Barcelona have confirmed they are switching their pre-season schedule to now tour Asia rather than the United States.
The US has been the destination for the club’s International Champions Cup (ICC) friendly matches, but these games are staged in both continents.
ESPN FC suggest the move may be driven by Barca’s sponsorship deal with Rakuten and could lead to a friendly against Vissel Kobe, who the company own and for whom Andres Iniesta plays.
A Barcelona statement on Tuesday stated: “This new tour will reaffirm the club’s links to the Asian market, the area where we have more fans than any other part of the world.
“Football is exploding in nations like China and Japan with this move not only with an eye to doing business but also to build a more loyal fanbase.”