Wednesday, July 25
By Josh James in Beijing
Day Four of the Asia Tour 2012, presented by Emirates, and the Arsenal bandwagon has rolled into China.
The players, coaches and staff arrived at Beijing Airport just after 9am local time on Wednesday, ready to be whisked away to the luxurious team hotel, where they were, of course, greeted by a gaggle of excited fans.
Having departed Kuala Lumpur immediately after the 2-1 comeback win over the Malaysian national team, the players were sent to relax in their rooms upon arrival, prior to a busy three-day schedule in the Chinese capital.
After lunch, Arsène Wenger and Ivan Gazidis were joined by Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta to meet the assembled media. What a welcome - and unusual – sight it was to see a room full of journalists at a press conference sporting Arsenal tops, by the way.
The manager remained tight-lipped when quizzed on transfer news ("I'm ready to talk a lot, but not a lot about transfers") however he did reveal Arsenal's spending was not finished this summer.
Both players then took part in a series of one-on-one interviews - Vermaelen's Chinese Warrior video on Arsenal Player has gone down especially well with the local journalists - before retiring to their hotel rooms.
City are in town to play the Gunners on Friday, and some of their players - including old boy Kolo Toure - joined forces with Arsenal to help raise money at the charity auction in aid of the AI You Foundation, which supports children with leukemia.
Walcott and Vincent Kompany each drew a cartoon on stage to be sold to the highest bidder. The pictures were sold as a pair (for about £3,000) but there's no doubt that Walcott's piece - which he called 'Love Football, Love Arsenal' - showed much more artistic flair.
A small victory for Arsenal ahead of Friday's friendly perhaps.
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