Arsenal in negotiations for Mana Iwabuchi Joe Montemurro confirms
- Credit: PA
Joe Montemurro confirmed that Arsenal are in negotiations for Mana Iwabuchi.
Iwabuchi who came to the Women's Super League in January to play for Aston Villa and helped them keep their WSL status surviving a 0-0 draw with the Gunners on the final day.
Iwabuchi played 13 games for Villa scoring two goals including a thumping effort against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Japanese World Cup winner is also friends with Gunners duo Vivianne Miedema and Lisa Evans as they played with each other at Bayern Munich.
Montemurro told Tim Stillman of Arseblog news on the deal "She is a player we have been after for a couple of years and the negotiations are close and I hope that the club will get it over the line.”
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Iwabuchi has been a long term target for the Gunners with Montemurro saying back in February" 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."
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Initially we had planned around that but then the Olympic games were cancelled.
"We had to look at other alternatives but Mana is a player I have always admired and feel that she suits our style.”
Iwabuchi is lined up to replace Jill Roord who was confirmed as a Wolfsburg player earlier this week ahead of the 2021-22 season.
On Roord's departure Montemurro said "She’s another player I am really proud to have coached, When we got her she wasn’t in the top echelon of players at Bayern, she was in and out of the team. I saw some really special qualities in her and I saw someone that could bring that little bit of extra power in the middle of the park and it was great to recruit her, she’s another great football brain."
“It’s been a really special two years for her here, she has really grown into the way we play and puts herself onto the level as one of the top players in Europe. We seem to do that here at Arsenal, to give these players opportunities and they excel"
“I wish her all the best at Wolfsburg, she came to me earlier this year and she’s been hit hard by the pandemic in terms of her family, she missed her family a lot and loves being around them. She just felt she wanted to move closer to home and Wolfsburg came in for her and for her wellbeing I think it was the right decision.”
During her time at Arsenal the Dutch International scored 15 goals in the process including three hat-tricks against West Ham United, Reading and Gillingham this season.
The trebles against Reading and West Ham were back to back in the opening two games of the 2020-21 Women's Super League season.
Roord will be linking up with her former FC Twente boss Tommy Stroot at Wolfsburg next season.