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Arsenal agrees deal to sign Japan forward Asano

Kyodo

Japan forward Takuma Asano is set for a move to Arsenal after the Premier League club agreed a deal in principle with Sanfrecce Hiroshima, the clubs announced Sunday.

The 21-year-old, who last week was named in the 18-man squad for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will complete his move pending a medical and becomes the third Japanese player to play for the Gunners after Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Miyaichi.

“Getting to experience many things during 3½ years with Sanfrecce Hiroshima has allowed me to grow to where I am now,” Asano said on Sanfrecce’s website. “I’ll aim for new heights and keep challenging.”

The pacy 171-cm forward, who joined Sanfrecce in 2013 out of high school, scored eight goals in 32 games last season and was named young player of the year as his side claimed its third J. League title in four years.

A Mie native, Asano made his debut for Japan’s senior side in August last year, and has one goal in five games.

“Takuma is a talented young striker and very much one for the future,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on his team’s website. “He has had an impressive start to his career in Japan and we look forward to him developing over the next couple of years.”

A send-off ceremony will be held after Asano’s final game for Hiroshima against Yokohama F. Marinos on July 17. Asano has 10 goals in 55 career games for Hiroshima.