Reports today on social media have linked Arsenal to a young Japanese forward by the name of Takuma Asano. The 21-year-old is relatively fresh in everyone’s mind, as this is the first time the majority of fans have heard of him.
However, the move does not seem impossible under Arsene Wenger, as he has previously stepped into the smaller Asian leagues to cherry pick players to bring to North London. Unfortunately, these players included Park Chu-Young and Ryo Miyaichi, who failed to really gain a notable foothold in England. However, could this move be an economically successful one? The jury was in full force during the signing of Park Chu-Young, but it later became apparent that he was brought to expand the Arsenal brand into Eastern Asia. This has happened previously under Arsene Wenger’s tenure, as he signed Junichi Inamoto in 2001. Is Asano another carbon copy of these players?
From what we can gather, the 21-year-old was named the J-League Young player of the year, and has since played for his country 4 times, scoring once. In January, he is thought to have declined a £2.1million move to German side Augsburg, and so would be costing upwards of around £4million. Is he he player Arsenal need to bring in?
Japan Times have poured cold water on reports that a deal has been struck though.
‘A Hiroshima official said Sanfrecce and Arsenal have yet to enter full-blown discussions for Asano, one of the most promising players in Japan and one of the fastest in Asia. No fee has been immediately mentioned.’ – Japan Times
Reports on this transfer have come from Sanyo News who believe the deal is advancing at a fast pace, with Arsene Wenger’s admiration for young players being a huge attraction.
As reported by Fresh Arsenal, Asano could initially be registered as a first team player, but with the squad looking full he may have to face life in the U21’s division until room opens up in the attacking areas.
Although the player has confirmed that Arsenal have made a move, it seems too premature to suggest that a deal is done. Arsenal will be more focussed on signing a striker ready for first team action, although there are several young strikers amongst the targets of Arsene, as he looks to strengthen the clubs options from the academy.
Asano is a short (5ft 7′) striker with a high work rate. He can play as a second striker or as the furthest forward. Asano has particularly impressed in the Asian Champions League scoring three goals in four appearances. Talking to locals who know the player, it seems he has a lot of potential, but he is not yet the finished article and there are question marks as to how he’ll adapt to English football.
Arsenal may be looking to invest in young talent up front, considering the lack of attacking options currently in the market. With a rumoured cost of around £3million, Asano may be worth the risk, even if he were just to be immediately loaned out.