WTTGT Writer: Ryan Cottell
For an 18 year old player to have an instant impact at a top European club is rare. To come straight from their high school team, with no professional experience, and establish themselves as the best player in the team is even more unheard of.
But this is exactly what Arsenal’s Ryo Miyaichi has achieved in his short spell on loan at Dutch side, Feyenoord.
Having signed for Arsenal after graduating from Chūkyōdai Chūykō high school in January, he became the first player to participate in the new unofficial link between Arsenal and the Eredivise club.
Ryo has become a favourite of the Feyenoord faithful. His willingness to work for the team, as well as his technical ability and constant aim to take on opponents has endeared him to their hearts.
He displays fantastic pace and determination, combining flair with work rate, and intelligence in his runs well beyond his tender years. This maturity has not been missed by Arsène Wenger: “What I like about Ryo is that he has good timing with his runs and understands when to go and where to go. That is something very important. He knows how to use his pace and he is an intelligent player.”
Such is his level of popularity in Holland that he has been dubbed ‘Ryodinho,’ after Brazilian legend Ronaldinho. While his playing style doesn’t resemble that of the samba star, his prodigious talent may see him scaling the same heights within the football world.
Ryo in action – Ready for the big time?
An alternative option for Arsenal?
Like many Arsenal signings, Miyaichi is a young player previously unheard of outside of his local surroundings. It appears Wenger’s ability to spot the potential in a player is as strong as ever, having brought through the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, and Johan Djourou from teenagers into the current starting line-up.
There are, of course, those that question the need for another player full of potential at the club, arguing that experience is currently a far more vital ingredient for success. With so many youngsters already at the club, fans are calling for players with a proven premiership record to be brought in.
However, with Wenger’s focus for the summer being a new central defender, striker, and combative midfielder, Miyaichi would add an extra dimension to the left wing without eating into his transfer budget, leaving money free to bring experienced heads into the more prioritised positions.
Also, with the relative demise of Andrei Arshavin on Arsenal’s left flank, Miyaichi has an opportunity to prove he can contribute at the top level. Wenger has said that he will spend pre-season with the first-team squad, after which he’ll decide whether to apply for a work permit or grant Feyenoord’s wish for another season nurturing the Japanese starlet.
Miyaichi’s direct style, and his inclination to head for the byline and cross from the left-wing would be something new for the club, offering an alternative option to either Nasri or Arshavin.
Key to ‘Plan B’?
Marouane Chamakh; with his proven record in the air and undoubted physical presence, he was seen as the missing piece in Arsenal’s attack when he arrived last summer. However, his lack of headed goals for Arsenal have raised question marks.
Any highlight reel from his time at Bordeaux shows he doesn’t lack that ability to score with his head that Wenger was clearly keen on, therefore perhaps Arsenal need to consider their own style of play before blaming the Morrocan.
Corners aside, Arsenal wingers very rarely seek to cross the ball, treating the option as a last resort once all other avenues have been exhausted. With Miyaichi throwing in crosses from the left, and a little work from Walcott on beating the first defender from the right, Chamakh could become the backup striker to Robin Van Persie that Arsenal fans are calling for with such vigour.
With such criticism levelled at Wenger due to his lack of a ‘plan B’ this season, adding the budding talent of Ryo Miyaichi to the squad could prove to be the smartest move made this summer.