How will Tomiyasu compare to Arsenal’s former Asian players?

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.


Be Kind In The Comments


Tags Tomiyasu


  1. I hope he can play and defend and wish him the very best in his career but it looks very much like exit through the gift shop, again…

  2. Tomiyasu is taller than his predecessors, has played in an elite European league and his weaker foot is quite adept, so I expect him to be more consistent than the previous East Asian Gunners

    He can also play as a CB, therefore his career might last longer than other outfield players

    The shirt manufacturer actually takes more profit. Whereas the football clubs only get 7.5 percent of it, up to 15 percent if they’re lucky

    So Arsenal can only make a lot of money from their own merchandise and the TV rights in Japan

    1. It’s better to compare him with who we have had in Arsenal team. His boder or predecessor s won’t matter now. Is he pacey enough for his position and physical for EPL he must also possess technical ability compare to his team mates.

      1. I don’t doubt his physicality, but I don’t think his dribbling skill is as good as Bellerin’s. Aside from the RB role, maybe he was also bought as White’s failsafe

        1. Ya he should be a balance to White in area treat. Asian players are known for pace than dribbling skills. He would be unique to be a good dribbler.

  3. No need to compare him to former Asian players, borders don’t matter.

    Let’s rather compare him to previous players in his position.

    1. Borders don’t matter?
      Tell Tierney, Ramsey and Liam Brady they are really English and their countries of birth
      are just suburbs of England 🙂

  4. Inamoto, Miyachi, Park and Asano all failed totally.
    Asian players in top teams in top leagues
    remain few and far between.
    Son and Deli up the road are rare successes. .
    Kagawa at Dortmund + Okazaki at Leicester
    a few years back.
    But may be the new wave is arriving?
    He is tall for a Japanese at 6′ 2″.
    Two seasons in Serie A is impressive.
    Fits the new Arsenal profile perfectly.
    Young, relatively cheap dedicated loyal
    with decent resale value.
    So it wont take much for Tomiyasu to be
    the best Arsenal Asian player.
    A canny signing..

    1. I thought Park was alright – never really got a chance. Wasn’t totally convinced he was ever going to be a starter for us but he looked decent enough to me when he did play.

  5. Agree that he seems different from others- Tall, defensively sound, good with both feet, versatile.
    Also Dan I think you missed a fifth player, Asano although his tenure was so forgettable that I cant blame you lol.

  6. Well let’s see ha..

    Everyone talks a good game including myself and other JAers but most importantly so does the manager, Vinai and Josh (won’t say Stan because he doesn’t talk to us). Let’s see what happens on the field of play, where it counts shall we as the proof is in the pudding!

    The cards have been played and the
    Time for talk is over – it’s now do or die.

  7. I find it insulting and anti all I stand for to try comparing one particula Asian playr, or to be preceise – as I like to be- a Japanese player , with all other Asian players who have worn our shirt.

    Apart from being a racist concept it is wrong, stupid and pointless. You might, and just as stupidly, compare one English player with all other Europeans who have ever worn our shirt.

    This article is disgraceful in its concept and it is also disgraceful that Ad PAT HAS ALLOWED A CLEARLY RACIST ARTICLE ON HIS SITE.
    THINK ABOUT WHAT THIS ARTICLE REALLY SAYS! It says that all Asians are comparable with all other Asians, which is nonsense and wrong. AND RACIST!


    1. Jon I have decided to try and help you here .
      Just say outloud what is bothering you here … article about Asisan players
      I suppose the BBC are racist for doing Asisan footballer of the year or African footballer of the year ?
      But then I remembered …..didn’t you have a problem when I did a list of greatest Africans to play for Arsenal ?
      You didn’t mind when I did greatest British players , best academy players , best European 11
      so…. you only blush when the article is about African and Asian players ?
      hmmmmm……..wonder what that makes you ?

      1. INSUFFICIENT PROPER THOUGHT Daniel! You have clearly not understood my poInt.

        Suggest you scroll down to read my longer post timed at 8.45 to read my further thoughts.


