Takehiro Tomiyasu is set to move to Arsenal from Bologna, so Football Italia takes a look at who the Japan international is and how he convinced The Gunners to take him, medical and formalities permitting.
Sinisa Mihajlovic won’t be happy to see one of his best defenders leave the Stadio Dall’Ara, less than ten hours before the end of the summer transfer window. However, Tomiyasu’s exit may not come as a surprise for the 52-year-old who has witnessed the defender’s developments over the last two years in Bologna.
His journey in the world of football began at home, in Japan, and in January 2018, Belgian side Sint-Truidense signed him from Avispa Fukuoka. Bologna are known to be a club with a recruitment policy of hunting for talent in the lesser-known areas of the game and Tomiyasu offers the latest example that the system at the Stadio Dall’Ara works well.
Bologna scouts didn’t take long to spot the defender’s talent with the Felsinei, who secured the services of Tomiyasu for just €7m in the summer of 2019.
By that time, he had made his senior Japan debut and he has gone on to collect 23 appearances and one goal with his national team. He also joined the U23 squad for the Olympic Games earlier this summer, which is the reason why he enjoyed some extra days of holidays at the beginning of the Serie A campaign. He played his last match with Bologna on Saturday, coming off the bench for the last nine minutes of the game against Atalanta.
But why Arsenal decided to sign him?
Tomiyasu had already attracted the interest of Tottenham earlier this summer, with Spurs director Fabio Paratici who is aware of the defender’s qualities, having watched him many times in action during his time at Juventus.
When the Japanese arrived at the Stadio Dall’Ara, he was mainly a centre defender, but thanks to Mihajlovic, he has become a versatile defender who can also play at right-back, where he played 41 of his 64 appearances with the Rossoblu.
Earlier this month, Football Italia published an article explaining why Tomiyasu could have moved to North London, either to Tottenham or Arsenal, highlighting how he could have become an added value for both sides in North London.
The 22-year-old played 5.37 progressive passes per 90 minutes in the 2019-20 season – the second-highest in the team. He also played 4.95 passes into the final third, second to only Andrea Poli. Bologna went from having 45% average possession in the 2018-19 season to 52% in 2019-20 and in the same campaign, Tomiyasu had a pressure success rate of 30% – second only to Mattia Bani on the Bologna side. He also excelled when it came to interceptions and blocks, coming across as a no-nonsense customer too.
Therefore, it was no surprise to learn that Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta was pushing to finalise the deal on the deadline day. Tomiyasu is still very young but has already played in two different countries, so, on paper, he should not struggle to settle in North London. Whether he will spend the entire campaign under the same coach remains to be seen.