Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has singled out Takehiro Tomiyasu as having some of the best defending he has ever seen when quizzed over the Japanese international ahead of Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth.
The Gunners travel to the Vitality Stadium looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season and close the four-point gap on Manchester City, who are also in action at the same time.
Tomiyasu is in contention to keep his place in the starting XI from the midweek Carabao Cup win over Brentford, with William Saliba still recovering from a knock which ruled him out of the clash.
Though the Japanese defender has struggled for consistency in an Arsenal shirt thanks to injury, he is a firm fan favourite and has already demonstrated his versatility this season, filling in at left-back, right-back and in the heart of defence.
And speaking ahead of the clash with the Cherries, Arteta was quick to sing the praises of the 24-year-old Japan star.
“His defending is one of the best I’ve ever seen”, he told reporters.
“The moment he has consistency, he’s gonna be a tremendous asset for us”.
“Now, he needs a run of games. If Tomi is physically at his best, we’re going to have a player that is so important for us”.
“Also, Tomiyasu can play in any position in the backline — we don’t have a player like him”, he added.
With games coming thick and fast before the October international break and Jurrien Timber already a long-term absentee for the Gunners, Tomiyasu’s importance in the squad is paramount.
The Gunners are already without Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli and Declan Rice through injury, while both William Saliba and Bukayo Saka picked up knocks in the draw with Tottenham last weekend.