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Arsenal target shines despite Japan’s dreadful draw with Greece

| 20.06.2014

Japan need a helluva result against Colombia to get out of World Cup C ahead of Greece and Ivory Coast at 17/2 odds, although their early exit in favour of the West Africans could help Arsenal solve their well-trailed right-back problem quickly.

The Gunners are thought to be tracking Samurai Blues man Atsuto Uchida and Elephants’ 21-year-old Serge Aurier to replace contract rebel Bacary Sagna, who has agreed a deal to join Manchester City on a free transfer after the World Cup.

With one of the pair now guaranteed to be packing their bags come the end of the first round, Arsene Wenger could steal a march on other potential suitors by entering negotiations with respective clubs Schalke and Toulouse.

Despite losing 2-1 to Colombia in Belo Horizonte, Didier Drogba and co need only draw with Greece next time out to land 1/3 qualification odds for the last 16, so Aurier may be stuck in Brazil for some time yet.

Japan have disappointed at this World Cup, particularly in their 0-0 draw with a Greece side who were down to 10 men for the entire second half, but Uchida has done his chances of a move to the upper echelons of the Premier League no harm.

Injury stopped the 26-year-old from turning out for his club after the beginning of February, but a lack of fitness hasn’t prevented Uchida from firing off three shots, playing in two key passes for profligate teammates and successfully completing three dribbles in Brazil, according to WhoScored.com.

Uchida laid on a tidy tally of three assists in just 17 Bundesliga starts last term, and successfully jinked past opposition players at least once a game on average.

He also bagged against Steaua Bucharest in Chelsea’s Champions League group, although if Wenger is looking for a Seamus Coleman-style free-scoring right-back he may be better off just bidding for the Everton man, as that was Uchida’s first Schalke strike.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune