Takihiro Tomiyasu has been one of the unsung stars of Arsenal’s season, but he could have been lining up for Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby were it not for the intervention of Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners identified the need to sign a new right-back as a priority in the summer having granted Hector Bellerin permission to seek a new challenge and join Real Betis on loan.
Arteta had misgivings about promoting Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares and instead instructed Arsenal’s scouting department to provide him with recommendations.
Technical director, Edu, meanwhile, made contact with Barcelona’s Emerson Royal and sounded the 22-year-old out over the prospect of moving to north London.
According to the Guardian, a deal was at an advanced stage before Arteta intervened and blocked the proposed transfer amid misgivings about his suitability to the style of football he wanted to implement.
Emerson subsequently joined Tottenham in a £25.8million deal and has found it hard to adapt to the rigours of English football under the management of both Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte.
Arteta, instead, pushed for Arsenal to purchase Tomiyasu from Bologna and the Japan international has delivered a series of impressive performances on the right-hand side of an increasingly impressive Arsenal defence.
Speaking earlier this season, the 23-year-old revealed he had been presented with the chance to sign for Arsenal’s fiercest rivals, but a decision over his future was a straightforward one once he learned of Arteta’s desire to sign him.
‘I thought I wasn’t able to join Arsenal,’ Tomiyasu has told DAZN Japan. ‘I thought I was going to Spurs.
‘On deadline day, the move broke down. Arsenal asked me to join them and I did immediately.’
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