Soccer / J. League

Lee joins Urawa after leaving Southampton


Former Japan striker Tadanari Lee has joined Urawa Reds just days after having his contract terminated by English Premier League club Southampton, Reds said Thursday.

The 28-year-old striker will sign with Reds after undergoing a medical on his return to Japan. Southampton announced Tuesday it had released Lee, ending a two-year stay at the club.

“I want to give everything I have gained so far in my career to Urawa,” Lee said in a statement released by Reds.

Lee, whose extra-time volley against Australia in a 1-0 win secured Japan the 2011 Asian Cup, joined Southampton in January 2012 from Sanfrecce Hiroshima and helped the Saints win promotion from the second-tier Championship.

But he suffered injury setbacks last term and failed to establish himself in the team, appearing only in cup competitions.

A midseason loan move to FC Tokyo put Lee back into contention at Saints, and an impressive start to preseason training put him in the first-team frame once more.

Lee started in the League Cup games against Bristol City and Sunderland, but fell down the pecking order again due to the breakthrough of Sam Gallagher from the Saints Academy.