Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Japanese striker Takumo Asano, with Arsene Wenger calling the 21-year-old a promising prospect for the future.
Arsenal announced the deal on their official website, saying the agreement with Japanese club Sanfrecce Hiroshima is still subject to the completion of a medical and “regulatory processes.”
However, Asano is unlikely to play a major role at the Emirates next season, with Wenger saying he still needs time to develop.
“Takuma is a talented young striker and very much one for the future,” Wenger said. “He has had an impressive start to his career in Japan and we look forward to him developing over the next couple of years.”
The club did not disclose financial terms of the deal.
Asano becomes Arsenal’s second signing of the summer transfer window after midfielder Granit Xhaka joined from Borussia Monchengladbach before the start of Euro 2016.
However, Wenger is likely to continue his search for another striker who can have an immediate impact on the team after his forwards struggled to score for large parts of last season. The Gunners missed out on signing Jamie Vardy after the striker signed a new four-year contract with Leicester.
Reports on Friday say Gunners were closing in on Asano, who had previously told Japanese media the London club had made contact. And the striker, who is expected to play for Japan at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, already seemed set on spending next season out on loan.
“If I am loaned elsewhere, my take on it is that I give it 100 percent,” Asano was quoted as saying by Kyodo News on Thursday. “I was a little stunned [about the interest]. But I feel like I have the confidence to succeed wherever I go.”
Nicknamed “The Jaguar,” Asano helped Sanfrecce win the Japanese J.League title in 2015 by scoring nine goals in 34 appearances, while he has played five games for Japan and scored once.
Arsenal said “a number of clubs were after Takuma’s signature.”
Asano was named J-League’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ in 2015, the same year in which he broke into the Japanese national squad. He has five caps to his name and Arsenal fans will be able to take a closer look at their new signing at the Rio Olympics in August.
It is believed that Arsenal are still in the hunt to sign a striker that is capable of competing with Olivier Giroud as their primary attacking option in the seasons to come, but it does not look like it will be Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon judging by Jean Michel Aulas’ comments