Arsenal FC are one of the most popular and widely followed clubs in England. The Gunners are admired for their fast, attacking style of play that made them such a force in the domestic game in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Arsenal has been known to sign players who had great technical ability, pace as well as skill. The North Londoners have usually recruited foreign players from Europe, Africa, and South America. However, some Asian players have also been signed by the English club. Here are the top Asian players who played for Arsenal.
1. Takehiro Tomiyasu
The 23-year-old Japanese right-back joined Arsenal in the summer of 2021 from Italian side Bologna. Since his move to North London Takehiro has been receiving rave reviews from fans and pundits alike praising him for his assured defending and astuteness on the ball. Tomiyasu has so far featured in 16 league games and will be hoping to help the Gunners claim a precious fourth UEFA Champions League spot by the season’s end. Tomiyasu is considered to be one the top young Asian football talents in football right now.
2. Park Chu Young
The striker was the first and so far only South Korean to sign for the Gunners. Park joined Arsenal in the summer of 2011 from French club AS Monaco. The South Korean international endured a torrid time in North London, only featuring a total of 7 times during his three years at Arsenal. His only goal for the Gunners was scored on October 25th, 2011 in a fourth-round League Cup game against lower-division Bolton Wanderers. Chu Young finally left Arsenal in the summer of 2014, bringing an end to a very unflattering spell in London.
3. Junichi Inamoto
The former Japanese international was at Arsenal for only one season. Inamoto played in only a handful of games before being let go in 2002. His signing was largely seen as a marketing gimmick to pander to the lucrative Asian fan base and not necessarily for his football skills. Despite being let go by the Gunners, Inamoto still enjoyed a fairly good career in the English Premier League. He made a combined 69 league appearances for EPL sides Fulham and West Brom.
4. Ryo Miyaichi
The Japanese winger was signed by Arsenal at the beginning of 2011 after impressing then-coach Arsene Wenger in a set of trials in 2010. That was the best however things got for Ryo, who only managed to play a single game during his four-year stay at the Emirates. Miyaichi was sent on loan to a host of clubs in England and across Europe before he was finally released in the summer of 2014 featuring in just 7 games for the North London side.
5. Li Ke
Li Ke also known as Nicholas Yennaris, is a London-born Chinese football player who played for Arsenal. Yennaris joined the Arsenal Academy in 2001, aged seven, and quickly progressed through their ranks. He played as a defensive midfielder, and a full back. The Chinese player made his first team debut for Arsenal on October 2011, in League Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers. Yennaris left Arsenal in January 2014, making only four senior appearances for the club.
Arsenal have also signed a few Asian players who didn’t play a single official competition for the club. Takuma Asano was signed by Arsene Wenger in 2016, but was refused a work permit to play in the Premier League. He was subsequently loaned to a number of clubs before leaving the club officially.