• AFP-JIJI, Kyodo


Arsenal on Tuesday signed Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna for a fee worth a reported £19.8 million ($27.2 million).

The Premier League club said Tomiyasu agreed a "long-term" contract, believed to be an initial four-year deal with the option of a further season's extension.

The 22-year-old can play both center-back and right-back, giving Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta another option after Hector Bellerin's loan move to Real Betis.

Tomiyasu made 63 appearances for Serie A side Bologna over the last two seasons.

He has played 23 times for Japan and was a member of their recent Olympic squad, making three appearances at the Tokyo Games.

"Takehiro is a strong defender with good experience in Serie A and at international level," Arteta said.

"He's a versatile defender with great defensive qualities, high technical ability and composure on the ball.

"He will be an important member of our squad. We look forward to Takehiro joining up with us when he returns from international duty."

Arsenal sit bottom of the Premier League after losing their first three games, conceding nine times in the process, and are yet to score a top-flight goal this term.

The Gunners reportedly moved for Tomiyasu after their north London rivals Tottenham signed Barcelona right-back Emerson Royal, who had been Arsenal's preferred target.

Tomiyasu started his career with Japanese club Avispa Fukuoka before moving to Belgium's Sint-Truiden and then on to Bologna in 2019.

Arsenal's technical director Edu added: "We're delighted to have signed Takehiro. We've been watching him for a while now and we're pleased that we have reached an agreement with Bologna. He is an important addition to our squad."

Meanwhile, former Japanese international striker Shinji Okazaki has agreed to join Spanish second-division side FC Cartagena on a free transfer, the club announced Tuesday.

The 35-year-old Okazaki had been searching for a new club since the end of last season. He was not retained by Spanish side SD Huesca, who will also be in the second tier this season after being relegated from La Liga.

After beginning his pro career in the J. League in 2005 with Shimizu S-Pulse, Okazaki moved to Germany in 2011. Four years later he joined Leicester City, who won their first English Premier League championship with Okazaki as one of their principle attackers in the 2015-2016 season.

He has been playing in Spain since 2019.

Okazaki played in three consecutive World Cups for Japan and scored 50 goals in 119 senior international matches.

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