Should Arsenal Women’s Japanese international Mana Iwabuchi be on the move? by Michelle
29 year old Mana Iwabuchi signed for Arsenal in June 2021, transferring from Aston Villa. Under boss Jonas Eidevall, Iwabuchi has only played 121 minutes in this campaign and has been an unused sub on several occasions, which is very surprising given Eidevall’s long list of player injuries through the season so far.
Iwabuchi is keen for game time and would be open to leaving Arsenal in January. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup on the horizon this summer players need sufficient game time at club level to ensure they can be selected for their national team’s. Iwabuchi won the World Cup with Japan in 2011 at just 18 years of age and has now received more than 80 caps. She won Asian Young Footballer of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and was named MVP in the 2018 Asian Cup. Iwabuchi will be determined that her selection for Japan Women’s team for the 2023 World Cup is not put at risk in any way.
A January exit looks likely although one wonders why Eidevall didn’t let her go last summer before the start of the 2022-23 season.
Another consideration for Eidevall is that Arsenal currently only have space for three overseas players in their squad as per the Women’s Super League rules. Clubs are allowed a maximum of 25 players in their squad but at least eight must qualify as homegrown. Arsenal have a first team squad of 21 with seven homegrown players, which means they can only add three overseas players unless one were to leave the club.
Iwabuchi could leave to make ‘space’ for a fourth overseas player.
I think Iwabuchi moving on would suit both player and club perfectly. What are your thoughts? Should Arsenal let this gem of a player, who virtually never gets to play, move onto pastures new?
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