The forward had played for Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Japan's J-League
Premier League team Arsenal FC has signed Takuma Asano, subject to the completion of a medical and regulatory processes.
Relatively unknown to British football fans, the 21-year-old comes as a surprising signing by the north London club. Here are a few things you need to know about the newest member of the Arsenal squad.
1. Takuma Asano was born in Komono Japan.
2. He is 21 years old.
3. He is 1.17m (5ft7″)
4. He earned a name for himself after joining Yokkaichi Chuo Kogyo High School, which is a reputable institution for Japanese professional footballers.
5. In 2010, he became the Yokkaichi Chuo Kogyo High School’s top scorer.
6. Asano signed for Sanfrecce Hiroshima in January 2013 at the age of 18.
7. He has made 56 appearances for the Japanese club, scoring 11 goals.
8. Sanfrecce Hiroshima went on to win the J1 League in Asano’s inaugural season.
9. The forward concluded his first year at the club by lifting the Japanese Super Cup for the first time.
10. He was voted as the league’s rookie of the year back in 2015 after he scored nine goals in 34 appearances.
11. Asano helped his club win the cup in 2014 and 2015.
12. The striker has also won five caps for Japan since his debut back in August 2015.
13. He can run 50 metres in 5.9 seconds (Theo Walcott does 40m in 4.42 seconds).
14. He is nicknamed “The Jaguar” for his pace and trademark celebration.
15. Asano is set to represent Japan in the Rio Olympics next month.
16. Asano will become the third Japanese to play under Wenger at Arsenal.
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger believes the forward will bring great things to the club,
“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.”
Meanwhile, the forward himself said, “but I have the confidence to succeed wherever I go.” Whilst Arsenal’s history may not have had a strong Japanese presence, when Junichi Inamoto signed with the team back in 2001, the midfielder made quite a name for himself during his short stay. Last season, Ryo Miyaichi was released following five injury-plagued years at the club. Miyaichi now plays for St Pauli in Germany.
What can he bring to Arsenal?
Asano is admittedly a tad on the small side, but his pace certainly makes up for it. He’s also a good interpreter of space, which will give Wenger options when it comes tactical reshuffling. The centre forward will most likely be played in midfield and will be used to take advantage of tiring defences as well as making Arsenal’s play more dynamic to contrast Olivier Giroud’s general static play. Asano plays on the far right for Japan, Wenger will probably play him in a similar position.
Arsenal fans will probably be recovering from the disappointment from the news that Jamie Vardy will not be joining the north London club, but they can feel positive about this new signing. However, Asano’s youth and inexperience in the Premier League eliminates him as a true Vardy contender – Wenger may be considering another player to replace Vardy’s preliminary spot, but Asano will certainly not be this signing.
More and more players from East Asian have been making appearances in the Premier League, becoming integral parts of their teams. Swansea’s Ki Sung-yueng has certainly made an impression, whilst Dortumund’s Shinji Kagawa had a fantastic two years at Manchester United. It’s encouraging to see East Asians participating in the beautiful game and the future only looks bright for these aspiring stars.