Ryo Miyaichi: What Happened to Arsenal's Twente Loanee?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentFebruary 2, 2015

ALMELO, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 21:  Ryo Miyaichi of Twente in action during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Heracles Almelo and FC Twente at Polman Stadion on September 21, 2014 in Almelo, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

In four years, Japanese left-forward Ryo Miyaichi, 22, went from new Arsenal signing to an unwanted loanee at Twente in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Being frozen out of the Twente first-team makes Miyaichi's loan redundant, so let's try and figure out what Arsenal were thinking.

Last summer, Arsenal arranged Miyaichi's loan to Twente with deadline day approaching.

"We had to hurry up because the transfer market was going to close," Miyaichi said, per FC Twente TV. "But finally [the loan] made it through, which is fantastic for me, so that's why I chose Twente."

Translation: It was a rushed process.

Arsenal's decision may have been influenced by Miyaichi having a smoother transition period.

Before the loan, Miyaichi was familiar with Dutch centre-forward Luc Castaignos, 22, South African central midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo, 23, and Dutch central midfielder Kyle Ebecilio, 20, a former Arsenal young gun.

"I know Luc and Kamohelo, when I was playing for Feyenoord," Miyaichi said, per FC Twente TV. "[I also know] Kyle when I was at Arsenal, so I know a few [Twente] players."

Miyaichi, who was nicknamed Ryodinho during his 2010-11 loan at Feyenoord, admitted to FC Twente TV that calling De Kuip home again was an option.

You surmise Feyenoord manager Fred Rutten informed Arsenal of his decision to interchange between Dutch left-forwards Jean-Paul Boetius, 20, and Elvis Manu, 21, two club-produced prospects.

Both need to increase their transfer stock hence why Feyenoord could not guarantee Miyaichi regular starts.

Twente was a different proposition. 

Allan Jiang

After selling Serbian left-forward Dusan Tadic, 26, to Southampton for €14.5/£10.9 million, there was no undisputed starter on Twente's left side. 

Arsenal accurately projected the situation being a two-horse race for Twente's left-forward slot: Miyaichi vs. Youness Mokhtar, 23, a mercurial Moroccan.

There is a substantial gap in production between Mokhtar and Miyaichi.

Eredivisie 2014-15Ryo MiyaichiYouness Mokhtar
Minutes Per Game45.561.1
Key Passes Per 90 Mins.0.71.1
Pass Success %69.477.6
Dribbles Per 90 Mins.0.72.2
Dribble Success %15.843.1
Credit: WhoScored.com.

What will concern Miyaichi's handlers is Mokhtar is nowhere near the class of PSV Eindhoven's Dutch left-forward Memphis Depay, 20, who is the equal top scorer in the Eredivisie (12 goals).

You would be right to empathise with Miyaichi if he was the backup to Depay.

Why? It would be demoralising watching Depay dominate week in, week out. 

Yes, Mokhtar is gifted, but there is not a lot of difference between him and PEC Zwolle's New Zealand left attacking midfielder Ryan Thomas, 20, who funded most of his trial to the club in 2013.

Thomas now leads PEC Zwolle in assists (five) and has developed quicker than Miyaichi, which is alarming. 

Miyaichi has gone 364 minutes without a goal or an assist in the Eredivisie. 

Losing the ball 84.2 percent of the time when dribbling and giving away possession 30.6 percent of the time while attempting a pass are incompetent numbers from Miyaichi.

Expecting Miyaichi to be Ryodinho again is the equivalent of hoping Jeremy Lin revives Linsanity.

What has happened to Miyaichi?

The first thing you notice is his lack of desire to make an impact. 

Miyaichi needs to be more mentally strong like Mexican right-forward Jesus Corona, 22, who can be hit-and-miss for Twente.

Except when Corona is having a bad game in attack, he will track back and get physical.

Whereas, Miyaichi is so languid that Twente are playing with 10 men when he is on the field.

Miyaichi plays with no intensity, lacks energy and it is as if his pre-game pump-up song is Gary Jules - Mad World.

Aside from the odd burst of speed, you are left wondering what happened to the Miyaichi who scored twice and created two goals during a 6-1 win over Willem II in 2011 for Feyenoord.

Regressing as drastically as the reputation of Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Miyaichi has not performed like an Eredivisie-standard player.

Twente manager Alfred Schreuder has washed his hands of Miyaichi, dropping him to Jong Twente, which is proving not to be a temporary decision.

Schreuder is figuring out if Dutch right/left-forward Bilal Ould-Chikh, 17, is more effective in an Arjen Robben-esque role on the right, or a cross-first winger on the left.

If the latter option rings true, Miyaichi will be playing out the season in the Dutch Eerste Divisie, the second division in the Netherlands.

This loan does not benefit Arsenal, Twente, Miyaichi, or his representatives World in Motion.

It will be a tell-tale sign if Arsenal don't terminate Miyaichi's loan and reassign him elsewhere.

It would suggest Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has given up on Miyaichi just like Junichi Inamoto gave up on himself during his fleeting spell with the Gunners.

"[Inamoto] lacked a little bit of belief in his qualities," Wenger said, per Chris Harris at Arsenal.com. "He was still in a period when the Japanese players didn't feel they were at the level of the rest of the world."

Context: Wenger praised Miyaichi post-knee surgery and referenced Inamoto as a cautionary tale.

A year and seven months later, Miyaichi's attitude on loan at Twente has been Inamoto-like.


When not specified, statistics via WhoScored.com. 


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