness to work hard for the club and get a full pre-season, but not answering calls from your manager is a bit shitty.

Niall Shannon

I’m wondering if it was just Iwobi’s dad ignoring the calls and not Iwobi himself. Samson Siasia only mentions calling Iwobi’s dad and he was not answering the calls.


Shameful from iwobi and his clan.his uncle jay jay okocha did the olympics and won them and went on to do do a very good career. Arsene is not the kind of manager that would deprived him of his chances once he is back and fully fit. Totaly bad moves if we are honest. he is arming his rep in his country also. and reminds me of the likes of kevin prince boateng . Players from african origin who use african national teams to enhance their values and then when they got the deals , can decide to turn up… Read more »


Representing your country at any point is a big responsibility. All of us are taught that at some point. I think he should go, as long as nothing bad happens to him, like injury or loss of form. However, I completely understand his logic on not wanting to lose his place in the club’s first team. It is a better prospect with longer term benefit to him and his career.


Am a die hard gunner and a Nigerian and irrespective of the fact that I want him to succeed at Arsenal, if you can betray your country, you will betray your club. This is not a call to serve in the Nigerian Army, it’s a call to help your country succeed at international level.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Rooney and Kane betrayed England on the pitch. Hope what you said holds true and they betray their respective clubs.

David Hillier's luggage

Plenty players haven’t given a toss about international football yet have never ‘betrayed’ their club. That twat Ryan Giggs comes to mind, betrayed his brother but never Utd.

David kushner

I still dont understand the signing of Asano. Surely Arsenal have academy players who would have been better served.


Do the Olympics count as international apps for work permit purposes?


Good point. I think they do. and if he is as good as they say, we might see him in red and white sooner.


That is not a good attitude to a coach at any level. Moreover the tournament is meant to make him a better player and raised his value. Am sure if he puts in a man of the match performance in the matches he featured in, Arsene won’t have a choice than to continue featuring him. Wish him success anyway. Asano vs Nigeria. Can’t wait to see that striker we have being anticipating in action against my country ……. Nigeria 3:1 Japan….. Consolidation goal scored by Asaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaano…..


Let’s put it in perspective,Neymar will be representing Brazil.


I think if you are from England/Great Britain, it’s easy to dismiss the Olympics since your country never attend. For other countries, it is a big deal so lets understand the context before being dismissive. here are reasons why I think this is not a sound decision on his part. 1. Olympic Football is HUGE in Nigeria. The gold medal in 1996 is seen as the country’s biggest achievement to date and fans have been longing for another Major success for a while now. This olympics is seen as a big opportunity. 2. Nigerian fans can be unforgiving if they… Read more »


Am waiting when he will soon get the abuse from these Arsenal fans praising you when he starts having bad games… To me I won’t wish him luck and won’t wish him bad either but he led over 180 million Nigerians down


International football is a waste of time. Load of bloody flag waving and badge kissing.


No work permit issues w Iwobi, he was born in UK

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