Kashima Antlers midfielder Gaku Shibasaki has signed for Tenerife in the Spanish second division on Tuesday after his proposed transfer to La Liga side Las Palmas fell through.
The 24-year-old Shibasaki was expected to join Las Palmas by Tuesday’s winter transfer deadline after he flew to Spain on Saturday for final negotiations. But Las Palmas had been juggling multiple potential signings and in the end, opted not to sign Shibasaki.
Kashima was willing to take him back, but Shibasaki stood firm on playing abroad and now joins another side in the Canary Islands, off the western coast of Africa. Tenerife is currently sixth in the table and in a promotion playoff spot.
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 champions 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.