Another one of the current crop tied down, as Arsenal announced that Takehiro Tomiyasu has extended his stay with the club by signing a new deal. And it was a lovely video that the club posted to announce it too:

We all love Tomi, I think that’s a given, so getting him to extend his stay with us is great. But perhaps it is a mark of some of the challenges he’s had since joining us, the deal itself is only an additional year extension. Clearly the player wants to stay and extending that was his priority, but I wonder how that conversation went, when Arsenal only offered him an additional one year extension? Does it benefit both parties and therefore it made sense for everyone? If you are Tomiyasu and his agent and you want to stay at Arsenal and secure a longer-term future, then perhaps you do this as a gesture of “ok we’ll sign, but we want an option”? If I was in Tomiyasu’s shoes that’s what I’d be wanting. An additional year added to the contract clearly feels like the club might have said to him “we love you, we want to keep you, but we need to have a consistent run of staying fit in order to give you that longer-term contract. Show us you can be available for 35 – 40 games in a 50 game season and we’ll give you what you want”. And I think that’s probably fair enough. If you look at his injury history he’s missed 14 games and 72 days for us so far this season. Last season it was 16 games and 107 days and the season before that it was 11 games and 60 days. In his last season at Bologna he missed 10 games and 47 days, so we’re talking about a guy who does seem to break down at least once a season, so it feels natural that Arsenal wouldn’t tie him down to a deal in which we have a player who as he gets older, is probably not going to suddenly find himself able to shake off more of these injuries.

It’s a shame because he has been so good for us when he has been fit and available. When he signed for us everyone said he couldn’t play as a right back and I think it was one of those soppy Sky Sports ‘transfer gurus’ who said that people in the game didn’t understand why Arsenal were paying that money for a guy who doesn’t play right back. He came in, he excelled at right back, then it was only because he was injured that we moved Ben White to that position that he lost his place. Tomiyasu is a hard-working, strong-tackling, dual-winning, versatile defender who I would rather see us keep than offload this summer because he’d have just a year on his deal. BUt by extending for one more year we can at least park the conversation for another season and give him the chance to show he can stay fit for longer.

If he remains side-lined for something like another 15 – 20 matches next season, then the club have a decision to make in the summer of 2025, but if he plays and contributes and is available for Arteta for most of 2024/25, then it makes sense that we’d look to potentially move him on.

There’s also the emergence of Timber too, that we’re hoping for. If Jurrien comes in, is robust and stays fit, then it may feel natural that he is seen as a successor to Tomiyasu – if the Japanese international does break down again – so Arsenal extending by one year protects the players value, shows that we ideally want to keep him around, but also means that if he finds himself in a position where his chances are limited by next summer, both club and player can find a solution that works for both parties.

But that’s another year away and for now let’s just be glad that another good player who makes an impact in this Arsenal team has signed up to this ‘project’. The players are clearly loving what is happening at the club at the moment and in the last year all of the key players have been committing their future to the club, which is a positive example that is showing we’ve been moving in the right direction. We all know that, but it was about 10-15 years ago when we’d see players start to look elsewhere when their contract starts to run down, but that doesn’t really feel like it’s been a big thing for us now. We have the money, we have the set up,. we have the coaching staff that have proved they can improve players, all we need now is the trophies to start building a legacy. That last bit is never guaranteed, especially when you look at the juggernauts we’re up against, but it feels like we’re ideally placed to have a proper go. And Arteta is the kind of ruthless winner that makes you think that he will not relent until he’s added to that FA Cup he won in 2020 and the couple of Community Shield’s we have.

Just before I wrap up today, as we are now finding out from the press, it seems as though the truth is emerging about the Ben White situation and it doesn’t make England or Gareth Southgate look very good at all. I think most of us knew that something was fishy and I thought as much when I talked about this last weekend. Southgate has clearly lied through his teeth; I also saw the video of his interview during the last World Cup when he spoke about the situation and it was clear that he was both uncomfortable and unwilling to reveal the true nature of what had happened. That’s because his mate Steve Holland had clearly crossed a professional line by calling out White in front of his fellow professionals and I think we all know by now that what he has supposedly said to White smacks of arrogance. The current England set up is stale and dwindling; it is full of Southgate and his ‘mates’ which includes certain players that shouldn’t be in the squad and the sooner he exits after the summer the better. And if he takes the United job then all the more hilarious.

I don’t particularly want to talk about England any more though, to be honest with you. We back our lad Ben and Holland/Southgate can ‘do one’ as far as I am concerned.

Catch you all tomorrow.