Arsenal’s second signing of the summer, Takuma Asano, has vowed to bring an aggressive style of play with a focus on scoring goals to the Premier League in his first interview after the news of his transfer broke.
A deal has been agreed with J1 League defending champions Sanfrecca Hiroshima though various processes including passing a medical and international clearances are awaited.
“I am glad that I can have a challenge overseas, which I have always wanted. I want to play aggressively. I want to score many goals on the pitch, performing with my quick moves and eagerness.", said the striker who has been dubbed “The Jaguar".
The 21-year-old striker was named Rookie of the Year in Hiroshima’s road to their fourth league title, bagging 14 goals in all competitions last season.
With Jamie Vardy signing a contract extension at Leicester City, Arsenal were in the market for a pacey striker to play foil to Olivier Giroud who has had a remarkable European Championship with the home team in France.
Asano is only 5’6″ tall but has been reported to blitz through 50 metres in 5.9 seconds. This puts him in a class of superfast footballers including Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin at the Emirates.
With Danny Welbeck’s fresh injury and Walcott’s general ineffectiveness last season while playing as striker, it remains to be seen if Asano will be directly promoted to the senior squad.
Arsene Wenger has been quoted making tall claims about how the Asano, who scored his first international goal against Bulgaria last month, “is definitely one for the future." Asano is the third Japanese international to be signed by Wenger, but both his predecessors were widely considered flops after not doing enough to warrant a starting place.
Junichi Inamoto played only 4 games in 2001-02 before being released after one season. He went on to play for Fulham and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
Ryo Miyachi was also released at the end of his five year contract, playing only 7 games for Arsenal and spending most of it on loan. Miyachi signed with 2.Bundesliga side St. Pauli last season.
It remains to be seen whether Asano will also have to spend considerable time on loan at other European clubs to prove his worth before getting a look in. The Japanese No.18, who has earned 5 international caps and is part of his country’s squad for the Olympics in Rio, has been making the right noises when quizzed about this scenario.
“If I am loaned elsewhere, my take on it is that I give it 100 percent." he was quoted as saying by Kyodo News even before the deal was announced.