Southampton reportedly bid for Takehiro Tomiyasu in January but were unable to agree a deal, and with the Japan international now heavily linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, it seems that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side may have missed out on a gem.
According to the Evening Standard, the Saints made an offer for the Bologna man in January and returned the following month to enquire about a potential summer switch, but it was thought that a bigger move was on the cards for the 22-year-old.
It now seems likely that the Japanese centre-back will complete a move to Nuno Espirito Santo’s side this summer, with Spurs in talks with the Serie A outfit over a potential deal for the defender.
Last season saw the youngster make 31 appearances in Serie A for the Rossoblù, contributing two goals and averaging a solid 6.77 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
The £18m-rated defender has featured regularly as a centre-back, right-back and defensive midfielder in his career thus far, and given Hasenhuttl’s preference for versatile players at Southampton, it seems clear that he could have been a stellar addition.
It is no surprise that the Austrian was reportedly keen on the Japan international in January when you consider that he was forced to deploy James Ward-Prowse and Jan Bednarek at right-back in the absence of Kyle Walker-Peters after Yan Valery was sent out on loan to Birmingham.
Tomiyasu could have been a great player to compete with Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard at centre-back, whilst also covering for Walker-Peters on the right, as he has plenty of experience in Serie A despite being so young.
His performances in Italy earned him the praise of teammate Mitchell Dijks, who said: “He is very strong, a real Japanese warrior.”
After their advances in January and February were rejected, it seems unlikely that Southampton will be able to negotiate a deal for Tomiyasu this summer. If he does join Spurs and become a success, then he will unfortunately be regarded as one who got away for the Saints.