In the wake of Arsenal’s dominant victory over Liverpool on Sunday, the Gunners received a boost in the form of some vital contract extension news. Takehiro Tomiyasu, the versatile defender who joined Arsenal in 2021, is prepared to sign a contract extension, according to reports from Fabrizio Romano.
⚪️ EXCL: Takehiro Tomiyasu’s new deal at Arsenal, agreed and sealed. Japanese defender set to sign new long term contract at the club.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 5, 2024
Decision wanted by both board and Arteta as there was never any chance for Tomiyasu to leave in January.
Announcement to follow soon. pic.twitter.com/qkRwagwyVy
The Japanese international has become a stalwart of Mikel Arteta’s defensive overhaul and has made himself indispensable as the most versatile defender at the club, and among the most versatile defenders in the league. His two-footedness, excellent defensive acumen, and even temper has set him apart from his peers and has earned the trust of Arteta. He has become a prime example of the defensive evolution of managers like Arteta and Pep Guardiola, who have begun to implement hybrid defenders that can switch between wide and central positions.
The extension is a minor gamble, considering Tomi’s checkered injury record. While that’s a fair criticism, it’s not one to lose sleep over. When he is healthy, he is an integral part of the Arsenal defensive rotation. It’s no coincidence that the Gunners’ fortunes turned last season when both he and William Saliba endured season-ending injuries in the same match.
Luckily, the team’s need to rely so heavily on Tomi should decrease. The impending return of Jurrien Timber and the steady growth of Jakub Kiwior means that Tomi will have less of the burden to bear, and less wear and tear to accumulate.
Tomi joins the recent string of players who have extended their contracts in the last year, including Bukayo Saka, William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson, and Martin Ødegaard. Arteta’s goal of solidifying a core of young talent has slowly taken shape, and the extension of Tomiyasu is another step in that direction.