        1. I don’t need to understand
          It’s your issue to deal with
          You don’t like an article talking about the Asian players who have played for Arsenal ?
          That’s a reflection on you not me

      1. Asia is a continent, not a race. If someone did a best/worst Europeans to play for us, is that racist?

  8. I hope he does well but I’m not a big fan of “hybrid”players who can play several positions,for the majority of them(not all) the expression”jack of all trades but master of none”comes to mind,I hope to be proved wrong.

  9. I did not find the article and question racist at all. It is fair to ask whether a player from a particular league background may or may not outperform earlier players from those leagues who flopped. Also it is hard to deny that some of those earlier players were bought to tap into the Asian market. Anyone, fingers crossed that he can defend properly, whatever his background.

  10. man, you will go to great lengths to incorporate Wenger into an article, even when it simply highlights how miserably he failed in this department

  11. A good acquisition…based on what I have seen so far. He has all the technical skills and abilities needed to become an impressive CB…provided he stays fit.

  12. Why no answer to my post AD PAT which pointed out the clearly disgraceful racist DAN SMITH article you shamefully allowed to stand on this site ? Why no answer? Don’t you care?

    1. Maybe because it was not racist at all? I dont think you are right here Jon. Myself being an asian, I dont find this article discriminating at all. Dan has quite logically presented his piece, and the comparision is solely based on their playing background, physical characteristics coming from a similar region and also the massive asian market(although declining now). I dont think I can agree with your overreaction here, and similarly AdPat has maybe chosen not to comment for that reason.

    2. Jon, you need to get a grip. Dan has done posts on our French players, our African players, our South American players. It is YOU that has a problem, not Dan….

      1. It is so sad to see an otherwise intelligent man such as you Pat, not see how discrimitory this comparing one Asian – not even Japanese, as is fact, but calling him an Asian – with all other Asians who have ever worn our shirt REALLY IS.

        It is not something that thinking and decent people would ever dream of so doing.


        That is an appalling discovery.

        I would very much like you and others who do not bother thinking properly to seriously consider the outcry if a national newspaper, say The Sun or Guardian, did likewise.

        You are not prepared to give this matter any real and proper thought and that speaks volumes for where YOUR personal priorities lie!

        If I were to report this happening to certain authorities it would be interesting to see whether or not JA is investigated and rebuked, officially. Wouldn’t it!!

        I’d take this post as a serious warning not to allow a repeat of this disgraceful article if I were you PAT!!!!

        All my adult life I HAVE STOOD IMPLACABLY AGAINST RACISM and I will NOT stand idly by when it rears its disgusting and ugly head!

        1. Jon can you not see the irony ?
          Your asking this site not to write about asian footballers and then saying your against racism ?
          Phillips was just voted English player of the year
          Have you wrote to the FA and said that’s racist ?
          What about FIFA for European player of the year ?
          What about the BBC for African player of the year ?
          or is it just writing about Asia and celebrating them that makes you uncomfortable ?
          You stand against racism ?

          1. Must have missed the FIFA European player of the year award. Unless you mean the UEFA player of the year award? You know, the one that its awarded to the best player from a member of UEFA ie. Jorginho, who was born in Brazil, and qualifies to play for Italy through his great-grandfather? So if we’re using FIFA’s international bodies, why wasn’t Mat Ryan considered Asian, since Australia is part of the Asian Football Confederation? If it’s “geographical”, why isn’t Henrik Mkhitaryan on the list, since Armenia is geographically part of Asia? If, like Jorginho as you indirectly mentioned, it’s based on ancestry, then what about Jimmy Carter, who’s British-Asian, was he not “Asian enough”? His father was Indian, compared to Jorginho’s great-grandfather being Italian, so what are the criteria? This article was not “celebrating” Asian players, despite appearing to defend their achievements the undertone was that none of the players mentioned performed well for Arsenal, a silly comparison given that they are all individuals with distinct backgrounds from distinct nations and don’t need to be thrown into one single group, especially when the criteria for that group don’t appear to be based on fact but rather eye-shape.

          2. Dan Your post makes zero sense and has no similarity to what my first post said whatsoever. You simply will not admit that you article was racist and that is disgraceful.

            And YES, I do stand against racism. I also THOUGHT you did, UNTIL I saw your disgustingly unthinking article.

