Arsène Wenger believes the Club’s pre-season tour of Asia will be a vital part of his squad’s preparations for the new season.

The manager welcomes his players back to training next week and will get his first chance to assess them ahead of the trip to China and Malaysia.

Arsenal play a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur on July 13 before taking on Chinese side Hangzhou Greentown three days later and Wenger is confident the week long trip will lay the foundations for the 2011/12 campaign.

“The group will live together in a completely different environment so it is very important to have that kind of experience together,” the manager told at the end of last season.

“It is an opportunity for us to develop our game, to see what shape the players are in when they come back and also to see any new players that we have. It will be important to see how well they can integrate with the team.

“We will take the best possible squad. We travel after the first week of training [and] everybody will be back so the whole squad will travel.”

For the past ten seasons, Arsenal have made the relatively short journey to Austria for their pre-season training camp rather than heading off on long-haul tours.

Wenger admits he was against the idea of a lengthy trip at first but accepts that reaching supporters in the Far East is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

“I resisted for a long time but, as the Premier League becomes more and more a world league, it is important that we develop our fan bases,” said the Frenchman.

“China is a massive country where football is developing. The Premier League is a world brand and you don’t want to miss out in a country where you have so many potential fans.

“The organisation will be great, the hospitality will be great. People always try to help you out so I am not too worried about the aspects that you are usually worried about when you go on a long trip.

“The fact that I have worked in Japan and I have been to Malaysia and China, I know how well people want to do for you and so I am quite peaceful to go there.”

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1 Jul 2011