Arsenal have agreed a deal in principle for the transfer of 21-year-old Japanese striker Takuma Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima of the J1 League in Japan, the top division of the Japanese Professional Football League. Asano’s transfer is provisional pending a medical and other regulatory processes.
We reported on Asano earlier this week, noting “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.”
A number of clubs were after Takuma’s signature and Arsène Wenger said: “Takuma is a talented young striker and very much one for the future. He has had an impressive start to his career in Japan and we look forward to him developing over the next couple of years.”
Making his full debut for the Japan national team in August 2015, Takuma has made five appearances for his country and is expected to be a part of their squad for the Rio Olympics in August.
Takuma signed for Sanfrecce Hiroshima as an 18-year-old in January 2013 and enjoyed great success with the J-League side, making 56 appearances and scoring 11 goals.
During this time, Takuma won the J1 League in 2013 and 2015, the Japanese Super Cup in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and was voted as the J-League ‘Rookie of the Year’ in 2015.
Asano is quite clearly a signing for the future, what with the manager directly saying so and referencing developing him in the coming years. Arsenal fans are likely already gnashing teeth and rending garments on Twitter, saying this is likely our only signing at striker this year, but I would be very surprised if that was the case.
If you like highlight videos, there’s already one up (with a soundtrack, of course), getting views and a mix of giddy and salty comments:
As always, watch this space for updates as they evolve.