Arsenal to play MLS All-Stars as United & City plan all-Manchester preseason derby – in China
Arsenal have announced plans to take on an MLS all-star team in San Jose, California this summer as the Premier League begins to make arrangements for their close season period. The match will take place at the Avaya Stadium on July 28 and is expected to draw huge crowds, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil well known in the United States.
The links between the MLS and Arsenal are strong, with the Gunners' largest shareholder Stan Kroenke also fronting Kroenke Sports Enterprises which owns Colorado Rapids who compete in the MLS Western Conference.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry also played in the US with the New York Red Bulls between 2010 and 2014, scoring 52 times in 135 games.
The Gunners are currently battling it out for the English league title, sitting in third place, and face top of the table Leicester City on Sunday.
Man City, who are also in the running for the title, are also planning ahead to their preseason, announcing a potentially fascinating derby match against crosstown rivals Man United in Beijing or Shanghai on July 29th or 30th.
The “derby away from home” could potentially see the new City boss's first rematch against old rival Jose Mourinho, who has been strongly linked with the manager's job at Old Trafford. Current incumbent Louis van Gaal has struggled to capture the imaginations of fans over the course of the season, not to mention points, with the Red Devils currently six points off the Premier League top four and qualification for next season's Champions League.
Guardiola's rivalry with Mourinho is well documented, with the pair facing each other 16 times while managers of Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively. Guardiola has the upper hand on the Portuguese manager, having won seven of those encounters, compared to Mourinho's three. Six have ended in draws.
Get ready for Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho. Oh it's going to be sublime.— Liam (@OffsideLiam) February 4, 2016
The preseason derby comes, for City, as a result of their recent sale of 13 percent of club shares to China Media Group in December, with a tour of the Far East part of the lucrative deal. United, meanwhile, are reportedly ironing out the details of their return from the proposed derby in China for Wayne Rooney's testimonial on August 6.
United captain Rooney has been linked with a move to the increasingly lucrative Chinese Super League in recent weeks, with former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson said to be willing to offer the 30-year-old over $727,000 per week to join his side Shanghai SIPG FC in the summer.