It’s been a whirlwind start to life in London for Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Landing in the UK last Wednesday off the back of a busy Interlull, during which he secured his £17 million move to Arsenal, the Japan international secured a work permit on Thursday and was immediately parachuted into the right-back slot for Saturday’s 1-0 win over Norwich.
Following an impressive and combative 62 minute debut, he left to a standing ovation from the Emirates crowd. Unsurprisingly, he’s feeling pretty chipper about things.
Conducting an interview in fluent English, Tomi told Arsenal.com: “I’m buzzing to be here because Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world and to play in the Premier League was my big dream when I was young, so I’m happy to be here.
“I never imagined that I could play as a player of Arsenal, so I am excited. As I say, Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world.”
On what he can bring to the team, he added: “I think I can play with both feet, I can play every position as a defender and I’m an intelligent player so I can always read the next situation.
“For me, it doesn’t matter [where I play] because the most important thing is to play in the game. If the coach told me to play striker, I’ll play striker. For me, it doesn’t matter which position I play.”
Arsenal’s men’s team has only ever had two other players from Japan – Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Miyaichi – and they only amassed 400 minutes of playing time between them.
While compatriots have featured in the Premier League over the years – most notably Shinji Okazaki for Leicester and Shinji Kagawa for Manchester United – the only countryman currently plying his trade in the English top-flight is Takumi Minamino at Liverpool.
“To play in the Premier League is difficult for Japanese players because the Premier League is so physical,” he said. “I think I’m ready to play in the Premier League.”
Tomi will certainly get the chance to prove that on Saturday when the Gunners head to Burnley.