On this day in 2011, Arsenal completed the signing of promising young winger, Ryo Miyaichi, after he impressed Arsene Wenger during his trial at the club during summer 2010.
The Japan international was tremendously exciting to watch, with his speed rivaling Theo Walcott’s, and he was sent out on loan to Feyenoord more or less straight away. Within days, he played his first match for the Dutch club – a full 90 minutes against Vitesse Arnhem in which he won Man of the Match despite his team drawing 1-1.
During his 12 appearances in Eredivisie, Ryo scored three goals and assisted five.
The winger returned to north London having been given his work permit and, after joining the senior squad on their pre-season Asia tour, went on to make two League Cup appearances against Shrewsbury and Bolton totaling 36 minutes and eight in the reserve league.
Ryo was then loaned out to Bolton Wanderers on this day (31 January) in 2012, where he made 12 Premier League and two FA Cup appearances, followed by Wigan and FC Twente, before Arsenal sold him permanently to FC St. Pauli in 2015.
Despite having all the promise in the world, the one thing that really hampered Ryo’s success at Arsenal was his proneness to injury. While with the Gunners, on loan or otherwise, he sustained numerous malleolar injuries, hamstring and thigh problems and this has only continued at his new Bundesliga 2 side. In fact, he spent from July 2015 to March 2016 sidelined with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
As ever, it’s sad when an exciting young player never quite reaches their potential, whether this is because they naturally just don’t develop as predicted or, like in Ryo’s case, injuries prevent them.
Hopefully, he has more luck in the future.