Kashima Antlers midfielder Gaku Shibasaki’s proposed transfer to La Liga side Las Palmas has fallen through, but he is now expected to sign with Spanish second-division club Tenerife, sources said Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Shibasaki was expected to join Las Palmas by Tuesday’s winter transfer deadline and flew to Spain on Saturday for final negotiations. But Las Palmas had been juggling multiple potential signings and in the end, opted to not sign Shibasaki.
Kashima was willing to take him back, but Shibasaki stood firm on playing abroad and now appears headed for another side in the Canary Islands, off the western coast of Africa.
“It doesn’t look like he’s returning to Kashima,” Antlers’ head of development Mitsuru Suzuki said. “His transfer is something we were anticipating so it is what it is.”
Local media reported that Las Palmas chairman Miguel Angel Ramirez, through the club’s official radio station, said manager Quique Setien was not keen on enlarging the squad even though he had that option.
Shibasaki helped Kashima to a Japanese double last season, with the Ibaraki club capturing a record eighth J. League championship title and the Emperor’s Cup.
He drew international attention in December when he scored a brace against European champion Real Madrid in the Club World Cup final.
Shibasaki has 13 caps and three goals for Japan. With 14 goals in 141 league appearances for Antlers, he made his national team debut in August 2014, but did not play for Vahid Halilhodzic at all last year.