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Mikel Arteta considers Arsenal star one of the best and a key player in title race

Important Arsenal star who is high-rated by Mikel Arteta is considered one of the best players in his position

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Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta

Arsenal are on the verge of finalising a contract extension for Takehiro Tomiyasu, a player highly regarded by manager Mikel Arteta. 

The 25-year-old defender, returning from Asian Cup duties with Japan, has received glowing praise from Arteta, who deems him one of the best assets for the club’s title aspirations.

Despite struggling with setbacks, including injuries to players like Thomas Partey and Jurrien Timber, Arsenal have managed to face the challenges and remain a contender in the Premier League title race. Arteta expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance and highlighted the significant contributions from marquee signings, notably Declan Rice.

The absence of Partey and Timber has created voids in Arsenal’s midfield and defense, making Tomiyasu’s return timely and crucial for the team, especially with Oleksander Zinchenko dealing with injury issues. Arteta, recognising Tomiyasu’s defensive strength, considers him among the top one-on-one defenders in the squad.

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu

Tomiyasu has been struggling with injuries but is now back in the squad after returning from the Asian Cup (Image credit: Getty Images)

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Despite reported interest from Bayern Munich in the previous transfer window, Arsenal firmly rejected any offers for Tomiyasu. The Japanese defender has now reached an agreement on a new long-term contract, extending his stay at the club beyond the current deal’s expiration in 2025.

Tomiyasu’s versatility and defensive capabilities make him a key asset in the title race. While likely to feature predominantly as a left-back, he may also be deployed on the right to alleviate the workload on Ben White, who played through pain before the winter break. Arteta’s trust in Tomiyasu’s ability is evident as the player offers height to Arsenal’s backline, and his return has coincided with an improvement in the team’s set-piece defending.

Known for his defensive skills, Tomiyasu has also dedicated effort to enhancing his ball-playing abilities. Arteta entrusts him to play as an inverted left-back, akin to Zinchenko’s role, but with a unique offering. Tomiyasu’s two-footed capabilities provide Arsenal with an attacking outlet, as he has been granted the freedom to move forward during the season.

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