Gooners From Asia by Dan Smith
On Tuesday it was confirmed that Takehiro Tomiyasu had become the 4th Asian player to represent Arsenal. Given our fan base in the Far East this is a huge deal.
It’s surprising that Arsene Wenger never took advantage of a market he was very knowledgeable about. Mr Wenger is credited for playing a massive part in revolutionizing the sport in Japan when he managed there, and to this day the Japanese FA will seek out his advice.
It wasn’t until his 5th year in English Football that the Frenchmen brought in a player from the J League.
Arsene Wenger had to constantly deny to the media that Junichi Inamoto was only brought to sell shirts and grow our profile in Japan.
It was noticeable that pre-match League Cup ties (he would never play for us in the Prem), we would be surrounded by the country’s press as they knew that was the most likely time they would see him.
It’s worth stressing that he scored twice at the 2002 World Cup and went on to play very well for Fulham, so it would be wrong to accuse the Gunners of only seeing a remarkable opportunity. It’s more a case that at the age of 21 he wasn’t at the level yet to be competition for Vieira which is no disgrace.
We had the same accusations regarding Ryo Miyachi, journalists travelling across the world eager to see him starting at the Emirates. We were famous for giving youth a chance and I think that was the plan, with gooners aware of the reputation the winger had earned on loan in Holland where he was nicknamed ‘Ryodinho’.
Even though it was in the domestic cups against lower League opposition, Miyachi would do enough in cameos to get a reaction from the crowd.
As was club policy, loans were lined up as part of the player’s development. Spells at Bolton and Wigan were designed for him to learn the physicality of English Football.
Little did he know though that a knee injury at the DW Stadium meant he would never be the same. Time in Holland and Germany would be plagued by injuries.
Park Chu Young is the only South Korean player to be a Gunner. Unlike the other two names on this list, he wasn’t brought in as a youngster with potential.
When he moved to London, he was 26 years old, had scored at a World Cup and for three years had been scoring goals for Monaco. In other words, Arsenal knew what they were getting and yet gave him only 8 minutes of Prem Football in three years.
Many view the signing as indicative of the Emirates period. Arsenal made a purchase because he was cheap, not because he could actually improve the squad. It was harsh on the striker who was set to join Lille. Arsenal hijacked his move just to pay for him to sit at home.
So Tomiyasu doesn’t really have to be a lot to be better than the other representatives from his continents who pulled on the red and white shirt. While only 22, 66 games in Serie A means he has proven himself at European level.
In that time, he proved he has the mentality to deal with the pressure of the media, who grew critical when he transitioned from right back to centre back.
Unlike Park, there is a clear pathway into the first team as long as he can avoid any bad luck.
Will this help the brand sell even more shirts in Japan? Of course!
Yet Arsenal haven’t spent 19 million GBP to sell a few T-shirts, it’s because they generally think this man can improve us.
I believe that was the intention regarding Inomata and Miyachi as well, but one was at the wrong place at the wrong time, the other couldn’t recover from horrible knee injuries.
The population of Asia makes up 59 percent of the entire world so it’s about time that region produced a Gooner who could add to our history.
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