Arsenal sign Japanese international Mana Iwabuchi

Aston Villa's Mana Iwabuchi (left) and Chelsea's Melanie Leupolz in action during the FA Women's Sup

Aston Villa's Mana Iwabuchi (left) and Chelsea's Melanie Leupolz in action during the FA Women's Super League match at Kingsmeadow, London. Picture date: Sunday March 28, 2021. - Credit: PA

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Japanese international Mana Iwabuchi ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Iwabuchi becomes Arsenal's first summer signing as she left Aston Villa last week following the expiration of her contract. 

Iwabuchi came to the Women's Super League in January to play for Villa and helped them keep their WSL status surviving a 0-0 draw with the Gunners on the final day. 

During her spell at Villa she played 13 games for Villa scoring two goals including a thumping effort against the Gunners local rivals Tottenham Hotspur. 

The playmaker has been a long term target for Arsenal and nearly linked up with the side in 2019 but was stopped by the Japanese FA after they wanted their players in and around Japan for the World Cup and then the Olympics before the Olympics were cancelled in 2020 with the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Iwabuchi has also played for Bayern Munich where she played with Vivianne Miedema, Lisa Evans, Manuela Zinsberger and Viktoria Schnaderbeck so will be welcomed in north London with open arms. 

The Japanese international has featured 74 times and scored 31 goals for her national side since making her debut at just 16 years of age.

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As well as the World Cup the 28 year old has also won the Nadeshiko League three times, Nadeshiko League Cup three times, Empress’s Cup on two occasions the 2. Frauen-Bundesliga once and the Frauen-Bundesliga twice. 

For Japan she has lifted the World Cup the most prestigious prize in football and has also collected and Asian Games and AFC Women’s Asian Cup winners medal and a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics. 

Speaking to, she said: “I’m so happy to finally be able to announce that I am an Arsenal player, I know the club has wanted to sign me for a long time now, so it’s a great honour to be able to play for Arsenal.

"There are so many amazing players and I can’t wait to get started.”

Iwabuchi has also had spells at Nippon TV Beleza, Hoffenheim and INAC Kobe Leonessa. 

She will represent Japan at this summers Olympics before linking up with the Gunners in August for the Champions League qualifiers.

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