Arsenal are in talks with Bologna over a potential deal for Tottenham Hotspur target Takehiro Tomiyasu, according to a report.

June 1, 2021, Bologna, Italy: Takehiro Tomiyasu. Copyright: Ettore Griffoni
June 1, 2021, Bologna, Italy: Takehiro Tomiyasu. Copyright: Ettore Griffoni

Gianluca Di Marzio told Sky Sports News on Tuesday that Arsenal have joined Tottenham Hotspur in the race for Bologna defender Takehiro Tomiyasu, and they’re in talks with the Serie A side to try and find an agreement over a move.

“Inter wants [Hector] Bellerin as a replacement for Hakimi,” Di Marzio explained. “Arsenal and Tottenham want [Takehiro] Tomiyasu … Arsenal and Tottenham are talking to Bologna to find an agreement.”

Tomiyasu can play both at centre-back and at right-back, and he actually started a few more games in the middle than on the right this season. But Arsenal’s priority would obviously be to use him as a full-back, given he’s being reported as a replacement for Bellerin.

The biggest problem right now is that Spurs are the much more heavily-linked suitor for the Japanese international. David Ornstein has already written for The Athletic that the club are working on a deal for Tomiyasu, and Arsenal weren’t even mentioned.

That’s not to say the Gunners aren’t in the race. There was no mention of Arsenal interest in Nuno Tavares from any English source until Di Marzio reported it, so it’s clear Edu and co. are looking to do their business away from the public eye.

Spurs also might find it harder to argue they can guarantee Tomiyasu games at right-back, given they have Aurier, Doherty, and Tanganga. Conversely, the whole point of Arsenal’s pursuit is that they’re selling their first-choice right-back first.

The 22-year-old would cost around €17m plus add-ons, according to The Athletic’s report, so the move isn’t a ridiculously large investment either.

But for the time being, until the English media confirm Arsenal’s interest, it looks like Spurs are the defender’s most likely destination.