Arsenal set to sign Japan forward Asano

Takuma Asano becomes the third Japanese player to play under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, following midfielders Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Miyaichi.
Takuma Asano becomes the third Japanese player to play under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, following midfielders Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Miyaichi.

LONDON • Arsenal have agreed a deal to bring 21-year-old Japanese striker Takuma Asano to north London from J-League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima, the English Premier League club said on Sunday.

Capped five times by Japan, he is in line to play for the Japanese squad at next month's Rio Olympics. He was Rookie of the Year in Japan last season and has won the J-League title twice.

The move is still subject to a medical check-up and the club are yet to reveal details of the deal.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was looking forward to working with Asano, whom he described as "a talented young striker and very much one for the future" on the club's website.

"He has had an impressive start to his career in Japan and we look forward to him developing over the next couple of years," added the Frenchman, whose side finished runners-up to shock champions Leicester City last season.

Asano signed for Sanfrecce aged 18 and scored 11 goals in 56 appearances for the club.

The forward boosts Arsenal's attacking options after their pursuit of Jamie Vardy ended in failure.

"Vardy has decided to stay at Leicester and good luck to him," Wenger said. "He came late to the game and in fairness, Leicester bought him from Fleetwood and he has been successful. He is 29 and he has chosen to stay at Leicester. You have to respect that."

Asano becomes the third Japanese player to play under Wenger at Arsenal, following midfielders Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Miyaichi.

He joins Granit Xhaka in signing for Arsenal this summer.

Wenger recently ruled out a move for N'Golo Kante, the France midfielder who impressed during his first season in the Premier League at Leicester.

Claudio Ranieri has signed Nampalys Mendy from Nice, with the player widely thought to be a replacement for Kante.

Wenger said: "Kante is on the list of many clubs. It is an area where we have many players. We will see what happens in the next two or three weeks.

"It looks like Leicester have bought a player from Nice with similar qualities to Kante, so whether they envisage to lose him or not, I don't know."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2016, with the headline 'Arsenal set to sign Japan forward Asano'. Print Edition | Subscribe