Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro has confirmed that the Gunners tried to sign Japan’s World Cup winning creative midfielder Mana Iwabuchi last season. Iwabuchi was a teammate of Vivianne Miedema, Lisa Evans, Leonie Maier, Manu Zinsberger and Viki Schnaderbeck at Bayern Munich and will face her former teammates when she suits up for Arsenal’s opponents Aston Villa this Sunday.
Arseblog News understood last January that Iwabuchi was a player of serious interest to Montemurro and Arsenal before the Japanese FA intervened and Montemurro confirmed our information in his pre-Aston Villa press conference. “That is correct, Tim. Mana was a player of interest to me for around 18 months or so. Firstly we had a few challenges with her national team who wanted their players in and around Japan for the World Cup and then the Olympics.
“Initially we had planned around that but then the Olympic games were cancelled and we had to look at other alternatives but Mana is a player I have always admired and feel that she suits our style and yes, we looked at her closely from an Arsenal perspective.” Arseblog News also asked for an injury update on Steph Catley, who started training outdoors again this week following hamstring surgery, as well as Kim Little, who missed the defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City with a hamstring strain.
“Kim we’re monitoring day by day but we think the Birmingham game (on March 7th) is more likely for her than Villa. Yes, we have Steph outside again training, which is great and we’re hoping to get some good training with her and we hope to see some light there in early April. She is ahead of schedule and progressing really well, the weather is getting better so they want to get back on the park!”