          1. Ad PAT, Honest answer – as ever from me- is “YES”, ALL SUCH ARTICLES ARE RACIST .

            Most of those writing them are not deeply clued up enough to even realise the clear racism in them, that is, in one way, even sadder than being an undisguised open racist , like the Neanderthals supporting Hungary this last week. Those Neanderthals are beyond redemption but one would hope that people who are merely unaware of their own racist attitudes and who promote stereotypes , SHOULD HAVE brain and morals enough to refrain!

            But that seems not to be the case, as such As DAN, has not even the character enough to admit his unthinking error and thus to apologise, as a BIG man would and should do.

  13. He comes as the latest of a line of Japanese/Koreans who have been bought but never managed to get near the first team. It’s not in the Japanese character to idle, so he will give his all. Good luck mate!

  14. I haven’t posted in a while but this debate is interesting. The transfer window was underwhelming but a job done and there hasn’t been anything to write home about except burying my head in the sand with results.

    Anyhow @Jon I do enjoy your points of view and even when not popular because you do have points. While generalising and comparing similarities of “Asians” I think Dan has presented more from “their Asian background” what does this mean? Well we “know” English footballers are tough and not skilful the old adage might be, or Europeans are taught from an early age to keep the ball on the deck therefore are more skilful. “Spanish players are very skilful and good on the ball”

    Likewise the negatives – he is from abroad can he hack it on a cold winters day at Accrington Stanley or historically Players from the Asian region have founded it hard to adapt to the prem or not at the level we have needed. But there are some real gems that make it such as Son.

    I dont think it’s wrong to reflect on the past acquisitions because I bet I believe it came in conversation during scouting.

    It’s good you keep fighting for what is right @Jon but feel you have digested the article with a different lends and no malice or ill intent was perceived to come from the article.

    Good article Dan keep up the good work.

  15. What about Jimmy Cater, or are British-Asian players not considered Asian? Or Mat Ryan, since Australia is part of FIFA’s Asian confederation?

      1. That’s the point. What’s the criteria for being Asian? FIFA’s confederations, geographical place of birth, or heritage?

      2. I will be soon, if allowed, submitting a very detailed article on this whole subject But I doubt Ad Pat will allow it to appear , since it will not focus esp on Arsenel but on the whole subject of what insidious racism in football really is and how it affects people who are seen as “different” in many respects , not simply because of skin tone. I much hope Pat will allow it.


        I challenge you to accept this far reaching article and advise me in advance of me sending it, accordingly!

        1. I rarely answer afternoon comments because I prefer to get up early and get work out of the way.

          But yet again, you don’t need permission for you to send me an article.

          Everyone else just sends them in without any preamble…

          Or are you trying to promote it before it appears?

      3. No answer once again Pat?? Yoiu might at least have the courtesy to answer the question I emailled to you over two weeks ago about my article I wish to submit , about which I need your permission , as it is not esp Arsenal only related, but about fans everywhere and how many of us behave and think.

        But you have ignored that AND my post above . I must assume you don’t wish to respect me, nor my wish to explain in detail why I think DANS article was racist.

        Though I have a great deal more besides simply that, which I WISH TO ENLIGHTEN OUR FANS WITH, IF you will agree.

        But you do not even answer my request, one way or the other!! Sigh!

          1. Dan You, I, and others will note that Pat, STILL, EVEN NOW, MORE THAN TWO WEEKS SINCE I emailled him , has chosen to ignore my request. AND my deliberately public to all request on here! MANY WILL REALISE WHY, TOO!

            I ask you, is that any way to treat a regular poster on his site? He cannot face allowing a real detailed article on a far deeper subject than merely who plays next week or shall we sack MA, etc etc.

            SOME OF US Dan, know very well where the REAL PRIORITIES in life begin and never end!

            1. @Jon, i have answered twice (on here) that I am always happy for you to send articles any time as long as they are Arsenal related.
              We have discussed this many times so I’m not sure why you need seperate permission every time…

              PS Do you know how many emails i get a day, on top of reading 500 comments, writing articles, and occasinally even having a life of my own!

  16. I just hoped Jon Fox and Argooner didnt see England vs Rest Of the World
    And I assume they are disgusted with African Nations Cup ?

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