Have you ever heard of Takuma Asano? Unless you’re a close follower of the Japanese national team or Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the J1 League, the chances are slim. But it appears that Arsène Wenger (or somebody else at Arsenal) has heard of him, because according to a whole bunch of sources, including Japan Times, Arsenal’s made an offer for the 21-year-old striker.
If Arsenal do sign Asano, it’s believed that he’d be loaned out for the season, both to gain experience and also to help with the likely-to-be-hellish process of getting him a work permit. Other teams seem to be interested – including Augsburg, Salzburg, and Grasshoppers – but I’d wager none of them would stand a real chance if we’re serious about the player.
Asano sounds pretty interested, according to quotes from Shintaro Kano.
Takuma Asano on Arsenal offer: "I was a little stunned. But I feel like I have the confidence to succeed wherever I go... #arsenal— Shintaro Kano (@shintarokano) June 29, 2016
"And if I go, I do have an idea of what it would be like...If I am loaned elsewhere, my take on it is that I give it 100 percent" #arsenal— Shintaro Kano (@shintarokano) June 29, 2016
The deal likely wouldn’t be crazy expensive, and Asano’s believed to be The Next Big Thing in Japanese soccer. He’s already been capped five times for the full national team with one goal to his name, and he’s a mainstay in the U-23 side. That team just won the Asian Under-23 Championship this past winter, as Asano scored twice in the second half of the final, including a late winner. He also was named Best Young Player in the 2015 J. League season, so there looks to be a good player in there somewhere. He’s also a bit more experienced than our last foray into the Japanese market, so hopefully it’ll go a bit better.