“He had great qualities” – Ex-coach claims Arsenal star could have joined Barcelona as a kid

Did the Arsenal star miss a trick by not joining Barcelona?
Did the Arsenal star miss a trick by not joining Barcelona?

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu could have joined Barcelona, his former coach Ivan Palanco has claimed. The head coach at one of the Japanese academies claims he recommended the star to the Catalan side but the Blaugrana declined the move.

Tomiyasu joined Arsenal in 2021 after a fine spell at Bologna. The Japanese star played for Avispa Fukuoka and Sint-Truiden before moving to the Italian side.

🥳 Happy birthday, Takehiro Tomiyasu! ❤️

Speaking to JR Soccer, as quoted by 90 Min, Palanco claims Tomiyasu had the qualities and great coordination at a young age and was recommended to Barcelona. He said:

"He had great coordination for his height. He had great qualities. He is one of the three players that I recommended to Barça during my three years [at Fukuoka], but it was difficult to take him to Spain."

Arsenal legend tells Tomiyasu two areas to improve

Tomiyasu has done well under manager Mikel Arteta at Arsenal but former Gunners right-back Lee Dixon believes the Japan international can still improve.

Last year, Dixon claimed that the defender still has two key areas he needs to work on.

🇯🇵 Takehiro Tomiyasu. What a bargain for Arsenal this summer.👏

Defending and positional play were the areas pointed out by the Arsenal legend, who said:

"I think he [Tomiyasu] has certainly taken the eye, there is no doubt about that. But you won't hear me eulogize like Wrighty about positions he has no idea about!"
"I'm joking! He is right to sing Tomiyasu's praises because he has done brilliantly. He has certainly not got the stature of a typical full-back. Having said that, [Marcos] Alonso [at Chelsea] is tall and a similar stature to him."

Dixon continued:

"He has been very good at coming out with the ball. His link-up play with the midfield and forwards has been great. He is an athlete who gets up and down brilliantly well, and he is great in the air. He has still got some work to do as far as defending and his positional play."
"But that is like most of the full-backs I look at now. That will come with time, and will come in building a relationship with Ben White."

Tomiyasu has played 11 matches for the Gunners this season in the Premier League but has only started just four times.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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