Takehiro Tomiyasu: Who is Arsenal’s incoming signing?

Takehiro Tomiyasu of Japan (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)
Takehiro Tomiyasu of Japan (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images) /

Arsenal are moving closer to what seems like their first move towards addressing their needs in the RB department. Their first move of Deadline Day comes in the form of Bologna defender, Takehiro Tomiyasu.

The 22-year-old Japan national has enjoyed life in Italy since moving from Sint-Truidense two years ago for a fee roughly around the £6M mark.

It was in Belgium that he made some small noise as he measured up well as a progressive passer, fairly capable of breaking the lines with long balls from a CB position. This wasn’t and isn’t, out of the ordinary for Tomiyasu as he is a player who is adept at playing across the entirety of the backline with relative ease.

How Mikel Arteta could use Takehiro Tomiyasu

This is a trait that will bode well for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal as it can allow for them to take another chance at a shape with a back three in which case, you can be sure to expect the 22-year-old to line up comfortably as a RCB if needed.

Last season, he ranked among the 84th percentile in his progressive passing distance and a staggering 92nd percentile with his passes to the final third with 4.24 per 90.

For Arteta, if he sees him as a suitable replacement for the ball-playing ability lost from David Luiz moving on and decides to try and give him a run as a left-sided CB, those progressive numbers will undoubtedly look just as good, or even better.

For as young as he is, it would be understandable to find a tradeoff to his elite abilities in one department and shortcomings in another. However, his defensive numbers stand out considerably when viewing him as a RB. Averaging 1.69 interceptions per 90 alongside a mindblowing 99th percentile in clearances with 4.81 per 90.

Although a small part of me inclines that the number might be slightly skewed in line with the ball possibly being intended towards key attackers in Skov Olsen, Soriano or Rodrigo Palacios.

Tomiyasu is amongst the best in the top-five leagues

All English Premier League
All English Premier League /

All English Premier League

Tomiyasu also measures really well in his aerial output where he again, ranks in the 99th percentile for his aerial duels won with 3.51 per 90. This can, in large, be because he is a bit of a jack of all trades with his play.

Across the top five leagues, he was among the top 5 fullbacks who registered the highest outward distribution rates (ODR) with 13.63 (this metric measures the percentage of completions that move the ball ahead of play by 10% of the size of the pitch or further).

This figure was good to rank him fourth just behind Kyle Walker, Danilo and Cancelo – whilst being four spots higher than Zinchenko of Manchester City. A common theme here would be the players mentioned on the list all holding specific traits of an inverted fullback.

This is a style of fullback in which the player usually can find themselves within the half-spaces of the pitch through an underlap, whereby they can commonly be viewed as an additional midfielder to the eye.

This method allowed his right winger to stretch play wider – then if Tomiyasu was on the overlap and occupying the space ahead of the winger – forcing less of a chance for any 1v1 opportunities to take the opposing fullback on.

Takehiro is a player willing to drive the ball ahead of any chance he gets. He holds a high level of confidence to do this and constantly looks to play dangerous balls within the small pockets of space that may arise.

This can also aid in getting teammates in more advanced positions across the pitch and would any runs be made by Aubameyand or the attacking midfielder (ESR or Odegaard), all the more potent, keeping his high-passing numbers mentioned earlier, in mind.

His willingness to engage in all defensive actions, whether that be within a low or mid-block or defending the space is great to see. An eager player on both sides of the pitch; he thrives being the player who is permitted to make the reads and act on anticipating any dangerous balls before they occur.

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You will see him more often than not, starting the break almost instantaneously when he wins the ball and with his eye for long balls, get his side in goalscoring chances with a snap of a finger.