WHO IS TOMIYASU AND WHY WAS HE SIGNED FROM BOLOGNA BY ARSENAL?
Takehiro Tomiyasu joins Arsenal from Bologna, thus Football Italia takes a look at who he is and how he persuaded The Gunners to sign him, physical and formalities pending.
Sinisa Mihajlovic will be disappointed to see one of his top defenders depart the Stadio Dall’Ara with less than ten hours till the summer transfer window closes. Tomiyasu’s departure, on the other hand, may not come as a surprise to the 52-year-old, who has watched the defender improve over the last two years in Bologna.
The agile defender played each of his 64 games under the former Inter and Lazio defender, quickly establishing himself as one of Europe’s most intriguing defenders.
His football career began at home in Japan, then in January 2018, he was recruited by Belgian club Sint-Truidense from Avispa Fukuoka. Bologna is recognized for its recruitment approach of scouting potential in lesser-known areas of the game, and Tomiyasu is the latest example of how successfully the system at the Stadio Dall’Ara works.
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Bologna scouts didn’t take long to see Tomiyasu’s talent with the Felsinei, who signed him for just €7 million in the summer of 2019.
He had already made his senior Japan debut at the time, and he went on to make 23 appearances and score one goal for his country. He also joined the U23 team for the Olympic Games earlier this summer, which is why he had some extra vacation days at the start of the Serie A season. On Saturday, he made his final appearance for Bologna, coming off the bench for the final nine minutes of the game against Atalanta.
But why did Arsenal make the decision to sign him?
Tomiyasu had previously piqued Tottenham’s attention earlier this summer, with Spurs director Fabio Paratici familiar with the defender’s abilities after watching him play many times during his time at Juventus.
The Japanese defender was mostly a central defender when he arrived at the Stadio Dall’Ara, but owing to Mihajlovic, he has developed into a versatile defender who can also play at right-back, where he made 41 of his 64 appearances with the Rossoblu.
Football Italia released a piece earlier this month stating why Tomiyasu could have moved to North London, either to Tottenham or Arsenal, noting how he could have given value to both clubs.
In the 2019-20 season, he averaged 5.37 progressive passes per 90 minutes, which was second on the squad. He also averaged 4.95 passes per third quarter, second only to Andrea Poli. Bologna improved from 45 percent average possession in 2018-19 to 52 percent in 2019-20, but Tomiyasu had a 30 percent pressure success rate in the same season. He was also great at interceptions and blocks, and he came across as a no-nonsense customer.
As a result, it came as no surprise to read that Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta was pressing for a transaction to be completed before the deadline. Tomiyasu is still young, but he has previously played in two countries, so he should have no trouble settling in North London. It’s unclear whether he’ll be coached by the same person throughout the season.
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