Who is Arsenal’s new right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu? His playing style and childhood stories

The Japan international was scouted by Spanish giants Barcelona and Valencia from the age of 11.
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The summer transfer window is finally over and Arsenal made one interesting move before the window slammed shut.

The club shipped out long-serving right-back Hector Bellerin to Real Betis and raided Bologna for their highly-rated Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu.

The move takes Arsenal summer spending spree to an impressive £156.8million, following the arrival of Ben White (£50m), Martin Odegaard (£34m), Aaron Ramsdale (£30m), Takehiro Tomiyasu (£19.8m),  Albert Sambi Lokonga (£15m) and Nuno Tavares (£8m).

So how well do we know the Japan international right back and what can we expect from him?

Early childhood

Tomiyasu was born in Fukuoka, Northern Japan.

He grew up with his parents and two siblings, who pursued a career in professional swimming.

Football was his passion however, and his speed caught the eye of scouts from Mitsuzuki Kickers who convinced his parents to let him try out.

By the age of 11, he was being offered to clubs like Barcelona and Valencia with his speed and endurance being compared to the likes of Manchester United’s Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung.

A combination of age and doubts from his parents about allowing him to move abroad by himself meant that none of them took him.

Tomiyasu instead signed for his hometown club Avispa Fukuoka.

He developed quickly and made his debut in the Japanese League aged 18, against FC Tokyo, playing as a holding midfielder.

He made 45 appearances for Avispa Fukuoka, playing across midfield and defense and bagged a goal before departing in 2018.

 Takehiro Tomiyasu playing for Bologna before his Arsenal move. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images Takehiro Tomiyasu playing for Bologna before his Arsenal move. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images
Takehiro Tomiyasu playing for Bologna before his Arsenal move. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

First trip abroad

The then 20-year-old right-back, who was also comfortable playing in central defense, signed for Belgian First Division side St-Truiden, penning a three year deal.

Tomiyasu played a season and half in Belgian First Division, winning the club’s Player of the Season award, and made himself a key member of the Japanese national team before moving to Bologna in the summer of 2019.

Bologna and success

At Bologna, the soon-to-be Arsenal right-back continued his impressive rise, putting in man-of-the match performances that would see him linked with moves to Tottenham and AC Milan.

Across two seasons, Tomiyasu made 61 appearances, bagging three goals and playing as a holding midfielder, right-back and central defender.

Playing style and strength

The Japanese defender has endless energy and a good engine that allows him to cover space.

But as a full back his reading of the game and professionalism has been praised by the Italian media.

Tomiyasu offers the variety to slot in across the defensive line and gives Mikel Arteta options to play with when it comes to setting up his team.

HIs journey has been on an upward trajectory, and he comes across as a level-headed guy who just wants to do well for himself.

That trait is well cherished by managers like Arteta.

At age 22, he has more than 20 caps for Japan which suggests he comes with plenty of experience at playing at the highest level.