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Japan striker Atsushi Yanagisawa told Kashima Antlers officials Monday that he wants to return to the J. League first-division club from Italian League side Messina.

“I told them that I play for Kashima again, and I’ll leave the rest to negotiations between both clubs,” Yanagisawa said after a meeting with Kashima officials.

“I want more playing time, and that’s the reason why.” Last week, Yanagisawa’s agent, Oberto Petricca, said the player was considering a move back to former club Kashima because he has been kept on the substitutes’ bench all season.

In the first season of his three-year full-transfer contract with Messina, Yanagisawa has not started for Messina and has been limited to just seven appearances as a substitute.

“We can’t ask (Messina) for a return of Yanagisawa, but we will start talks if they consider giving him back to us,” Kashima president Hiroshi Ushijima said.

The 28-year-old joined Messina on loan in the summer last year after an unhappy spell at Sampdoria, where he failed to score a single goal in 18 league and cup matches with the Genoa-based club.

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