Arsenal on Wednesday locked in two 2017 pre-season friendlies in Sydney, continuing the growing trend of top clubs choosing Australia as a warm-up destination.

The Gunners will play A-League sides Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, following in the footsteps of a string of clubs including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid which have visited Australia in recent years.

Arsenal last came to Sydney in 1977, well before long-time manager Arsene Wenger’s days, losing 3-1 to an Australian XI.

Next year’s games are part of a two-year deal with tourism agency Destination New South Wales, which will also feature on perimeter signage at the Premier League side’s home ground, Emirates Stadium.

“We look forward to working with our new partner to promote NSW, before bringing our first team to Sydney for two games in 2017 in front of our passionate Australian fans,” said Arsenal’s chief commercial officer Vinai Venkatesham.

The games will be in July 2017, although exact dates have yet to be announced. – Agence France-Presse

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