Imposing defender Takehiro was limited to just 18 appearances after enduring a frustrating, injury-hit second season in north London. The powerful Japan international joined us in August 2021 from Serie A side Bologna and immediately settled in at right back, starring in a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur and winning our September Player of the Month award. He made 20 Premier League starts in 2021/22, despite suffering a calf injury, and although that figure dropped to six last term he made valuable contributions from the bench.
Tomi started out with J1 League outfit Avispa Fukuoka before moving to Belgian side Sint-Truiden in 2018. He won the club’s Player of the Season award and his attributes – notably his strength in the air and ability on the ball – caught the attention of Bologna.
A Japan international since 2018 and a regular at centre back, he represented his country on home soil at the 2020 Olympics and was part of the squad at the 2022 World Cup. He played the second half of Japan’s 2-1 comeback win over Germany in Qatar, and also featured in the 2-1 win over Spain, before starting the 1-1 draw with Croatia – which ended in defeat on penalties – in the Round of 16.