Wellington Phoenix chasing Arsenal for July tie

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 20:56 22/01/2014
Jack Wilshere
MICHAEL REGAN/ Getty
TIME TO SCORE: Arsenal's Jack Wilshere looks to his watch in celebrating his side's first goal against Aston Villa in the EPL.

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Wellington Phoenix may well be gunning for English Premier League leaders Arsenal to play on Kiwi soil in July.

Phoenix managing director David Dome spent a week in Great Britain just before Christmas trying to lure an Premier League club to these shores in the English off-season.

He refused to name the clubs he approached in a process that started about two years ago.

However, he dropped what could be a hint when he said: "One of the things that's been brought up is our Huawei sponsorship. It is a significant relationship. Huawei have made a couple of announcements in that area over the past couple of weeks."

Last week a new partnership was announced between Arsenal and telecommunications specialist Huawei, which is the Phoenix's principal sponsor.

Research by sport and entertainment specialists The Gemba Group shows that, of New Zealand's estimated 350,000 Premier League fans, 90 per cent of support is split between just six clubs, led by Manchester United and Liverpool, with Arsenal third.

A well-placed source said a dual tour by West Ham United - for whom All Whites defender Winston Reid plays - and Everton had also been considered.

Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan said bringing over two EPL clubs was a possibility. Other options could include a tour by a single club. Numbers would need to be crunched to see where a one-off game was held.

Auckland's 50,000-seater Eden Park would be in the running, as would Westpac Stadium, which ' could fit about 38,000 with extra temporary seating.

It is also possible the Phoenix could play two games against the same opposition.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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