Arsenal plan pre-season tour of Nigeria in July 2012

The Gunners are set to visit the West African country next summer, with the club's traditional Emirates Cup sidelined due to the London Olympics
Arsenal are set to head to Nigeria for a pre-season tour next year, after a delegation from the Premier League club arrived in the West African country on Monday to inspect facilities and speak with federation officials ahead of the visit planned for July 2012.

Nigeria is home to a great number of Arsenal fans and the opportunity to see Gunners captain Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song and Theo Walcott in the flesh will no doubt draw large crowds in the country.

“Arsenal will tour Nigeria ahead of the 2012-13 season and will play against some selected Nigerian clubs,” Fifa match agent David Omigie told

Arsenal's media department confirmed the trip to, stating that the club had decided to consider their options for pre-season activities next year, with the traditional Emirates Cup tournament not taking place due to the London Olympics.

Reports suggest that managing director Angus Kinnear, club secretary Mark Ellis and head of security and logistics Paul Johnson form part of the Arsenal delegation.

Musa Amadu, acting secretary general of the Nigerian Football Federation said: “This visit, I want to observe, will definitely provide a strong platform for a much better relationship between the English Premier League and the Nigeria Premier League.

"Incidentally, the NPL is just returning firmly to its feet after protracted crisis and will welcome tips and suggestions on how to re-position powerfully for the upcoming season.

“It is also important that I mention that some of our football Clubs, particularly those in the Premier League, would welcome some form of technical partnership with Arsenal Football Club."

Fellow Premier League teams Manchester United and Portsmouth visited the country three years ago and played against Nigeria Premier League club sides Enyimba and Kano Pillars.