Paul Merson’s verdict on £17m Arsenal transfer proven wrong after north London derby masterclass – Football.London

Paul Merson’s verdict on Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu has been proven wrong after the north London derby win over Tottenham.

Tomiyasu was signed from Italian outfit Bologna on transfer deadline day last month, replacing Spanish fullback Hector Bellerin, who joined Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis on a season-long loan.

The Japanese international had been linked with a move to north London rivals Spurs over the course of the summer but the Lillywhites instead opted to sign Emerson Royal from Barcelona.

Some eyebrows were raised when the Gunners splashed a reported £17million on the 23-year-old, with club icon Merson questioning his ability considering Serie A’s top sides didn’t appear to make a move for him.

“My only problem with Arsenal is that they buy players, but they never beat anybody to a player,” Merson told Sky Sports. “No-one else is after that player, are they?

“The lad from Bologna (Tomiyasu). The first thing that comes into my head is that he is a right-back, €23million (£19.6million) from Bologna. Why aren’t Juventus, AC Milan, Inter, Lazio or Roma buying him?

“I don’t get that. I don’t get it. It’s bad business.”

However, Tomiyasu has showcased his undeniable talent thus far, impressing in all three of his games for Mikel Arteta’s side.

The versatile defender helped keep back-to-back clean sheets in 1-0 wins over Norwich City and Burnley before playing a starring role during the Gunners’ 3-1 victory over Tottenham.

Tomiyasu registered three clearances, five successful duels and an interception against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, winning the majority of his battles against South Korean forward Son Heung-min.

The 23-year-old was also crucial in the build-up phase, often tucking inside to form a back three alongside Ben White and Gabriel to offer Aaron Ramsdale additional protection against the Spurs frontline.

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